Professional Experience = Obstacle to Employment

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by teflon97239, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. teflon97239

    Portland, OR
    Well-Known Member

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    While I’m blessed to be steadily employed and hoping to retire in 5 years (and 34 days), my friend for decades is in a situation that I wish I could help him resolve.

    He’s a professional photographer with a family business and a beautiful home studio, indoors and out. Sadly, his livelihood has all but disappeared into thin air since the millennium. Everybody seems to have high-megapixel digital cameras, scanners, printers, software and glossy photo paper. So who needs him?

    It’s simply easier to do things ourselves. Most people I know can take decent photos and portraits, print and frame their own stuff, and make Mom a couple hundred Christmas cards every year – all in the comfort of Ft. Livinroom. So with the exception of posters, coffee mugs and calendars (each about $15 at Walgreen’s), we can do it all ourselves!

    There are businesses that still hire photographers, and I’ve helped him hone customized resumes that get him interviews. But time and time again, he gets passed over in the selection process. He’s youthful for a guy in his 50’s, but they always go with someone barely old enough to buy beer. Kids with a couple classes at PCC under their belts, instead of the guy who can do it all: photography, video, digital and old school image corrections, printing in all sizes and mediums, lighting, set design and construction, client rapport, web pages, travel in an ice storm and get the prize-winning shot – you name it.

    In a nutshell, he personifies that cliché term we hear… “Overqualified.” But it’s not the obvious money thing. He has no pretense of earning what he used to. In exchange for a steady gig he can count on with skimpy benefits after awhile, he’s willing to bust his hump for entry level pay like any youngster might (or might not – some folks’ workplace expectations are a bit screwy compared to when I grew up).

    I offer tips and leads when I have some, but I'm only one guy. Anyone else here have some ideas to share that might help put him on an even playing field with his younger competition? Perhaps broader/generic ideas that would help people in any trade get back to work after age 50!

    Thanks in advance.
  2. lowly monk

    lowly monk
    Beaverton, Oregon.
    Just a guy.

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    I love this forum style, "Think tank approach" Hmm, Somekind of development for the skills to be needed and marketable. Perhaps in the medical or security fields, Of course where the money is.

    East Portland
    Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    The key for us more seasoned workers is to think outside of the box. In what way can he take his skill and experience and employ them in a different way? Something like technical photograpy, art photography, medical? Are there niche markets he can specialize in such as newborn baby photography, pets, environmental, or funeral related?

    Good luck to your friend!
  4. drew

    Well-Known Member

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    I'd call it crowdsourcing.

    So does he have any idea why he's getting passed up after interviewing? There's tons of reasons. Some have to do with skill some don't. I've interviewed for things where there was a huge gap in philosophy and personality.

    I'm assuming he has a nice portfolio to even get interviews being in a creative industry. If not, he needs one.
  5. LiaB

    Vancouver, WA

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    Pick industries that are recession proof: (firearms, military and "adult entertainment" come to mind), beat other's prices, keep up with trends and skills, be on social media and push the envelope every once in awhile.

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