Laid Off? Many Boomers Are Headed Into Forced Retirement
By Robin Ryan Posted 11-11-2020

“I’ve been a chiropractor my whole working life. At 63, I’m unlikely to get another job. Being laid off now is really the end of my career,” said Thomas as he looked at the layoff letter. “I’m shocked and surprised. It feels terrible, and it’s a major loss to be forced out of doing something you love. I’ve helped over 20,000 people during my long career. It feels like such a tragedy and loss to the public too. I kept many people from a lifetime of pain and disability,” this chiropractor stated. 

He went ahead, and for the first time in his life, Thomas applied for unemployment. “I was grateful for the government buffer that sounded like if you are let go because of the coronavirus, you would automatically get unemployment. That proved to be a false assumption. Due to the way my State calculates eligibility, I was denied unemployment benefits. I was working for a small employer, so there wasn’t any severance package. Just a ‘you’re done,’” he said.

“It’s hard since I have all these years of experience, and now I’ll be sitting on the sidelines. Being a chiropractor has been my life. I’m happier and healthier working. I know things have to come to an end, but this isn’t the way to do it. No one wants to find themselves unemployed. It was not a gracious or gradual departure. It’s abrupt, and regardless of what the government is saying, there sure isn’t any safety net for me. I have no retirement plan and now need to figure out what I should do with myself and my days,” he said. “Somebody who has worked over 60 hours a week for 38 years just can’t stop overnight.”

Many Baby Boomers who are losing their jobs now realize this is likely the end of their working career. Catherine was a 65-year-old Manager at a small college. They offered a retirement severance that her boss encouraged her to take. “I’m working from home right now. It’s so sad to be leaving my job without being able to say goodbye to people I’ve worked with for twenty years. It’s a big loss as these people mean so much to me. So does this job,” said Catherine. “I’m scared about how the stock market has hurt my 401(k). The money is way down, and I need that money to live off of now that I won’t have a job. The thought scares me. I worry I’ll run out of money.”  

Boeing will offer its employees early retirement, CNBC reported. As of January 1, Boeing had over 160,000 employees worldwide. With so many industries devastated by the coronavirus, Boeing is one of many companies that likely will follow this path of laying off Baby Boomers. 

Having to leave under these harsh circumstances and knowing the country will face an economic recession coming out of this, Baby Boomers will likely find it hard to gain re-employment. Here are a few strategies if you find yourself suddenly laid off and retired. 

Heal from this Loss

Losing your job is a major life upheaval. Take the time to grieve over this loss. Try talking to your spouse or trusted friend. Ask them to support you and allow you to talk about your feelings. If you’re not someone who easily opens up, write down how you feel. Express your feelings of shock, denial, and anger until you get to the moment of acceptance. It won’t happen in a day or two. Be easy on yourself as you adjust to this new life. 

Check with a Financial Planner

As the Stock Market reacts to the coronavirus and the shutting down of businesses, try to look at the long-term picture. After other major crashes, CNBC reported,  the markets did come back, but it took time. Talk to your financial planner. They can reassure you that this economic downturn is likely going to rebound somewhat when Americans return to work. You might want to create a budget and lower your expenses. Above all, don’t panic. Get financial counseling, so you know what you need to do once the coronavirus situation is over. 

Make two plans

You now have your days to fill. Make a short-term plan on how to handle the day if you have a stay-at-home order. Until the virus is over, your likely to have limited options. For example, do you like to learn? Make sure you get a library card. You can take courses for free at You can get free eBooks and audio programs from the library. You can learn to cook watching the cooking channels on TV or check out recipes on YouTube. Dream of being a writer? Now is the perfect time to write a novel or screenplay. Also, create a long-term plan on the things that you will do once you’re able to get your freedom back. List out all the activities that you would like to participate in. Check for those activities in your area. Maybe you want to take ballroom dancing. That’s a great way to meet new people and enjoy yourself. Perhaps you’d like to learn a musical instrument and play in a band. Many people are learning to play an instrument by watching YouTube videos. Dream about better days to come. Think about your travel plans for a future date. Draw up a bucket list of activities you want to do in the next 2-3 years. Make “having fun” be your priority. 

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 © 2020 Robin Ryan all rights reserved.

Robin Ryan is America's leading career authority. She's appeared on 2000 TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr Phil, Cnn, ABC News and NPR. Robin has a career counseling practice working with works with individual clients across the US helping them land better jobs.Robin Ryan is the bestselling author of 60 Seconds & You're Hired!Winning Resumes; Retirement Reinvention; Winning Cover LettersSoaring On Your StrengthsWhat to Do with the Rest of Your Lifeand Over 40 & You're Hired. For more career help visit:

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