Over 50 and fired. What now?
Ignore the professional coaches
My friend Alex is a programmer/analyst who worked for one of the big IT outsourcing companies in Israel. He was a PowerBuilder programmer and systems analyst and had worked for them for over 20 years. At age 50 — he was fired. Alex went on unemployment and looked for work as a programmer for 2 years. After striking out at all his job interviews, he went to work for a bus company issuing prepaid travel cards.
This can happen to you
Ok — so right now the job market for programmers is white-hot and there is a world-shortage. So — how come we’re not tapping into the 50+ pool of programmers?
A common excuse is that the government is not doing enough to support training. Not a good one. So what’s a 50+ programmer supposed to do?
Before you get fired
Be a CEO of a company of 1
You are used to working for a company and getting a salary. Get a life. Take control of yourself — you are now the CEO of a corporation of 1. Set objectives — personal and business. Measure yourself every day, every week and every month. There are a billion books and posts on management on Medium and LinkedIn. Read them critically — take home.
Set OKRs for yourself
Set objectives and key results for yourself. Measure them 1/week and 1/month. Work on consistency not execution. Execution will come later. Be consistent on setting objectives and measuring yourself every day for 3 months and it will become a habit. Then you can move on to execution.
Learn a new language every Friday
Your best resource is Learn X in Y minutes. If you are a Microsoft Monoculture person — learn something outside the Microsoft ecosystem like Go, Julia or even better Lisp. Do a toy project or 2. Get active on Github and contribute.
After you get riffed.
So you’ve been following directions, by now — you know a few new programming languages besides C# and you have some idea what you wanna do with your life.
Fix the loneliness thing — but don’t believe everything you read on LI
Even if your’e married — your SO may not grok what you’re going through.
A lot of LinkedIn posts talk about the importance of networking. Personally — I think this is highly over-rated. Unless your’e a highly attractive, very fit person — your ability to network at events with Generation Z and Y is zilch. Nobody wants to talk to an old guy/gal when they can talk to a great-looking 26 year old with a Computer Science degree from Stanford.
You are not even in the running. Sorry to break the news.
So how do you fix loneliness?
Go to the gym and work out. Get active in those Github projects you liked.
Go late-night shopping and enjoy getting out even if it means chatting with the people restocking the Cheerios.
Start marketing yourself.
Yep. You’re a CEO of 1 and now this is the startup of your life. You have experience, knowledge and understanding of what not to do. You can start by volunteering at a tech company — mentoring entry-level programmers. Build, package and price a mentoring program and start selling it as Mentoring as a Service. You get the idea.
Don’t assume you’ll get a salaried job every again.
yep. This is the reality. The Generation Z programmers are faster, more up-to-date and arguably have more stamina than you but you have a lot going for you. Just need to package, price and start selling.
Don’t know how to sell?
Look — you can be unemployed for 2 years and working in the pre-paid card department of a bus company or pay someone to coach you on how to sell.
This is a no-brainer. Get over it. Learn how to sell. This is survival.
Be your own CEO
ABC — always be closing.
Remember — 50 is the new 20 and 70 is the new 40.
Danny Lieberman is 71.
He is the founder of flaskdata.io — an Israeli tech startup working on automating data integrity and patient safety monitoring in clinical trials.
Danny is a solid-state physicist by training, serious amateur musician and tech entrepreneur. Working on a cutting-edge project that harnesses AI to help us achieve transparency for our clinical data.
Proud to be working with some very smart people, all smarter than him.
Contact Danny on LinkedIn and he’ll show you how to outcompete in your life and in your clinical trials.