Unemployed OAP’s

I lost my job when I was 55years old.

The company wanted a new fresh face rather than a member of the grey brigade. I was perfectly happy and there was no real reason for sacking me and taking on a 20 year old girl.

The job was working in a furnishing shop and I got the job because the owner said he was looking for someone who was not going to arrive late with a hangover or indeed not turn up at all. They were glad that they had found me!

I did Public Relations for them and also introduced a new aspect of service for the shop by offering to go to a clients house and together work out which pieces should go where. That was very lucrative for the shop but it didn’t stop them from sacking me.

I went to many interviews trying to find a new job. I was always asked back for a second interview and then told I hadn’t got the job because it had gone to young girl who was wet behind the ears when it came to running a business.

Almost all of my friends had the same experience and it was very depressing .I have to admit that I changed my CV before each interview – even lying about my age! It still didn’t help me finding a job.

I was lucky because I always want to write and became a freelance writer which I still am today. Others weren’t so lucky. Now I am grateful for the shops who give jobs to older people because they have the knowledge to help the customers without hurrying them at all.

The best place that I have found who had some OAP staff was B&Q. I am quite a novice gardener and asked for some help with choosing plants for different places in my garden. I found a wonderful man who must have been well into his sixties. He answered all my questions and made suggestions that I wouldn’t have thought of – all with a smile on his face as I dithered away choosing plants and pots.

I am sure that there are many other shops and stores give jobs for we older folk, but I can’t remember them. A senior moment I fear but hey ho, we are all used to that. I don’t mind after all it gives my offspring something to tell their friends and have a good laugh!

I am lucky that I have my writing career so it doesn’t make me feel over the hill and past my sell by date.

But if you are lucky enough not to need a paid job there are plenty of charities who want older people to help them either in their shop or for home visits. It is really nice to be wanted for your experience and give help to those who need it. If you can only manage to help a couple of days a week you will find it really rewarding.

So all I can say is hooray for the Grey Brigade, let’s show them that we have a lot of time and experience to give and a big thanks to shops and stores who recognise this.

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Jane Buckle

My Grandfather was called Bertie Buckle. He was a journalist in Fleet Street then went to live in India and founded the Bombay Gazette. I am not certain this was true but that was what my father told me! I always wanted to be a journalist but ended up doing Public Relations and Advertising, both of which meant that I was writing Press Releases, brochures and articles about clients. I formed my own little business specialising in P.R and Advertising. Unfortunately my clients drifted away one by one. They thought young and enthusiastic girls were preferable to an old lady of 55! I then moved to France where I lived for six blissful years. I renovated and sold houses and finally I realised my dream and wrote for three magazines there. I even had my own column in one of them. On my return to England I pitched for freelance work with all sorts of magazines and papers. I did write some pieces but I was over the moon when Silversurfers accepted an article. I like to think Bertie would be proud of his granddaughter.

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