Unemployed in Westchester: Steve Messinger

Steve Messinger
62, of Pleasantville
Until April 2009: Senior Vice President of Human Resources at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in White Plains
Earned: “Six figures”

What was your reaction to being let go?
It took a while to get my head refocused. I went through a period of anger. I went through a period of depression. When I got the job at Leukemia & Lymphoma Society two years earlier, it was meant to be. But lives have twists and turns. The CEO and COO left, and all of a sudden I had a new CEO I didn’t know. That didn’t last very long.

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How did your initial job search go?
I’m a fairly confident guy, and I had my doubts about getting hired at my age, because, as an HR person, I’d heard comments behind the scenes, like ‘He’s too old,’ ‘He doesn’t have the energy,’ or ‘That’s not the image we want to present.’ It makes me feel two inches tall.

When did you decide to start working as a consultant?
In 2010, a very dear friend of mine said, ‘Let me work with you, because I think you’re an ideal consultant.’ I said, “No, I really want a full-time job.” But then I went to a Cornell University alumni networking event and I chatted with people. I realized I had the skills and experience to help with the problems they were dealing with in the workplace. I founded KnowledgePoint.HR LLC to provide guidance, strategy, and support for employment and HR matters.

Do you still want a full-time job?
I would love a full-time job, but I’m not actively looking. I’m now sixty-two years old, and there are very few companies that would hire a sixty-two-year-old, no matter what the anti-discrimination laws say.

 Photography by Stefan Radtke