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Unemployed and looking for work at 60 years old

It was neither expected, convenient nor pleasant when Jette Frøkjær was dismissed in the later part of her working life. But with courage and help from her network, the situation had a positive outcome

Jette Frøkjær thought she still had many good years of work ahead of her and was far from finished with the financial sector. But in October 2020, as a 60-year-old customer service employee, she was dismissed from her job. The reason was “organisational changes”. So after 44 years of working uninterrupted at five different workplaces in the financial sector, Jette Frøkjær became unemployed for the first time ever at the end of her notice period.

“I had already started looking for jobs during the notice period. At one point I had received more than 40 rejections for jobs, all of which I was fully qualified for. It was only my age that tripped me up”, she said and added that employers never directly said that it was age:

“But when I called a company and inquired about a vacancy and stated my age, I could feel the interest very quickly disappearing at the other end. I was brushed aside and it was just a matter of ending the conversation with me as soon as possible. Sometimes it lasted less than a minute. It was very discouraging.”

An unexpected call became the turning point

Jette Frøkjær also spent a lot of time filling out applications, and it happened several times that she didn’t even receive a rejection. She then realised that she had to get a hold of her network and approached her former boss, who now worked at Middelfart Sparekasse. After three weeks, the phone suddenly rang. It was Michael Hedemann from the bank’s HR department, who wanted her for an interview on 12 August.

“It was an absolutely fantastic conversation, relaxed, calm and polite. I got to know a lot about the savings bank and not once was asked about my age. It was quite strange after all the other experiences, and I was almost floating when I left.”

After an hour and a half, they called back from Middelfart Sparekasse. She had been given a full-time position and was to start on 1 September. The joy was almost indescribable, and today Jette Frøkjær works in phone service and helps customers:

“Here I can draw on my many years of experience, because here we take pride in helping our customers all the way. And most of the time we succeed, so we don’t have to send the customer on to an advisor. Our strength is also that we have experience and a dedication to service that lies deep within us from the time when the most important thing was for customers to feel welcome.”

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