Linda Hall: Wise Winner
Whoever said landing a new job at sixtysomething is impossible hasn’t met Linda Hall.
At 63, this Salt Lake City computer programmer knew she didn’t fit the profile of a traditional techie. The industry is male-centric and youth-dominated, both of which worked against her during her nine years at a global IT giant. She was surrounded by swarms of fresh college grads and twentysomethings with sharp skills and the ability to learn at lightning speed.
Yet even with what was sometimes a generation difference between her and her colleagues and oftentimes her bosses, Hall was good at her job, and with a warm and welcoming personality, she was well-liked by peers. As an extremely dedicated employee, she was frequently called on to work into the wee hours of the night to complete critical tasks.
None of that mattered when, thirty years into her career, Hall received the worst possible news for a mature worker in the technology sector: She was being laid off.
With just a three-month cushion of severance pay and benefits, Hall was justifiably nervous about securing a new job. Being single, a steady salary was a financial necessity, and being career minded, a meaningful and challenging job was emotionally critical. Job searching is always difficult but with a line of young, fresh geniuses in front of her at every interview, there were weeks of despair and discouragement where Hall worried that her career days may have been behind her.
She used her anxiety to establish a plan—thanks in part, she says, to the advice in Women For Hire books and on our website. She stepped up her networking immediately, asking everyone for both job leads and candid feedback on strengthening her resumé. She enrolled in a weekly job search workshop offered by her church where she developed a polished elevator pitch, rehearsed interview questions, and connected with head hunters.
All of those efforts—along with the belief that her maturity and years of experience were assets and not impediments—finally paid off. Four months after the layoff that turned her world upside down, Hall received an offer from one of the largest banks in the city as a programmer with regular nine to five hours and a $15,000 increase over her previous position.
Today Hall says she love the new challenges she’s facing and the relationships she is building. And perhaps best of all, she cherishes her unique position and perspective as a mature woman in a young person’s world of work.