Secrets of the Job Hunt


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Standing outside waiting for a job

Stories like this always intrigue me. For this guy, he went back to the job search method that worked the last time...standing on the corner with a sign. Now he's trying it again after getting laid off at age 65. Hmmm, nowhere does it mention he is networking or using the internet to search for jobs. Older job seekers seem to tie themselves too much to the old way of looking for work.

Job hunting at highway speeds
By Brock Parker/ Daily News Staff
Friday, September 15, 2006

WALPOLE -- Its not easy to miss Richard Wilcox's resume.

For the past 10 weeks, Wilcox, 65, has been dressing in a suit and driving to the Walpole Mall at 7 a.m. to hold up a giant cardboard sign asking for work and touting his experience to the cars zooming down Rte. 1 during rush hour.

"It is a little embarrassing to have to stand out with a sign that you don't have a job," said Wilcox has been out of work for a year after working for more than 30 years in insurance and management. "But I look at it like I'm personalizing my product. I can't afford a TV ad. I'm the spokesman for me."

"I'm waiting for Bob Kraft or Ernie Boch Jr., to stop by, but I haven't seen them," said Wilcox, who lives in Easton. The Walpole Mall is just blocks away from Gillette Stadium, the home of Kraft's football team, the New England Patriots. The mall is also near the "Auto Mile," made famous by the late Ernie Boch's car dealerships on Rte. 1.

But standing beside a street holding his giant, abridged resume is nothing new for Wilcox.

More than four years ago Wilcox was laid off from a middle-management job from Boston Mutual Life Insurance after 14 years with the company. A year of job hunting was fruitless, so Wilcox said he drew up a sign on a large piece of cardboard asking for a job, detailing is insurance and management background and listing his home phone number.

Wilcox would take the sign to Rte. 138 in Canton and hold it up for passing motorists to see. Pretty soon the gimmick caught the eye of The Wall Street Journal, which wrote a front page story about the difficulties for older workers who are trying to find employment. In the 10 days after the story ran, Wilcox said he received 700 phone calls from everyone including potential employers to other older out-of-work people who sympathized with his plight.

The good news for Wilcox is one the phone calls turned into a well-paying job. The bad news is the Chicago-based company, which Wilcox declined to name, was having financial problems. Last September, after three years on the job, Wilcox was again laid off during a string of layoffs at the Chicago-based company.

Wilcox said since last September he has been sending out resumes and watching the want ads in the newspaper.

"I wasn't getting anywhere, and I thought I'd trot out the old sign again," Wilcox said.

But with construction under way on Rte. 138 in Canton, Wilcox decided to relocate his unorthodox job hunt to Walpole.

So far, Wilcox said a few people have stopped their cars to offer him a tip on job openings. But Wilcox said he's still looking for an interview.

If he can't find a job in middle or upper management soon, Wilcox said he might have do something else so he can pay his bills. He said he needs to work another six or seven years before he will have enough money to retire because in the time he's been out of work he's spent his savings.

"I've had good jobs in the past, middle-management and upper-management jobs," Wilcox said. "If my money runs out, I'll be driving a truck."

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