THE BLOG
09/02/2014 11:49 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

60 Years Old and Out of Work

I remember when the company my Dad worked for closed down. I was out of college and on my own. I guess I didn't think it was that much of a catastrophe, except when my Mom complained about him "hanging around the house too much." Financially, I knew they were fine because of my Dad's military pension, plus I heard them discussing a lump sum retirement package. However it was the emotional blow I was unaware of, until I found this story.

If you have read any of my blogs, you will know that most of my material comes from my Dad's "trunk." Yep, I found a large trunk full of articles: about his time at college, about his service during the war and his general observations on life. This was a huge surprise to me and I have been enjoying discovering a Dad I "thought" I knew.

So here is his take on losing a job. I can almost hear him telling this story. Since he mentions submitting his stories to Reader's Digest, by posting this one to The Huffington Post, I feel I am fulfilling his bucket list, in an odd sort of way!

What's a man to do when he's past 60 and the company he worked for told him that, after 33 years of service, they were going out of business?

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After a couple of days of cleaning up odds and ends; sorting through the collection of many years of "stuff" that represented a lifetime of happy, humorous memories, which are of no use to anyone and you wonder why you ever saved so much junk; you throw it all in the wastepaper basket and start to think about what to do.

Too young to collect Social Security and too old to get hired by most companies, however, I decided I would try to get a job, anyway.

First off, I wrote what I thought were honest, forthright evaluation of my capabilities, in long hand, to send to potential employers; a so-called resume. No one could accuse me of "job jumping" as I had only had one job. I had educational qualifications -- a college graduate, but from back in the old days of 1940. I had practical experience in many aspects of business. I was in good health and financially stable. However, no one bothered to call me for a personal interview.

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Personnel managers are all alike. They want a professional resume typewritten or printed. I've seen many in my vast years of experience, but I thought the homey cursive touch might have some appeal.

When this approach didn't work I decided: if I couldn't beat the system, the only thing left was to join it. Accordingly, I bought a reconditioned typewriter for twenty bucks. The first omen I had that this venture was doomed? I fell up the stairs carrying the typewriter and dislodged the carriage. The place where I bought it told me I was carrying it incorrectly. However, they fixed it free of charge.

I then read how to submit a resume that couldn't miss getting you the job you always wanted, but were afraid to ask. In this area I must have over-sold myself. After reading my resume objectively, I couldn't help but wonder why a person with all the qualifications I had wasn't a United States Senator or President of a large corporation, or why I needed to work [at all].

After all my efforts I still never received a reply to any of my applications. It was incredible to me that no one wanted to have a personal interview with the amazing person portrayed in the resume. Being realistic, I knew I was over the hill for the jobs I applied for. I either over-sold myself or I still didn't have what the companies were looking for.

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With the large investment of twenty bucks in the typewriter,I had to find some use for it.Reader's Digest is always looking for stories and they pay money for them. Here's how I would get a return on my $20 investment of the reconditioned typewriter. I was thinking of a garage or lawn sale to sell my newly-acquired white elephant, but I kept thinking that I [once] paid only fifty-five cents for a typewriter at a sale, but it didn't work so I didn't think I could get twenty bucks at these amateur sales. Besides, I have a million stories about the service - much better than the ones I've read in the Reader's Digest. For 30 years my stories have been getting laughs at my outfit's reunions, so why not use them to get twenty bucks and still have the relic. In a few more years the typewriter will be an antique; I wishfully think.

I wrote eight stories. I tried them out on some friends and relatives. They said I couldn't miss. I got the consensus of opinion; they were proofed for spelling, punctuation and grammatical construction; sealed the best of the lot with a kiss and happily and expectantly sent them off to have my first story published. Seven months later -- no word.

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I keep telling myself that it takes nine months for a baby to be born, so don't give up. After all, besides the friends and relatives thinking the stories humorous, I have a recording of a radio show I did telling some of the stories, and the radio station thought they were good. But that was twenty years ago and I wasn't pressing to get my $20 back.

I realized that the years must make a difference because of an incident that happened. It was at a Happy Hour. I needed some cheering up, after all, hadn't I lost my job? Never got a reply to my illustrative resumes? And to top things off my wife was getting tired of seeing me around the house messing up her kitchen. Add in the twenty-dollar typewriter that was collecting dust with nothing to show for it... well you see where I'm going. I needed something to cheer me up and a Happy Hour was the place.

While seated on a stool at the corner of the bar, an old friend came up by my side and inquired, "How are things?" After relating my sad tale of woe and a few of the Happy Hour specials, he was so touched that he wanted to buy my twenty dollar machine to soothe my ego and to keep me from watering down his happy hour special with my tears. He seemed skeptical that my stories were as good as I purported, so I said I would prove it by telling them to the people next to us and I would let them be the judge.

Now then, these stories happened before these guys were born, and the locale was foreign to them, so while the context of the story brought a few chuckles, they were only "somewhat interested." Since they didn't fall off the bar stool laughing, my friend surmised that the stories weren't that humorous and that I shouldn't count on earning that twenty dollars back any time soon. How could it be that to my contemporaries and me the stories were funny but to these folks they weren't? The biggest laugh I got... when I told them I was looking for a job.

Outta-work-Hank

Thanks for reading. I hope you appreciate his honest approach to a rather awkward situation. I hear of people losing their jobs everyday. It isn't easy to rebound. My Dad did eventually get another job and worked until he was 82. I just think he liked having a place to go and something to do everyday. Don't we all?