Got Hope? Current and Future Job Prospects for 50-Plus Workers with Kathy Lansford #126


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After several years of different career paths, Kathy unexpectedly fell into something she loves to do — helping people find jobs. Kathy is an award-winning trainer, skilled in the design and presentation of seminars and workshops that have helped thousands of job seekers secure excellent career opportunities. She is the creator and facilitator of Launch Pad Job Club, Austin’s largest nonprofit networking and support group for job seekers, through which members are informed, motivated, and entertained through the job search process.

Key Takeaways:

[1:44] Marc welcomes you to Episode 126 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. brings you this podcast; it is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life and our careers. Take a moment to check out the blog and the other resources delivered to you, free of charge.

[2:12] If you are enjoying this podcast, please share it with other like-minded souls. Subscribe on, iTunes, or any of the other apps that supply podcasts. Share it on social media or just tell your neighbors, and colleagues, to help more people. Thank you for helping expand the reach of this podcast!

[2:37] Marc is recording this introduction on April 30. There were over 8,000 downloads of the Repurpose Your Career podcast in April. That is triple the number of downloads from April 2018. Thank you!

[2:54] Next week, Marc will interview Andrew Scott, co-author of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity. What will you do with all that extra time?

[3:08] This week, Marc is speaking with Kathy Lansford, the founder of Launch Pad Job Club, the first and one of the largest job clubs in Texas, founded in 2001. They are discussing current and future job prospects for 50+ workers.

[3:27] Marc shares Kathy’s bio and welcomes her to Repurpose Your Career.

[4:32] Kathy was a job search skills trainer for many years at the Workforce Solutions office. After a break, she went to Austin Community College at the tail end of an AARP grant to help people over 50 find jobs. After the grant ended, ACC took over the project, expanding the services to the general ACC population, as well.

[5:29] Marc met Kathy in 2006 after leaving his teaching job, when he got involved in Launch Pad Job Club. Later that year, Marc joined the board. Kathy is an expert on job search for people over 50. Marc introduces the topic of today’s episode: “Got Hope? Current and Future Job Prospects for 50+ Workers.”

[6:17] Kathy describes negative job trends for those over 50. Ageism is rampant, especially in a youth-oriented city like Austin, where Kathy lives. The skill sets of older workers are not wanted. Age discrimination is illegal but age questions are often asked.

[9:03] Kathy attends a group where people share their frustration at having their age used against them in the job search process before they can present their skills.

[9:37] Ten years ago, the Supreme Court made a decision that makes it harder to prove age discrimination than for other forms of discrimination.

[10:15] In the dotcom crash in 2001, in Austin, the first big layoff was at Dell. The laid-off workers had to sign waivers they would not sue for being laid off to get a severance package.

[13:27] If a company lays off evenly across all age groups, and then hires back only younger workers, that is the basis of a lawsuit.

[13:40] Recently a discrimination suit was settled against Facebook for only showing job postings to young people. Facebook ads allow a variety of targeting. Sellers can provide an email list and ask Facebook to find people who “look like these people.”

[15:29] A Bloomberg podcast recently stated that for some platforms, like Facebook, a $3 billion fine is inconsequential. They will keep doing what they do.

[15:59] Application tracking systems can screen for years of experience to target age ranges. The older job seeker never knows that their resume is never seen.

[16:54] “Conversant in digital speak” and “digital native” are codes for “young.”

[17:41] Kathy points out areas of hope. Lots of big companies are finding that they have gone too far to the young end of the spectrum. Kathy heard from her son in the semiconductor industry that young people don’t want to spend the time to be trained in processes. They quit after 12 to 18 months and move on to the next gig.

[20:31] AARP is an advocate for older workers. Kathy talks about their five-year grant, open to anyone over 50 and their one-year WESI grant open to women over 50. Women over 50 make up the largest-growing poverty group in the country. The AARP Austin five-year grant was successful in getting a lot of people to work.

[22:49] People over 50 stay unemployed longer. Kathy cites a statistic that job seekers 55 to 64 are out of work 34 weeks, on average. Job hunters 20 to 24 are out of work 15 weeks, on average.

[23:46] Marc had Carol Fishman Cohen on the podcast from iRelaunch some months ago. Kathy talks about the iRelaunch program, aimed largely at caregivers re-joining the technological workforce. GM has had several of these initiatives in conjunction with the American Society of Women Engineers and they hired many of the participants.

[25:32] Because the economy is so strong, with such low unemployment, companies are looking for talent anywhere; they are even willing to look in the “gray-haired world.”

[25:57] Kathy remembers a program from years ago with Eli Lilly and another pharmaceutical firm who created a pool of their retirees to call in for specific big projects at a good salary on a temporary basis.

[27:05] Companies with a strong diversity program are adding older workers to their diversity list.

[27:55] Marc will have Tami Forman of Path Forward on the Repurpose Your Career podcast in about a month to talk about helping companies create re-entry programs for professionals.

[28:29] Kathy mentions the Candice Bergen of the Murphy Brown show coming back as a relaunched career. Isabella Rosellini was long the face of Lancôme until they no longer needed her services due to age. In her 60s, they hired her again to represent older women who want to be beautiful.

[29:40] One of Kathy’s clients’ ex-husband has a Ph.D. in optical engineering. After working in startups for years, he taught high school math and physics for 15 years. At age 66, he has just started up with defense contractor BAE Systems who appreciates his expertise and experience.

[30:47] People have to be tenacious to get a good job in tech. One of Kathy’s clients with a Masters’ degree used Jobscan for LinkedIn. Jobscan scores your resume by the keywords in a job posting. They suggest having a keyword score of at least 80% before submitting a resume. The premium version of Jobscan also scans your LinkedIn profile.

[33:17] Kathy’s client made the changes to his LinkedIn profile suggested by Jobscan. He had the premium version of LinkedIn so he could track traffic. Very quickly, the traffic to his profile increased by 300%. A recruiter who visited his profile helped him get a senior-level position with the city of Austin. He is close to 60 and in a wheelchair.

[34:21] Public sector jobs tend not to discriminate by age. They look at your skills, background, and what you have to offer.

[34:49] Kathy shares a case study of a woman unemployed for a year. Kathy helped her with the state application and mock interview through the Back to Work 50+ program.

[35:47] Kathy’s client was turned down for different state positions until she networked with two friends who were at NXP (formerly Freescale and Motorola). Her friends got her connected there. She ended up with a $63K career job at NXP.

[37:23] Tenacity is incredibly important. Older people tend to be tenacious. Pro Publica had an article that half of us over 50 will be forced into retirement, not by choice.

[38:49] Austin now has some of the lowest mobility rates in the last 50 years. People don’t want to move. People are willing to work for less to stay. Some people are tethered by conditions; where they want to live, base salary, or base position wanted.

[40:48] Consider taking a step down the career ladder, or changing industries. Could you get a job if you loosened your requirements? Kathy shares case studies of people who expanded the scope of their search. Be open-minded and flexible.

[43:53] Marc gives a case study of a woman who drove for Lyft and got multiple contract gigs from passengers. Getting out and meeting people got her out of her funk.

[44:55] Volunteering is another way to feel fulfilled by sharing skills you have that others need and value. Sometimes a non-profit will hire people from among their volunteers who are mission-driven.

[46:07] Marc tells of his image consultant, Jean, who has launched a Fulfillment by Amazon business for a pierced earring back for women with sagging earlobes. She sources them in China and sells them on Amazon.

[47:04] There are all types of things you can do to make money these days.

[47:15] Kathy’s closing thoughts: everybody who wants to go to work, goes to work, whether at a job with benefits or a gig. The only people who don’t get a job are people who quit looking and quit believing in themselves. Reach out. Surround yourself with people who are energetic, positive, supportive, and excited. Help each other succeed!

[48:23] Marc thanks Kathy and hopes you enjoyed this episode. Marc has known Kathy for over a decade. Her dedication to helping older workers find jobs is remarkable. Marc wants you to remember the word ‘tenacity.’

[48:47] The Career Pivot Community website has become a valuable resource for more than 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project. Marc is recruiting new members for the next cohort.

[48:59] If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to When you sign up you’ll receive information about the community as it evolves.

[49:14] Those who are in these initial cohorts set the direction of this endeavor. Right now they are forming a writers’ guild. This is a paid membership community with group coaching and special content. More importantly, it’s a community where you can seek help. Go to to learn more.

[49:43] Marc invites you to connect with him on Just include in the connection request that you heard Marc on this podcast. You can look for Career Pivot on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @CareerPivot on Twitter.

[50:09] Please come back next week, when Marc will speak with Andrew Scott, co-author of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity, on what you are going to do with all that extra time in your life.

[50:21] Marc thanks you for listening to the Repurpose Your Career podcast.

[50:25] You will find the show notes for this episode at

[50:34] Please hop over to and subscribe to get updates on this podcast and all the other happenings at Career Pivot. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, the Google Podcasts app, Podbean, the Overcast app, or the Spotify app.

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