A Returned Emigrant’s Experience of Unemployment


In preparation for each issue of the e-bulletin we email our individual members, letting them know that if they wish to share their stories and issues of concern with our readers, we would be delighted to hear from them. A returned emigrant shares their experience and challenge in finding employment. 

My most recent bout of unemployment started in November 2022. I am a Returnee. For 14 months. I have sought work. My BA degree  & Higher Diploma (ED) are no longer recognised due to age.  I am 60yrs old. My T.E.S.O.L certification is not acceptable according to various English Language schools in Dublin. I reside in Co. Meath. For 24 years I taught English as a native speaker in Japan. Now, to obtain work in any area in an Irish competitive environment, different credentials & experiences are required. I have found this to be true of manual labour jobs also.

I would be living on the side of the road were it not for my sister.  She has opened the door of her home. I think the social welfare safety-net has saved me from much anxiety. The Meath County Council Library service is invaluable. It is the best. Currently I am learning Irish through one of the library's apps. Also I am keeping up my English teaching skills by volunteering at the  local  Family Resource Centre.

As we enter the winter of our years, we fade both physically & mentally.  My thoughts turn to the tired factory worker. The resulting industrial accident. Do I have the stamina to work with machines 8 hrs each day?  My thoughts turn to the tired office worker. My problems dealing with cash, both notes & coins. So many mistakes in note recognition and loose change calculations.  In Japan, many people want to work and seek employment into their 70s.  I have seen seniors jogging as they prepare for a job interview. Others cannot run. They use the walking poles/sticks that Michael Collins the astronaut used in his 80s. A role model like no other. Perhaps even here & now, there is a system of credits for health/stamina.  Are there "evaluation" tests for older workers? Would the fittest survive. Should unemployed people be made aware of such tests. Be given advice on how to prepare for such an evaluation? 

To be unemployed is to live in relative poverty. It can also mean frustration and disappointment. We can change the situation.  We should count our blessings and continue to compete in the job market. If we stay positive like Michael Collins, even unto death at 90yrs old, we shall be role models for future generations.