older job seekerLast week, Caitlin Kelly wrote a piece for The New York Times in which she recounts the stories of four over-50 U.S. workers who recently found new jobs following lay-offs and prolonged periods of unemployment (“Over 50, and Under No Illusions“).

Caitlin introduces us first to Clare Novak, an “adventurer,” who at age 58 relocated to Islamabad, Pakistan, uprooting herself for a job in a field that is similar to the one she occupied at home in Chester Springs, PA (she switched from management training to HR consulting). Because of Pakistan’s male-dominated culture and for security reasons, Ms. Novak now lives in a rooming house and only goes out during the day.

While I applaud Ms. Novak for doing what she apparently needed to do in order to get work, describing her as an “adventurer” portends an overly optimistic interpretation of her plight. Ms. Novak was out of work for four years before taking this dramatic step. I don’t know her personally and I do not know the details of her story, but my inclination is to describe her as a “survivor”—not an “adventurer”.

Whether you’re under or over 50…unemployed or working…I suggest you read Caitlin Kelly’s article. And when you do, focus on the final few paragraphs where you’ll meet Kenneth Jay Cohen, a professional networker, who always keeps his 1,000+ LinkedIn contacts close-at-hand by feeding them leads and providing them with support even when he is gainfully employed and not in need of help himself.

Hats off to Mr. Cohen, the “networker”. As a result of his proactive, “help-the-other-guy-first” approach, his next trip to Islamabad will likely be a business assignment.