Dear Annie

Old dog learns brand new trick

Annie Lane, syndicated columnist

Dear Annie: I’m an old guy with some advice for other older people in the workforce.

I’ve been a contract attorney working in health care for over 30 years. When I got let go from my company three years ago after 15 years, I’m telling you, finding another job was the hardest job I’ve ever had. It made the real jerks I had dealt with and stress that had put me on blood pressure meds look easy to handle.

The problem wasn’t my expertise or seniority (or maybe it was; companies want young guys who work double the time for half the pay). It was that I had ignored or avoided networking my whole career. I didn’t have work buddies. No LinkedIn page. If I had to go to conferences, I’d only be there for the minimum time. Maintaining relationships seemed awkward and unimportant until I had no paycheck coming in and didn’t know whom to call for help.

I spent a couple of months in career coaching and found a bunch of colleagues on LinkedIn. (They were surprised to see me!) My granddaughter (in her 20s) even looked over my resume. I finally got hired after nine months. It was a humbling experience, to say the least. Now I spend one hour a week being active on LinkedIn, and I’ve helped three former associates find jobs. It’s nice to pay it forward.

So to all the other old folks out there, take it from me. Just make the effort. You never know where it could lead you or how important it could be. — Not-So-Social Social Networker

Dear Not-So-Social: Congratulations on the new job. I applaud your perseverance. Social networking has always been an important part of job hunting; it’s just that now a lot of it takes place over digital networks. I’d also encourage any job seekers who have been resistant to using social media to give it a try.

Dear Annie: I have a different tactic for “Quiet for Now,” who is being sexually harassed by her husband’s friend. The next time he makes his moves, she should say loudly enough to be noticed, “Please leave me alone. I’m tired of having to push you away, and I am not interested.” Creeps like to get what they can in secret, and shining a light on the behavior will probably embarrass him enough that he’ll think twice before approaching another woman like that, and if his wife and the others hear, well, that’s probably a good thing.

This does not address telling her husband, and of course, she should if not telling him is building a wall between them. However, if her husband were to confront this loser, he’d say it was an accident or he must have had too many drinks or something like that, covering it with an apology. (Experience talking here.) Confrontation at the moment will be much harder for him to lie his way out of.

I teach my daughters that if a boy or man is harassing them, they should tell him loudly and publicly to back off. It’s not usually our nature to do that, but it should be. — Been There, Too

Dear Been There, Too: I’m printing your letter because you make a fantastic point. Thank you for writing.

Editor’s note: “Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.