Be a champ survivor.
Q: My dad is 61 and terrified that he's going to lose his job to a younger person. I want to help, but don't know what to say to him. -- T.D.
A: Help dad find a solid career counselor who's been around the track a few years and can reinforce the attitude your dad must embed in his consciousness: "I'm a champ survivor.''
In the meantime, here are several often advised actions for midlife workers who fear for their continued employment in the jobs they now hold:
WISDOM IN BIFOCAL YEARS
Volunteer for assignments with a smile on your face.
Pursue new training in technology, especially if you're holding a tech job.
Degrees you earned decades ago without updates need refreshing.
Even if you're in a non-tech position, it's time to stop joking about your tech-illiteracy and how you have to be dragged into learning what this sentence means: "Why don't I Meerkat the company picnic?'' Hint: Meerkat's a new app, not an animal.
Be willing to change your outlook, showing that you can be as adaptable as a 30-year-old. You thrive on smart ways to earn more income or save costs for the company; you're an enthusiastic team player.
Changes will happen, with you or without you.
WHEN PLANS GO AWRY
Sometimes nothing you do as a midlife employee allows you to stay hitched to the same company where you've worked for years. What now?
Imagine your career as a lily pad. Jumping from one lily pad to another is easier when you leap to a kindred pad in the same pond, industry or occupation.
Why? You'll be more believable in claiming transferable skills in an industry- or occupational-centric world.
Employers are more comfortable hiring people who've "been there and done that'' successfully. Their risk is lower.
When and if push comes to shove, above all else, remember that you are a champ survivor.
Q: I've always thought that a company is legally obligated to pay overtime to non-management employees, but apparently that's not what my employer thinks, offering some mumbo-jumbo about overtime not being required for my type of sales work. Right? Wrong? -- M.J.
A: Although the Fair Labor Standards Act requires employers to pay overtime premiums to non-exempt employees, some companies jump through hoops to avoid doing so. Details are long and complex.
1. Read "Can Just Cashing a Paycheck Waive an Employee's FLSA Overtime Claim?'' by attorney Eric B. Meyer.
The blog's author is a partner in the Labor and Employment Group of Philadelphia-based law firm Dilworth Paxson LLP.
2. At present, the threshold in effect since 1975 at which salaried workers cease to be automatically eligible for overtime is $455 a week.
Grab details in "Overtime Pay for Overworked People'' at The New York Times.
Q: In a recent interview, I was asked if I know anyone who works for that firm. I did, so I named the person.
Apparently I didn't score, because the interviewer stopped smiling, looked away and quickly closed the interview. That was the last I heard about the job. What do you think went wrong? -- J.T.
A: Who knows? But the friend question is a two-way street. Nothing beats having a friend refer you or deliver your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager, but that transaction presumes the friend is well thought of in the company.
If not, ouch!
Unsolicited name dropping during an interview is a related coup or disaster, depending on how you handle it.
Merely volunteering out of the blue that you have an important connection in the company probably won't end well for you. Scout "Be careful about dropping names during job interviews'' by Jeffrey Kudisch at The Washington Post.
Remember the birds-of-a-feather rule: Mention a friend or contact inside the company where you're interviewing only when you're certain of the person's positive standing and the mention is a conversational fit.