I decided to attend New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s town hall meeting here in Cedar Grove on June 19.
In case I had the opportunity to ask him a question, I gave a little thought beforehand to what I’d like to ask. I don’t know why (rolling my eyes), but my thoughts kept centering around the unemployment situation in our state and in our country.
Although I raised my hand every chance I got – as did many other people – I wasn’t lucky enough to be one of the ones called on at the meeting at Cedar Grove High School.
Since I didn’t get the opportunity to express my thoughts directly to him earlier this week, I thought I’d write about what I wanted to ask him here. (No doubt he reads this blog!)
What I wanted to ask the governor was a favor. I was going to ask him if he could, in his travels around the state and around the country, remind employers not to overlook Baby Boomer job applicants.
Baby Boomers have been hit by a triple whammy, I would have said if I’d had the chance. First, much of our lifetime savings were wiped out in 2008 when the market crashed. That was money we’d saved for years and had been counting on for our retirements someday.
Second, when wave after wave after wave of layoffs began to hit, so many of us were caught up in those waves and our jobs were wiped out.
Third, as hard as we’ve tried to find new jobs, we’re discovering that many employers seem reluctant to hire us. Too many of us have become the long-term unemployed, while ironically, we have less time than younger people to recoup at least some of what we lost. We suspect that our age works against us in the fierce competition for the inadequate number of jobs that are available.
All in all, we believe we’ve been hurt disproportionately by the prolonged economic downturn, I wanted to say to Christie. So please put in a plug for your fellow Baby Boomers (Christie will turn 50 in September), people who’ve been hit extra hard by multiple factors outside of our control. We are workers with exceptional skills, experience, maturity and motivation; we deserve consideration! If you could work this in when you talk about the economy, Gov. Christie, maybe more employers would decide to hire us. We would really appreciate it.
That’s what I wanted to say to Gov. Christie. I wonder what he would have said?