Am I too old to be hired?

These workers in their 50s and early 60s are struggling to find an employer that will give them a chance. Blame the economy, or is age discrimination at play?

I have much to offer
age discrimination mary matthews
Name: Mary Matthews, 57
Place: Chicago

Over my lifetime, I have worked as a teacher, librarian, academic administrator and fundraiser. Now, I have been unemployed and underemployed for nearly five years. I am tired, discouraged and just downright depressed.

I apply for 5 to 10 jobs every week. Every morning when I wake up, I get alerts form Idealist, Indeed, Simply Hired and Careerbuilder. I'm doing the things I'm supposed to do, but I don't know anyone anymore. My existing network is small, and many of my contacts are either retired, dead or have dementia. Meanwhile, nobody wants to network with unemployed people. I've had contract work, but with no benefits, it's not enough.

In order for me to retire at 66 -- which is about 8 years away for me -- I will have to save almost $100,000 a year. It's not possible. In fact, to survive during this difficult time, I've had to pull from my retirement funds. The longer it takes for me to rejoin the workforce, the worse it gets.

I'm single. I don't have a husband. I don't have children. So it's all up to me.

Maybe we need to group together, start to lobby and advocate for some changes. It's not like we're senile. The average age of Congress is something like 57. Joe Biden is 70. Ronald Reagan was in his 70s when he was president. So what's the problem?

I'm tired of trying to prove my worth to others, to demonstrate that I'm good enough, experienced enough, smart enough. My track record says I work hard, I am competent, I am responsible, and that I have much to offer.


- Last updated February 26 2013 09:31 AM ET
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