Clawing our way to the middle


As economic calamity continues to erode retirement accounts nationwide, the unthinkable has come to pass: We are competing with our children for the short list of available jobs. Once we would smile, damp-eyed and nostalgic, when Junior and Sis set out on their first job interviews. Now the tear that we brush from our eye is tinged with the bile of rivalry. Without resources or options, we could conceivably be spending our golden years in their basement on a cot set up between the kitty litter box and the furnace.


In an attempt to side-step this scenario, we are marketing ourselves in a world filled with those who are younger, better-looking and who doubtless have a better grasp of technology. Our best resource may be the bony-elbowed and blatant disregard for our fellow creatures that we have honed in cruise ship buffet lines.


Once the qualms of conscience have been reconciled and the effrontery of this predicament digested, itís time to plot the attack. To land that dream job at the local coffee franchise, we would do well to review the basics beforehand.


1. DRESS FOR SUCCESS. If your wardrobe consists entirely of vintage rockabilly costumes and frayed favorites representing decades of fashion faux pas, this can be challenging. And if youíre looking for a job, chances are good that all of your extra money is tied up in groceries. Assuming that funds are unavailable to supplement the contents of your closet with more appropriate attire, choose pieces that, with a little tweaking, could pass for normal. Everyone has a white shirt and this is as safe as a bomb shelter for job interviews. In fact, with a neatly pressed white shirt and a blinding smile, very little notice may be taken of the fact that you are also wearing parachute pants and a hand-painted necktie.


2. UPDATE YOUR RESUME. Have you been tripping through life thanks to the bounty of a departed well-to-do spouse or a recently depleted trust fund? If so, you may want to review your attributes and, frankly, scour your imagination for powerful experience that would impress a prospective employer.


3. BE RELENTLESSLY UPBEAT. Unless youíre interviewing at a mortuary (and probably even then), employers will want to ascertain that the job applicant has more than a pulse. They want someone who is not only capable, but will also contribute to a pleasant atmosphere in the workplace. But this is tricky. While a sense of humor is considered desirable, droll is better than quirky. Think Bob Newhart as opposed to Carrot Top.


And so, armed with these simple rules and a shrewd sense of survival, I would like to extend a blanket apology to all of the young, bright and beautiful. When we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you and invite comparison with our experience, our ability to rise with the sun and our complete lack of hormonal distraction, Iíd like to assure you that itís nothing personal. Its just business.