|Volume 1: No. 38|
By the year 2000, 30% of Americans will be over 45. IEEE's salary survey shows that salaries tends to level off above this age. (Income peaks after 55, due to outside sources.) The median age of retiring engineers is 62, about a year younger than other professionals. Over-65 EEs depend more on retirement annuities than other workers, and less on Social Security. Once you retire, it's hard to find a company that will retrain you. Even though older employees tend to be conscientious and dependable, they are seen as obsolete and costly.
If you're an unemployed older engineer, try stressing recent projects on your resume instead of listing your life history. Stress engineering skills rather than management. Also, check around for a Forty Plus Club in your area. Such clubs offer job-hunting help for $450 plus $50 per month (and volunteer time). [Robert Bellinger, EE Times, 8/12.]
NSF isn't the only government agency that gives grants. Bill Wilkes wanted to help unemployed engineers on Long Island, so he and his unemployed friends founded the Center for Practical Solutions (CPS). They wanted to raise $200,000, so they asked the U.S. Dept. of Labor for a business development grant -- and received $487,000! (I gather that it took almost a year to get the grant.) The nonprofit center is largely a volunteer effort, with beneficiaries expected to share a percentage of their profits. The goal is to create or expand technical businesses, "matching skills with opportunities." Core teams of engineers and professionals thrash out project ideas, and guest speakers offer advice. Some of the new businesses are consultancies providing help to other start-ups. Wilkes is now franchising the corporation nationally for $10,000 over ten years. [Robert Bellinger, EE Times, 9/16.]
With so many people out of work, support groups are springing up in churches and community buildings across the country. Most groups combine emotional support and lifestyle advice with skills counseling and job leads. If you can't find a group by asking around, check the National Business Employment Weekly or send $1 plus self-addressed, stamped business envelope (SASE) to National Self-Help Clearinghouse, 25 West 43rd Street, Room 620, New York, NY 10036, for a list of various self-help groups. If you'd like to start a new group, get a free outline by sending a SASE to Robert Bryant, 2303 W. 11th Street, Wilmington, DE 19805. [Jane Bryant Quinn, Newsweek, 12/16.] (In Silicon Valley, check the Business Monday section of the San Jose Mercury News.)