It is binary.
On the other hand, some of us Baby Boomers rarely have work. We have come to look like deer caught in the headlights. Yes, we are actually afraid of life.
What accounts for the difference and how can the unemployables land enough work to make ends meet and regain confidence?
Here are my observations:
Getting stuck in the past. They recall better times. They cannot adjust to current conditions in the labor market. That is easily cured by taking a survival job paying $10 an hour. That will re-socialize the jobless to how to go to work. On that platform they can rebuild their careers or start a new one. The survival job is a training laboratory.
Not willing to get through the ugly part of transition. They forget how hard it was to graduate college, graduate school, or professional programs and go to work. But they did it. They got the hang of being an ambitious professional, not a student getting drunk on Wednesday nights.
The transition to the changed workplace is equally brutal. But adjustment is possible.
Being discouraged by age bias. Age discrimination is rampant. So? There are myriad spaces within that in which we can find our fit. For me it was switching from pitching for work in person to only going after telecommuting accounts.
Not learning new skills. Everything is changing. We have, as the cliché goes, to accommodate those shifts. Everyday we should be adding to our base of knowledge and skills.
In May, I will be 71 years of age. In the past several months my communications boutique has gone through a renaissance. I made that happen by continuing to be willing to align myself with the new realities in the marketplace. Those range from having to market more to acquiring new skills. To do that I have had to cut out plenty of the social activities I used to enjoy. But I also had to do that after my formal education was over and I had to get up at 6:00 A.M. daily. We do adjust, don't we.