Unemployed 50-something pre-press tech wondering if its time to switch gears.

cheesecorn

New member
Hi-
I am in my late 50s with 30 years of pre-press experience in a newspaper environment. I was laid off last March and I've been interviewing for pre-press work in other printing environments with no success. From an employer's point of view, would you say because of my age, I am unlikely to be a desirable candidate? I love pre-press, but I'm wondering if, at this stage of the game, I'm just spinning my wheels and wasting my time?

I REALLY would appreciate any advice!

Thanks
 

Cornishpastythighs

Well-known member
Is it your age or your type of experience that's holding you back from getting a job. I am assuming you are interviewing for jobs which are not in the newspaper field, Is your experience current and valuable to other print areas, you may need to 'update' your skill set.

You may have to relocate, is that something you are willing to do. You have a lot of experience and if you throw in the towel what other skills is someone going to pay you for. Skilled people even at your young age are still valuable you have to market yourself.
Good luck cheesecorn
 

prepmaster

Well-known member
Did you ever think about doing pre-press work for print shops from your home online? I'm in the same boat as you and i have managed to get some regular clients who keep me busy and it pays the bills....working in my jammies is the best.. It might take some convincing to do and you might have to make yourself slightly more affordable but it can be done... Your knowledge and their convenience is your best sales pitch...
 

keith1

Well-known member
Did you ever think about doing pre-press work for print shops from your home online?

That's what I've been doing the past 13 years, after working for others for 30 odd years before that. I source press work to trade shops. Takes time to establish so be prepared to be broke. Also be prepared to spend on promotion because home based doesn't have a store front or signage to attract people. But yes, working in your jammies is awesome! 2:00pm now and considering a shower :) (don't bug me, I've been working).
Clients will appreciate your knowledge. Especially if they've been dealing with franchise shops & the like. I'm pretty much retired now. Have hung on to some customers - the tax break on a home business is good.
I don't work for other shops. Deal direct with mostly smaller business, some larger (one takes what comes). You'll need to establish a network of suppliers you can trust. I'm reasonably close to Toronto which has a wealth of trade shops. Still, some are better than others. It takes time. Good luck!
 

schenkadere

Well-known member
I can relate. I'm 52 and manage the prepress department for a folding box printer. I've been in printing over 30 years and have worked for some successful companies. SGS, Schawk, GPI. I have a ton of experience in every aspect of prepress. I have gone on a handful of interviews over the past few years and have literally been offered $40-50k less than I currently make. I'm being offered the same money I was making in the 90's. Used to be moving around was the way to make money when there was high demand a greater level of skill and craft involved. Those days are long gone. I would never suggest someone get into this business anymore.
 

Slammer

Well-known member
Companies like the one I work for are constantly looking to hire people with industry experience. Check out some job listings here —> https://jobs.esko.com

Seriously? In my experience Esko is one of the most ageist companies on the block, right up to former colleagues telling me that they were sent out to the glue factory because they hit the magical 45 mark.
 

esko_pdl

Well-known member
right up to former colleagues telling me that they were sent out to the glue factory because they hit the magical 45 mark.
I'm way beyond that magical mark so my experience doesn't match what you may have heard in the past. I actually started with Esko while in my 40's.
 

Chasfinch

Well-known member
Did you ever think about doing pre-press work for print shops from your home online? I'm in the same boat as you and i have managed to get some regular clients who keep me busy and it pays the bills....working in my jammies is the best.. It might take some convincing to do and you might have to make yourself slightly more affordable but it can be done... Your knowledge and their convenience is your best sales pitch...

I have thought about doing prepress work from home and going on site if needed. do you all think that could work?
 

Slammer

Well-known member
I'm way beyond that magical mark so my experience doesn't match what you may have heard in the past. I actually started with Esko while in my 40's.

I joined Esko also in my 40ties (early 40ties) and enjoyed eight years of 2nd level support, right up until the platedrivers became obsolete. I tried to stay in the company, especially as I was offered a contract as Artwork tech out of Daytona and stationed in south America. But after going back to Århus I was told (under the hand and behind closed doors) that due to my age I was to be made redundent. Over the next few years I tried without success to get back to Esko, however in the end I was told (verbatim, over the phone) that I was too old and that they (Esko) won´t employ anybody getting close to the 50 mark, it´s now nine years ago that I had to leave the best job I have ever had, so please excuse when I am jaded by claiming what I claim.
 
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AP90

Well-known member
I see so many claims on here about people being told they're too old and won't get hired because of their age. Do none of you sue because of this? Because its against the law. Or maybe its smoke and mirrors?
 

Slammer

Well-known member
I see so many claims on here about people being told they're too old and won't get hired because of their age. Do none of you sue because of this? Because its against the law. Or maybe its smoke and mirrors?

IF, and it´s a big if, you can hold a letter or an e-mail in your hand and go to the lawyers there maybe a very slim chance to sue. Depends on where in the world you are. Personally I doubt it is constructive to sue a potential employer and (at least in my case) they will always make sure that any statement to this respect is strictly off the record. As to taking a lawyer, you will be throwing good money after bad money.
 

photoshopdude

Active member
I know this post is old, but just wanted to add my two cents. I'm 57 and was in Prepress for 30 years. Was laid off in 2017, took nearly two years to find another job in prepress, the same company that laid me off two years ago hired me again, but just as covid hit they laid me off again, this time for good. At this point I consider myself done with print. I've had a few interviews that I was well qualified for but was never offered a job. My suggestion to any older workers past 45 who are still in prepress, start planing your escape now as you will be made redundant. Go into a different line of work if you can or better yet do your own thing and work for yourself. The data out there now for those 50 and over are stunning for those of us out of work. Just as we are approaching retirement we get kicked to the curb, which will have devastating financial consequences for most if not all. So, in answer to your question is it time to switch gears? YES!
Sorry such a downer but that's the reality.
 
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