Boomers Take a Step Back Down the Career Ladder

Desperately in search of jobs, many laid-off workers lower their standards and accept entry-level jobs.

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[See these internships for elders.]

Pick a new field. If you can't find a job similar to your previous position, a layoff is the perfect excuse to test out a new career field. Tap into your extensive network of friends and acquaintances to inquire about openings in other fields. "Older people often have an advantage in terms of having a much broader and more extensive network," says Musbach. Also consider going back to school or retraining for a new field. Charlotte Sanders, 59, of Murfreesboro, Tenn., was a senior credit representativefor an energy company until she was laid off in 2001. After years of searching for a job with the same level of pay and seniority, Sanders studied for and took the state exam for a license to sell insurance. This week, Sanders begins a new job selling life, health, and accident insurance.