On a busy street corner in New York stands a balding, 52-year-old man. He holds a sign: 'HIRE ME.' So far, nobody has—and he's been doing this every weekday for a month.
But Vincent Giordano is no quitter. "I'm determined not to end up in a homeless shelter," he says.
Nicely dressed in suit and tie, Giordano hands copies of his resume to anyone who'll take one. "Sometimes," says the one-time legal assistant, "you have to sink low to rise to the top again."
His sign lists his phone number (917-478-7435), his email address (MrVGiordan@yahoo.com), and the kind of work he's looking for:
The support from the public, he says, has been fantastic. The Wall Street Journal took notice of him this week. "It's amazing how supportive people are. People say, 'Wow, how admirable; you've got chutzpah; you've got balls,'pardon the expression."
People give him their business card or say they'll take his resume to their boss.
On a good day recently, he handed out 50 resumes, which, he says, netted him five interviews--"but no cigar" yet.
He says he got the idea to direct-market himself after seeing an ABC News story about a man who found a job this same way. "Monkey-see, monkey-do," says Giordano.
The other man, who had a degree in finance, stood around in front of the W.R. Grace building in New York for 30 days, Giordano says. "Eventually, the people in the building got tired of seeing him, and they brought him up to the office. The rest is history. He's my inspiration."
For older people out of work, job prospects are bleak. The rate of unemployment for workers 55 and up is 6.5 percent. That's lower than the national average; but once an older worker loses his job, it takes far longer to find a new one. In 2011, more than half of all unemployed older workers spent at least 27 weeks looking for work.
Until two years ago, Giordano worked for a big law firm, making copies of documents and providing litigation support. Then he was laid off. How come? "The economy," he shrugs. "They wanted to get younger people in. They let the older people go."
For a while he drove a school bus. "But that routine was not for me. Don't get me wrong—I love the out of doors—but school bus drivers get zero respect out on the road."
He's tried going to employment agencies, he says, and has registered with dozens. But none has found him to a job. "They all say they have nothing for you," he says, even though he knows—by cross-checking listings on Craigslist—that they do.
"Where I'm standing on the street right now, I'm right around the corner from one of those agencies. They have a job that fits my skill set. I've called them on numerous occasions, and they always say the person who handles that is on vacation." His age, he thinks, may be one reason he's getting the run-around.
The best corners for prospecting are the busiest, he says. He handed out his 50 resumes, for example, at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Now he's ready to branch out. "People tell me I should circulate myself," he says. "I'm thinking about doing Wall Street next, or maybe the courts in Brooklyn."