Finding Work after a Long Absence When You’re Over 50

The 2014 census estimates that of roughly 244M people in the US who are 16 and older, 59.4% or ~145M are presenting working, which leaves us with 99M who are 16 and older who are not working in the US. Even if we subtract all of those who are 65 and older (~44M), we are left 55M adults between the ages of 16 and 65 who are not working.

To be sure, many are in school, stay-at-home-moms, in career transition and so forth. But for some, they want to work and cannot find gainful employment.

I met today with an impressive professional who is in her early 50’s. She’s tried to find work for over 18 months and has been unsuccessful. She keeps bumping into the “you’re too qualified” or “you’re going to need too much money” scenarios when she applied for jobs that she is capable of performing.

Privately, she feels there is age discrimination going on, but proving that is an entirely different matter. So she wonders what she should do. Especially given the fact that she’s been unemployed for 18 months, some potential employers are wondering what’s wrong with her – why can she not find a job?

There are millions of decent, hard-working folks who are over 50 and would love to work, but cannot find a job. They apply, interview and are turned away time after time. It’s frustrating and it’s demoralizing. One’s dignity can go down the drain over time. “What’s wrong with me?” people ask themselves. Depression, apathy and financial stress can kick in over time. It’s a difficult situation to be in. But it is a situation that can be turned around.

Over lunch, my friend and I talked. Here was my advice, in no uncertain terms, to turn her situation around.

Value Your Experience

Believe it or not, the younger folks need the experience of older people. So while they may not come ask for it, they still need it and when delivered through a good relationship, they will listen and absorb. Will they pay for it? Perhaps. It depends on who you’re marketing to. In my friend’s experience, I suggested that she market her experience to small business owners, given that she had serious depth in operations and human resources. There are over 5.8M small businesses in the United States. There are bound to be some businesses that would highly value her experience.

Network. Network. Network.

The best way to find a great job is to network. Get out and drink coffee after coffee (be sure to be a perks member of one of the big chains) and tell people the value and experience you can bring to bear within a business. I’ve heard that you’ll need to network for one month for every $10K you want in your salary. So if you’re looking for a job that pays $100K/year, you’ll need to plan on networking for at least 10 months. Whether this is accurate or not, try to meet as many people as possible and stay in touch with them. Call them every so often and check up on them to see how they’re doing. Find out if there is anything you can do for them and let them know how your job search is coming along. A 5-7 minute call is all that’s needed. Don’t pester them – but don’t be silent either. This is the toughest part – networking and calling and staying in front of people. Every fiber in your being will fight it. You’ll hear voices telling you that “so-and-so doesn’t care about you” or “they won’t have time for you” or “you’re just bothering them”. None of this will be true, mind you, so you’ll need to battle your internal thoughts and feelings and pick up the phone, every day.

You can also use LinkedIn to find new contacts that you’d like to meet. Pay the monthly fee for the premium service and introduce yourself to others through InMail. An example introductory InMail can go like this:

“John – I noticed through LinkedIn that you work in the small business area, helping businesses increase their sales. While I’m not in sales, I do want to find a small business who needs a solid CFO. I’m currently looking for such a position. Would you mind if we met for 30 minutes over a cup of coffee and become acquainted? I have no reason to think you know of any open positions, but you might bump into something in the future and if that happens, I’d like for you to think of referring me into that opportunity. I would enjoy become acquainted with you. Would Friday morning at 10AM work for you?”

I bet I’ve met over 100 people using this tactic – just pinging them and asking for 30 minutes to become acquainted. Since business is all about relationships, meeting more people in business is hardly a bad idea. And eventually, you will bump into some great situations that will combine your passion and skills into a single job.

Passion + Skill = GREAT Job

If you work in an area you’re passionate about, you’ll never work a day in your life. So if you’ve been unemployed for a while, take a look at the core structures of your life over the last 10+ years. What did you like? What would you keep? What should you change or jettison? Figure out what you’re passionate about and then see if you can utilize your skills in working within your area of passion.

Consider Starting Your Own Business

Many people in their 50’s and 60’s start their own businesses due to the market’s favor for younger talent that costs less. While difficult, starting and owning your own business can be very rewarding. If you don’t know how to do this, talk with some seasoned business professionals who have worked in small businesses. Don’t talk to people who run Fortune 500 companies. The skills to run a small business and those needed to run a Fortune 500 company are distinct and disparate. Network with those who run small businesses. If you have resources, consider working with a firm like Platinum to help you find a business that you can buy and own. Understanding that you can do more than just pound your head against the corporate brick walls while they hire younger people will give you power and freedom to pursue your passion in life.

If you would like to join a group that focuses on business startups, use our contact information to get ahold of us here at the Bible and Business.

Get Your MOJO Back

If you’re lacking confidence, then go to the Lord and ask Him what skills and experiences you can bring to bear in a given scenario and then network with those who have reach into that scenario. Lack of confidence in valuing our experience and skills is, I believe, a lie that the enemy gives us. He doesn’t want us to be effective in the marketplace, so one of his tactics is to make us feel less worthy or valuable than we are.

I’m not talking about becoming arrogant or cocky. But I am suggesting that if you lack confidence, you’ll need to replace with some appropriate swagger. I call it “getting your mojo back”. In order to do this, you’ll need to:

  • Change the negative self-talk you hear in your head to something truthful and positive
  • Value your experience and expertise
  • Consider that you have, perhaps, another 20 years to work, so this is, in effect, a career change
  • Pay it forward” a bit with some to prove your worth
  • Ask the Lord to give you new connections in business whom you can bless in some way
  • Depend on the Lord to find the right position and work

Re-engaging after a long absence from the marketplace when you’re over 50 can be rather difficult. I hope my advice is helpful. Either way, feel free to post back about your experiences and ideas for those who are struggling to find new work and purpose in our difficult economy.

Bill English, MA, MDiv., LP, CPBPM
Associate, the Platinum Group
Founder, the Bible and Business



Charleston. Newtown. Columbine. Only Christ can Solve The Hearts of Men.


This is the question that nearly everyone in the United States is asking in the wake of the shootings at Charleston. But it’s not just Charleston. It’s the Newtown Massacre. Its’ other shootings like those at Virginia Tech, Aurora or Columbine. It seems that these shootings are increasing in frequency and brutality. In fact, in the last 30 years, we’ve experienced over 61 mass shootings.

School shootings seem to be more common than church shootings, even though Carl Chinn reports 176 deadly force incidents in 2014 on church property. Among the myths is that school shootings are on the rise, but depending on who you read or listen to, this is either a myth or fact. This problem has been studied by the Secret Service and the FBI. The latter study reminds us that this problem is multi-faceted and complex:

School shootings and other forms of school violence are not just a school’s problem or a law enforcement problem. They involve schools, families, and the communities. An adolescent comes to school with a collective life experience, both positive and negative, shaped by the environments of family, school, peers, community, and culture. Out of that collective experience come values, prejudices, biases, emotions, and the student’s responses to training, stress, and authority. His or her behavior at school is affected by the entire range of experiences and influences. No one factor is decisive. By the same token, however, no one factor is completely without effect, which means that when a student has shown signs of potential violent behavior, schools and other community institutions do have the capacity — and the responsibility — to keep that potential from turning real.

The Center for Disease Control reminds us that less than 1% of all homicides among school age children ages 5-18 happen on school grounds. Other major findings include:

  • Violent deaths at schools accounted for less than one percent of the homicides and suicides among children ages 5-18.
  • During the past seven years, 116 students were killed in 109 separate incidents-an average of 16.5 student homicides each year.
  • Rates of school-associated student homicides decreased between 1992 and 2006. However, they have remained relatively stable in recent years. Rates were significantly higher for males, students in secondary schools, and students in central cities.
  • From 1999 to 2006, most school-associated homicides included gunshot wounds (65 percent), stabbing or cutting (27 percent), and beatings (12 percent).
  • Among the students who committed a school-associated homicide, 20 percent were known to have been victims of bullying and 12 percent were known to have expressed suicidal thoughts or to have engaged in suicidal behavior.
  • Most school-associated violent deaths occur during transition times-immediately before and after the school day and during lunch.
  • Violent deaths are more likely to occur at the start of each semester.
  • Nearly 50 percent of homicide perpetrators gave some type of warning signal, such as making a threat or leaving a note, prior to the event.

Our society is far too violent. We play video games that show graphic violence every few seconds. We watch movies that multiple killings. Numerous web sites – both pornographic and otherwise – show women and children being violated. We tolerate a sex trafficking industry with a shrug of our shoulders. We kill the unborn at a rate of over 1,000,000/year. Every form of deviant behavior is available in the United States if you search hard enough and are willing to pay the price.

In the 1950’s the most difficult problems we had in school were students talking out of turn and chewing gum. Today, we’re looking at putting armed guards into our schools and perhaps, our churches, in an effort to maintain a minimum level of safety. Uffdah.

I’ve heard several times that evil has visited Charleston. And surely this is a correct assessment. But the admission that evil exists presupposes that good exists and that there is a standard between them. That giver of the standard is God – the same God whom we have thrown out of our schools, evicted from our public squares and routinely, we curse. We don’t want Him to tell us what to do and we ignore Him. In our humor, we make fun of Him, we sometimes shake our fists at Him and sometimes treat our dogs better than Him. Yet, when tragedy strikes, we turn to Him and ask for His comfort. We ask Him to help us make sense of the senseless, not realizing that His love for us is greater than our sin or disdain for Him.

I don’t know why this happened. But I can say that if we turn to God, he will comfort us and to give us strength to keep going. As you contemplate this tragedy, I ask that you turn your heart to God. God can (and I believe will) take this tragedy and turn it into something good. He is One who restores, who takes misery and turns it into Joy, who fills us with a peace that really does pass all comprehension. In this world, we will have trouble. But Christ has overcome the world.

I invite you to know the only One who can really solve our problems. The only person who can really fix all this is Jesus Christ. Neither party, alone or together, can fix man’s heart. You can take away all the guns and pass all the preventative laws you wish and people will still commit senseless murder. Only Christ can change my heart and your heart. Turn your heart to God and while you and I may not have all our questions answered, we’ll know the One who can answer them.

Bill English

Man Dies After Choking on Roach Parts

From the “you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up” department, a man died after choking on a roach that got caught in his throat – soon after winning a roach eating contest.

I know that each man’s time to die is appointed by God, but still, one wonders about the wisdom of engaging in this type of behavior. Beyond the “gross” aspect, I can’t help but think that there is some Darwinian effect going on here.

Bill English, CEO

Human Resources: Insourcing vs. Outsourcing

One of the core responsibilities of a steward is to ensure the interests of the owner are protected. In my case, I’m a steward of a business that God has given to me. And in this business – as with any business – one of the core risks that must be managed is exposure to liability in the employer/employee relationship. Given the nature of our litigious society and it’s increasing violence, risk management would indicate that giving an inordinate amount of resources toward managing risk in the human resources arena is prudent. This is the stance that I have taken, which is why I’ve steadfastly held to the notion that having a full-time HR person is essential to mitigating risk for my business.

However, it occurred to me just yesterday that the one reason a business owner might outsource HR work and compliance efforts is to not just lower risk, but to share risk with another firm that is willing to shoulder the legal exposure to litigation and judgments, should something like this ever occur. The chances are high – very high, IMHO – that your business and mine will be caught up in a litigation matter at some point in its’ life. The one thing a full-time employee cannot do is spread around the risk to another firm.

If you own a company, the one reason you might consider outsourcing HR is from a risk management perspective.

Bill English, CEO

Good Advice – the DCOM Method

I just received an email this morning from a friend who was advising me on how to manage a situation within my company. Near the end of his email, he reminded of the DCOM method that he uses – it was a good reminder for me, so I thought I’d pass it along:

  • D = Direction – Give your team members or employees clear, measurable objectives
  • C = Competence – do they know how to do it? – do they need additional training or coaching?
  • O = Opportunity – do they have the time, tools and resources to do it? Can anyone do it?   
  • M = Motivation – Are they willing to do it or is there something of higher priority/concern that’s getting in their way. 

I like this approach. I’ll be using it in the coming weeks and months to manage the situation he and I were discussing.

Bill English, CEO


Self Defense and Church Security

Based on the work at this web site (, there exists reason to believe that deadly force incidents are on the risk in American churches. His web site claims there were 176 deadly force incidents last year. The more concerning part for me isn’t the specific number of incidents, but the trend he presents on his site. If he is only someone close to the truth, then we really do have a serious, growing problem on our hands.

His site tells a tale that most Americans have not heard (this information is nation-wide and includes all denominations and independent churches):

  • Since 1999, 335 incidents have resulted in the death of at least one individual – 35% of the 971 deadly force incidents
  • Since 1999, 1011 have been killed or injured, with 64% killed being males, 36% females
  • Since 1999, 30% occurred inside the church building, 69% occurred on church property, 40% occurred during a ministry event
  • 72% had a single attacker
  • 2014 – 176 incidents
  • 2013 –  132
  • 2010 – 102
  • 2005 – 10
  • Baptists are the most vulnerable – 22% of incidents happen at Baptist ministries – Evangelical Free are tied for the safest – only 3 incidents since 1999.

As I said, it’s the trend that bothers me. If we can see a jump from 10 incidents in 2005 to 176 just ten years later, then the trajectory is not good. Should this trend continue and we get the point where we have 300, 500 or even 1000 deadly force incidents in American churches, then we’ll see churches shoring up their security.

For many Christians, it probably just “feels wrong” to have people at church with guns/Tasers/mace and so forth – there is likely some cognitive dissonance about having instruments of violence in a place of worship and love.  I get it. But there is a basis for Biblical self-defense. Sometimes, violence can be an act of discipleship. I think it was Chesterton who said the reason a man fights another man is not because he hates what’s in front of him, but because he loves what’s behind him.  This would true of self-defense.

In short God gives us the right to defend ourselves as well as those who cannot defend themselves. Consider these passages:

  1. Abner kills Asahel after telling Asahel to stop chasing him:  2 Sam2.22-23
  2. Exodus 22.2 – self-defense at night was considered legal
  3. Esther 8.11 – the king gives the Jews the right to defend themselves

In all of the passages that I could find on self-defense, never once was the concept presented as being sin, being associated with God’s displeasure or something that the writer felt compelled to comment on in a negative fashion. The larger arc of Scripture will embrace the preservation of life and that some life must be ended in order to end sin and/or a real threat to others following God. The Old Testament is replete with examples like this. (For a fuller discussion of self-defense in the Bible, consider

Churches need to engage this distasteful reality: violence is on the rise in our society and we need to secure our ministry events as much as reasonably possible. Such security should include measures to diffuse tense situations using verbal commands, use-of-force protocols, extensive training for those on the security team, coordination with community resources and a way to ensure all this is seamless and transparent to the attendees of ministry events.

While a few will want to be black ninjas and Rambo’s, the reality is that we do not want to change the flavor of our ministry events with the introduction of open weapons. At whatever level of force your church chooses, be sure to have that force fly “under the radar” such that most attendees have no idea that force is present.

Brotherhood Mutual has some good information on this topic. It’s ironic that it’s coming from an insurance company rather than our seminaries, churches, colleges or heads of our denominations. You can find their information here:

  1. Prepare for the unthinkable
  2. Assess risks
    1. An estranged boyfriend stalking his ex-girlfriend at church
    2. Agitated man entering the building looking for someone
    3. Man demands custody of his children from the Sunday school teacher right before Sunday school starts
    4. Youth ginned up on Meth or is mentally disturbed comes into your services and starts firing with semi-automatic weapons
  3. Must have plans and trained personnel to deal with these threats
  4. Must establish protocols to direct your response
  5. Should pre-coordinate with first responders, law enforcement, community leaders and such about how to prepare for violent incidents
  6. Conduct practice drills (preferably when church is not in service)
  7. Inform the congregation


They also have a “Violence in the Church Emergency Checklist” that is worth getting and filling out:

From my perspective, the upshot is that we can no longer buy into the notion that “it won’t happen at my church”. I think the shooting in Charleston should dispel such thinking. Secondly, we trust God – yes – but we also do our part to engage in reasonable self-defense and security. This isn’t paranoia – it’s just a reasonable reaction to reality. And it’s the right thing to do, in my opinion.

Bill English

Transracialism, Rachel Dolezal and Truth

The hub-bub about Rachel Dolezal has ignited a conversation about what race means in our society.

In her rather transparent, but rambling interview with Matt Lower of NBC’s Today show, she differentiated between being African American and Black – saying that she identified herself as black when Matt asked her if she is African American. In other words, she “feels” black, therefore she is black.

Relativism has become so deeply nested in our society that one’s gender and identity now are relative to how one “feels” and “experiences” life. If you feel like a women, you’re a woman, if you feel black, you’re black. If you feel like a victim, you are one. Feelings can often deceive and while feelings are real, they are not necessarily a reflection of truth. It seems to us that Rachel has denied her obvious physical race for so long, that it has amounted to lying to herself. She appears to be so good at lying that it won’t surprise us if other revelations come out about her lying about other aspects of her life. We’ll see.

From a Christian viewpoint, to reject one’s own gender or race is tantamount to saying to God that He made serious mistakes when he created you or I. One’s race and gender are sacred to one’s personhood – and this is set by God, not by one’s environment. But regardless of our race, ethnic heritage or sex, as Christians, our identity is in Christ first and then race/gender second. We focus on the truth of who we are in Christ and then focus on our sex, skin tone and so forth. In Christ, our divisions are to be eliminated through the healing and loving power of the Holy Spirit.

For the Christian Business Owner, this ought not to be an issue, but we believe that it’s just a matter of time before a white, male business owner decides that he’s really a black woman and thus, demands the government honor his (her?) business as a woman-owned, minority-owned business. If boys who feel they are girls can be allowed into the girl’s locker room in high schools, why shouldn’t men who identify as black females (whether or not they have a sex change operation) be treated as minority women by society and government?

We don’t see how government will have any objective grounds upon which to stand if they claim that race is purely a matter of skin tone when it comes to interacting with small businesses.

This entire conversation dances around the core issue that there is no objective truth anymore in our society. Truth, as a category, no longer exists. If we continue down this path, it will be just a matter of time before our nation crumbles from within. No society can survive the loss of truth, because it is upon the concept of truth that we build our criminal and civil laws and find meaning in our lives personally. Let’s hope that enough Americans find this entire conversation to be the wakeup call that it can and should be.

Managing Business Revenue

Nearly every business owner or business leader understands the concept of managing expenses. Yet very few understand how to manage revenue. Since revenue is closely aligned with sales, it’s pretty difficult to manage revenue using the same tools and skills for managing expenses.

Managing revenue means the following:

  • Classify your revenue such that you can align the variable (Cost of Goods Sold) expenses with that revenue
  • Routinely looking for legitimate ways to increase revenue
  • Match products and services to customer needs
  • Routinely look at pricing strategies
  • Investing in customer relationships

If you think of revenue management as simply decisions about money itself, then you’ll miss the point. Revenue management is all about your customer base, what they need, how you meet those needs and how you price your products and services. If you don’t focus on revenue management, you’ll go out of business.

Running a complex business is different than delivering a complex service or product. Most entrepreneurs are good at the latter and not so good at the former. Because markets, technology, buying habits, customer preferences and competitors are constantly changing, we recommend that you go through a regular process of looking at your product and service matrix relative to what you understand about your customers and then align your company to meet their needs at a price they are willing to pay for. If you can do this on a constant basis, you’ll never go out of business.

When you look at how to increase revenues, the following is presented in an outline format to help distill the basic, available choices you have for increasing top-line revenue:

  1. Sell more of the same products and services to the same customers
  2. Sell more of the same products and services to new customers
  3. Sell new products and services to the same customers
  4. Sell new products and services to new customers
  5. Acquire a competitor to reduce competition and gain new customers
  6. Acquire a non-competitor to enter a new market and gain new customers

There are sub-strategies with each one of these efforts that will require forethought and financial investments. These strategies can be mutually exclusive, depending on other factors. But each of these strategies should not be the end in and of itself: If raw profit isn’t increased by implementing one or more of these strategies, then there’s little reason to engage the strategy.

I work with small business owners – some of the Christian and some not – who lump all their income into a single line item called “Income” or “Revenue” in their accounting system. When I see financials where income streams are lumped together and expenses are not divided into fixed/operational and Cost of Goods Sold, then I know I’m looking at a business that might be profitable but whose owners don’t really understand their own business because they don’t have quality information to tell them if the various parts of their business are healthy or not. While their top-line revenue might be sufficient to cover all their expenses, they might be losing money in one part of their business and not even know it.

Managing income is a pre-requisite to managing expenses. You can’t align variable expenses that are incurred as a result of a sale unless you call out the income from that sale in a separate bucket. For example, you can’t apply a contractors cost of $5000 to a project that earned $25,000 unless you first recorded the income in an income account that doesn’t recognize sales from other parts of the business.

Managing revenue is more time consuming and risky than managing expenses. But it is the life-blood of your business. Growing your profits and revenue is a sure-fire way to ensure the long-term viability of your business.

Bill English, MA, MDiv, LP, CPBPM
Associate, The Platinum Group
Founder, The Bible and Business

Five Ways to be Happy in Your Job

Everyone wants to be happy in their job – to find work they enjoy and enjoy working with their colleagues. People want to be proud of where they work and they want their work to be meaningful and purposeful. In thinking about this topic, I’ve concluded there are five things that you must do in order to be happy at work:

Be True to God’s Call on Your Life

What is God’s call on your life – aside from His call on every Christian’s life to be holy and conformed to the image of His Son – what is His specific call on your life? Know you call and ensure that your build your life structure around that call. If you’re unsure about your call, then this is the first place to start. Working in a job that conflicts with God’s call on your life will result in perpetual, internal conflict within yourself. You’ll never be happy. Remember Jonah? He wasn’t happy until he fulfilled God’s call on his life (and even then, he thought God was wrong to have extended grace to those in Nineveh, but that’s a topic for another day).

Be True to Your Gifts and Talents

If you’re really creative, getting a job as a bookkeeper will likely drive you crazy. Work from your gifts and talents – don’t work against them. God has created you the way you are – embrace it and develop those gifts and talents for His glory and honor. People always enjoy working in areas that allow them to express their gifts and talents, so pay attention to this.

Be True to Your Passions

You might be in a job where your gifts and talents are being used, but your passion(s) are either mis-aligned with the organization’s purpose or your passions are being dampened by your employer in some way. In an ideal world, you’ll be able to find work in which your passions can be complimentary to your gifts and talents. For example, if you love working with numbers in an accounting system and your passionate about helping abused children, then working as a Controller for a non-profit that serves abused children will your gifts, talents and passions. If you don’t have this, then ask the Lord to open up work in which you can express all three in one setting.

Note that it’s not unusual to have a full-time job that you like (or a couple of part-time jobs in today’s part-time economy) but you find your fullest expression of who God has made you to be in a volunteer position. In this scenario, your full-time job will be more bearable because you have something more enjoyable to look forward to – your volunteer position in which you can work from your strengths toward a cause you’re passionate about.

Be True to Your Values

Never work a job where you’re asked to violate your values. Doing so will crush any enjoyment or happiness you have in your job. If your employer is asking you to violate your values – take that to prayer. It may be that God is calling you elsewhere. But even if He isn’t, don’t violate your values. It’s not worth it. Life is too short.

Be True to Your Employer and Colleagues

Nothing will kill enjoyment of your work faster than if you find yourself criticizing, marginalizing or complaining about your employer or co-workers. If you don’t like who you work for, then go work somewhere else. If your colleagues are toxic, then read Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud. Some relationships should be ended and sometimes it’s an act of discipleship to end those relationships. I’ve met numerous people who stayed with an employer they didn’t like because of their compensation benefits. Personally, I don’t think the money is worth it. But of course, this is up to you.

Two Other Advice

First, your employer will probably criticize your work performance at some point in time. Just count on it. When they do, you should take it to prayer with two foci:

  1. Is your employer right?
  2. Have you sinned in some way?

Sometimes, employers are spot on in their criticism – but sometimes, they are off-base. It’s helpful to hear from the Lord what He thinks of your job performance. Listen to the Lord – it could be very helpful to your professional growth. And if God points out sin in your life, then confess it and move on.

A Word to Employers

If you deliver criticism out of anything but love for your employees, it’s going to come across negative in some form or fashion and is not likely to produce the work performance you’re after. Bear this in mind when you need to deliver performance criticism. Are you angry with them? Is what you’re saying going to help them grow professionally and personally? Or is what you’re saying accurate, but the way you’re saying it is going to create conflict? You need to go before the Lord too – before you deliver criticism – and ensure that you’re doing it in the right spirit so that the right words flow out of your mouth.

Bill English