New job after 50


Learning about Lotta and her life will probably make many women recognize themselves. Life is up and down and when we are 20 with all life ahead, we usually think about all that we shall do and achieve and not all difficulties that we will bump into. But those bumps are not always as bad as we may think, and when we have handled them, we can see that things usually turns out well at the end. The problems also make us more grateful when things are going well. This interview does show that strength and hard work pay off.

Name: Lotta Borgman

Age: 51

Occupation: wardrobe supervisor

Family: Son Simon and daughter Marina

Lives: Stockholm, Sweden

You have been working in the theater world almost all your life and your field is costumes. But it was only last year that you got a permanent employment after the second time losing your work. Many women over 50 says it is difficult to get a new job, how did you manage?

I became involuntary freelancer when my employment was taken away. It was extremely tough as I had been working at the same place for 17 years and in the business around 30. There I was with all the experience and I wondered what I should do with it all. Also my work was a part of my identity. It was difficult to handle. What I finally did was to "switch my brain" said to myself that somehow things must be solved, and then I began to refurbish my apartment. Exercise is helpful in such situation and I can warmly recommend pilates. A quick walk is also good as it helps to sort the thoughts.

Afterwards I can see that I ought to have started searching for another job directly when the company was acquired and the reorganization began. What saved me work wise and also mentally though, was my social network and the network with fantastic colleagues at other theaters. My contacts with them opened the doors to temporary employments. I began working extra at a theater during the reorganization and eventually an employment came up there and then they knew my skills and that I fitted socially in the team.

So the answer to the question is that without a well worked up network that I have taken good care of, I would not have my new employment now. It is not the first time I have been in this situation. Once during the 90's same thing happened when my employer went to bankruptcy. But then they continued to drive the company with a new part-owner and the employees could go on working with seasonal contracts. It was of course not optimal but still easier as I was around 30 back then. Even if I am optimistic about the work situation even at my age, it is more difficult, no idea to deny that.

During the periods of involuntary unemployment I have added to my knowledge by studying and learning more within my profession. I have adapt to the situation and been having both plan A, B and C. If I may give an advice to other women who are where I was, I would say: use your time, a lot have happened since we were young and updating yourself and gain more knowledge shows that you are still on track and have not stagnated.

With all that said, I do believe in karma. When I after a while lost my job at least I could see that it was nothing personal. That made it easier to go on as I understood that this was part of the development in the private theater world to not have permanent employment.

Are we too bad in marketing ourselves? I mean, we have both knowledge and life experience and most of us have no infants or will get pregnant. Still not all employers see the benefits hiring us instead. How shall we change that?

Yes we are too bad in marketing ourselves and show that we are attractive even after 50. We need to market our competence better and let the employers know that we have more to offer than someone directly to school. Then of course telling about the benefits with life experience, that we are educated and have no toddlers. Furthermore diversity at the workplace is good for all and that goes even for age. All this is important to lift already at the job application.

The attitude in society needs to change, we need more equality between the genders and we also must considering that we live longer and therefore work longer. Thus we have many years left at the labor market. There must be a change in attitude in general and we are the ones that need to make it.

I know that only a few years ago, you began travel regularly. Your children are adults since long and you got your freedom to plan for just yourself. Do you ever miss the time when they were small, or is it all about enjoying the new phase of life now?

I am happy that I have been part of my children's childhood. I still live at the same place where they grew up and the latest years I have witness the alternation of generations. It is fun with all children again and I am grateful that I have done that too. Life has different phases and I am happy being where I am now. My kids find it great that I have started to travel and think more about myself. It feels good to have done the part in life that includes bringing up children and I am happy that I have them, but I do enjoy the freedom now when I am older and can plan only for myself. Now I can focus on my own need, after satisfying others. Typical mom's I guess.

As I was a single mom for many years, it was difficult to travel both financially and practically. Also it costs a lot to travel alone and not as a couple. I go with friends and we do prefer our own rooms, so when I had kids at home and that cost, it was difficult to get away. Even if I have no small children any longer, traveling is very good for recovery and one needs that more now at this age. The energy does not last as long as when I was younger, that is very clear. Going somewhere else helps to let go of work and that kind of thoughts and gives distance to that and everyday life. We all need a break now and then and especially when living in Scandinavia with the long winters. To have some Mediterranean heat to think about when the cold and darkness comes is wonderful.

However, I have to mention my boat also. Boat life with all that comes with it, like friends at the club including social life and parties, and other friends that comes over for dining and bathing is real life quality. The season may not be so long in Sweden, but it sure is lovely. The water in Stockholm is clean enough to swim in so one can jump in to the water even downtown.

What is the best and worse being 50 plus?

The best is all knowledge and to know that finally things always works out. The disadvantage is that one cannot cheat with food, sleep and exercise any longer.