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The axe has now fallen on my husband and me. We have received the pink slip informing us that we have only 30 days before the end of our employment in a company where we have spent 25 years of our productive lives. My husband is 48 years old and I’m 47. All employees of our company (in our main office in Makati and Plant in Laguna) will have to go and there’s nothing anyone, not even our President, can do. In fact, he himself will have to go.

Can we still get corporate jobs at our age?  We have always been employed and been financially secured all our working lives. I have risen from the ranks to become executive secretary to one of the SVPs. My husband has risen from Assistant Engineer to Head of Engineering at the Plant. We still have three children in school and one reviewing for the dentistry board. This is why the loss of our jobs has completely shocked us and we are now confused on what to do.

Mrs. N. Disbelief

 

It’s understandable for you and your husband to feel devastated the way you do. The loss of a job is one of the major crises in life and we grieve its loss. As you write, there is nothing any one can do about it what with the worldwide financial crisis that has led to job losses and career crises not only in our country but worldwide.

However, if you allow negative feelings to control you, your physical, mental and emotional health will suffer. Fear, anxiety, self-pity, resentments, feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and betrayal will prevent you from seeing opportunities for living productive lives at your age. Instead of looking forlorn and looking downward, look up and look around you for opportunities may be there waiting to be identified. Read newspapers and talk to people.

Your mind is set on a corporate job. If this is so, there are four things that your husband and you can do now:

  1. Prepare powerful resumes highlighting your expertise and skills. In this regard, look for articles on resumé-writing to guide you in preparing resumés that will open doors for interviews;
  2. Prepare yourselves for job interviews. Again look up books or surf the internet for articles on how to handle interviews, how to prepare ones self for interviews, how to answer frequently-asked questions such as “Tell me about yourself.,“ “What are your strengths?,” “Your weaknesses?,” etc.;
  3. Look for companies in need of people with your skills. Look for jobs on line, in advertised positions, especially in week-end papers;
  4. Activate your network, i.e., make a list of people you know and people they know, etc., who can give you job leads. Call them up and seek their help. Give them copies of your res

You must also look at small business or self-employment as a good option for both of you. Both you and your husband have accumulated skills and established your expertise in the course of your employment. You can both look at a small home-based business (many big business started small) using your husband’s technical skills and your own administrative skills. A home business has a very low overhead, is convenient and most importantly, you are within reach when your family needs you. I strongly suggest that you take a course in and/or buy a good book on starting a business of your own. You also may check out Technology Livelihood and Resource Center at www.tlrc.gov.ph/trainingcourses.htm. for courses on business operation/management.

You and/or your husband’s skills are the product/service you offer. Many companies are outsourcing many functions. Find good companies (not just any company) with a need and fill it with your product/service. Check out their websites;

I know of a woman who was retired from her company where she worked as an executive secretary, like yourself.  She set up a small business center in the garage of her home. She invested part of the money from her retirement pay to buy an Apple computer, a scanner and a fax machine, and leased a photocopier. She made handbills about the services of her business center and had this distributed in her subdivision. Before long, she had her clients, and the number grew because of the quality of her work and the speed of her service.  Before long, she employed workers to help her run her business.  She is her own boss and enjoys the freedom, autonomy and power that she never experienced as a corporate employee. She saw the end of her corporate career as a blessing in disguise.

Your husband’s educational background and work experience can lead him to consulting work, teaching and self-employment. I also know of a licensed mechanical engineer who after retirement at age 60, took up an auto mechanic course because he enjoyed using tools and tinkering with cars. He told his friends and neighbors about his plan to put up an auto shop.  They encouraged him and became his first client.  The shop became a successful business venture because of the quality work, professionalism and on-time service delivery.

Look for self-employed people with success stories to tell to share their experiences and wisdom with you and your husband, and to boost your self-confidence.

A business thrives and becomes successful because of consistently excellent product/service delivered on time and the professional manner the boss and his employees deal with clients.

Manage your retirement package with self-restraint so that you can feel blessed that, at your age, you have so much money which you would never have earned if you continued to work until you reach the age of 60. Financial planning should include tithing or setting aside a part of it for God for the spread of his kingdom on earth. Then ask God to guide you in planning and in the prudent use and investment of your and your husband’s retirement package.  Be guided by a competent financial and investment counselor from your bank or from a financial institution.

Don’t forget to include in your financial planning provision for hospitalization, medical and dental consultation and services, laboratory and surgical procedures, medicine and the like.

Have faith in a loving God who closes one door to open a very wide window of opportunity for you to grasp.

God bless you.

 

Josie Santamaria