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Of course you can get a new job when you are over 50!

Torben Juel Guldhammer lost his exciting job at Nordea Finans, but has landed a new one. He has found a method that can be used by people with work experience in job interviews and is happy to share it

13. Jun 2023
6 min
English / Dansk

“I am on the wrong side of 50 years. It will not be easy to get a new job …”

That thought can easily become self-affirming if, as an experienced employee, you lose your job - and there are often many in your environment who are willing to sing along to that song.

Torben Juel Guldhammer did not want to accept the thinking when he lost his job at Nordea Finans. It was his workplace for over 23 years, and he had several exciting and challenging jobs, most recently with the title of Retail Finance and partnering expert.

The job function disappeared due to changes in the business strategy. He explains that he put together a good severance package in collaboration with the manager and HR partner.

Torben Juel Guldhammer had an action box ready in his drawer, enabling him to act quickly in case he one day would was fired. It helped him to move on quickly.


“Of course I was very shaken. But I quickly calmed down, because I had a plan B. I think you should have that in a reality where everyone can get hit. Today, in general, the jubilee is celebrated less in labor markets; on the contrary, the labor market is moving more and more in the direction of freelancing and shorter employments.”

Action box in readiness

Torben Juel Guldhammer had noted this development for a long time. Although he did not see it coming that he would lose his job, he had therefore made an agreement with five people in his network. People whom he considered especially valuable to reach out to and turn new opportunities with, if the arrow one day should point in his direction.

"I had an action box in the drawer. I had seen quite a few others lose their jobs and continuously discussed it and got advice on what to do in that situation.”

That's why he didn't spend much time getting on top after the jawbreaker:

"My union representative advised me to go home and take some time to think it over. But when you are over 50, all the data says that it takes a little longer to get a job - and thus you run the risk of more easily getting over the financial back-end that lies in the severance package."

So Torben Juel Guldhammer quickly went into action mode.

"The five people I had agreements with were really good to spar with and get feedback from. My need was initially to talk something away from my inner self. It was critical for me to lose a job I loved so much - it is essential for me to have a job.”

Consultant work immediately

The meetings with the five also resulted in two of them offering him work:

“It gave me about 30 hours a week and kept my engine running. It also subsequently meant that it was easier to get a job because I kept my skills warm and showed initiative in a difficult situation.”

The work he had done to keep his network ready proved to be of great value:

"They could both give me a hand on the back and a kick in the bum. It helped and lifted me up to convince myself and others of all that I have to offer: Someone who comes with a lot of experience, a lot of energy and is still hungry for work.”

He also praises Finansforbundet in Nordea's union advisor, Charlotte Hansen, for tireless support and encouragement:

"I have written a lot with her. I thought she must be getting tired of me, but she answered me everything and found answers to what she didn't know. On top of that, with high spirits. A really strong support.”

In fact, he only had to write one formal job application before he was in a job again – because, as often described before, the majority of jobs are filled via networks, and there were many in Torben Juel Guldhammer’s who were prepared to inspire and support in the process.

Charlotte Hansen from Finansforbundet in Nordea's counselling team helped with 'tireless support and encouragement' when Torben Juel Guldhammer was laid off.


Here in June, he started as Client Director at Experian with sales and consultancy covering credit rating - in connection with Noitso being integrated with Experian.

Value of formula

Before that, however, he had a single interview at a medium-sized bank, and here he found out how he could deal with age discrimination. When the HR partner, present at the interview, questioningly stated that he had not mentioned his age in the application, he remained silent instead of answering.

"There was a slightly awkward silence, until the executive director, who was there as well, stated that age was probably not that important either," says Torben Juel Guldhammer.

He then took the floor and asked the hiring team to tell him where they saw him in terms of energy in relation to what the job required.

They told him he had more than enough energy.

And where did they see his experience compared to what the job required? His experience was also fully sufficient.

“I put my own value on formula. My experience and qualifications, my hunger for the job - and the many good years I expect to have left on the labor market," he says and elaborates:

"The formula can be expressed via the sum of competencies, the value of the employee's energy, drive and cooperation - and finally whether the employee is expected to be able to deliver this in the expected number of years".

A better offer

If you use the formula, 50-year-olds and older will largely have very high value for the company, and be a better alternative than the younger employee, he assesses.

Torben Juel Guldhammer didn't get the job because no agreement could be reached on the terms, but he got something important out of it:

"I think I succeeded in breaking the stigma of applicants over 50."

Subsequently, he has shared his experience with others over 50 who have lost their jobs, coached them and told them about his experience of putting their own value on formula. They have all got jobs.

And it's not just if you lose your job involuntarily, it's worth keeping the formula in the back of your mind, he believes:

"It's such a shame that so many people go around in jobs they are bored with. That they don't dare to embark on the journey towards something that gives them substance. It is also a shame for the companies that the potential of the gray gold is not redeemed".

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