Perhaps they've been with the same company for the majority of their career, or the positions that they've had were because someone called them, they interviewed, shook hands and started the following Monday.
Part of the frustration now is not only the blow to their self-esteem and the challenge of being unemployed, but also the financial realities of it. It's also learning how to job search.
It's always harder to learn something brand new when it's not the way things were done in the past.
The online application process, for example, can be daunting. Many times, when I tell someone who's in his 40s or 50s that you have to create a profile on LinkedIn, it's overwhelming to them.
In this particular economy, it's not just about being the most qualified applicant for a position, it's also being the best job seeker. For many people, that's just a foreign concept because it never worked that way before, and it's hard to wrap their head around why it works that way now.
Younger people are a lot more comfortable with social media, and they get that people find jobs on Facebook, through Twitter and through LinkedIn.
What do you say to those who look to you for advice on choosing a career path? Is it more important to choose a lucrative profession or one that is more personally satisfying?
I think both are important. It's very hard to live in this country if you don't make enough money based on our standard of living. While we all might want to do what we love and not pay any attention to money, that's not realistic.
Money is a huge reason why people work, and there's no shame in choosing opportunities based in part on financial compensation. That's just a reality of our society and our workplace.
That said, to choose something solely based on money probably is not going to leave you very fulfilled or happy most days.
Being happy about the type of work that you do, the environment in which you do it and the cause that you are working toward each day are not to be underestimated. That plays a really important role.
If you're unsure about what you want to do, think about things that are your own personal interests and what's available where you live.
Pay attention to the hot trends where you live and what local industries are thriving. Pay attention to business news, read it and absorb it, because sometimes that opens up your mind to something that perhaps you haven't thought of before.
Every one of us is in our jobs temporarily. At some point, by choice or by force, we're all going to move on from the jobs that we hold today.