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Gail Pierris on Unending Determination

Gail Pierris, 62
New York City

Gail Pierris Image by Courtesy Gail Pierris

Job: Executive assistant to the business manager of DC9, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades

Previously: Executive assistant at the New-York Historical Society

Pierris has degrees in museum education and art history, and has worked in everything from travel and publishing to finance. She enjoys the perks and challenges of being an executive assistant, but was laid off from her last job due to budget cuts; the role was given to a junior employee.

Out of work: “I was unemployed for eight months. It was not a vacation. I was on the computer and I was interviewing. I got anywhere between one and five interviews a week. They’re shopping — it’s a buyers market. Age does play into it, but I don’t talk about my age; I talk about my experience.”

Looking ahead: “I started as temp to perm at DC9. You prefer to be hired because of the benefits. I’m expecting to get on payroll. Basically I’ll stay there and grow with the job. They’re getting comfortable with me and I’m getting comfortable with them. I’m learning and adapting.”

Advice for job seekers: “There is ageism, but I don’t let it stop me. Color your hair and get your nails and makeup done. It doesn’t matter if you’re not 25. But you have to look professional and contemporary. You can look nice at every price point. Take all the dates off your resume. I refuse to let age stop me. I have the experience and skill set.”

Jewish community: “Going to services on Friday night is uplifting because you’re surrounded by a community of nice people who only wish the best for you. It’s basically unconditional love and support. I’ve been a member at Brotherhood Synagogue for five years. I know the women that run the Brotherhood Networking Group. When I was out of work last time, I went to a couple of meetings and met the resume man. It was the best $250 I ever spent. My resume has stood me well.”

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