Age Discrimination in the Workplace
I love being the age I am and would not trade it for anything, age discrimination and all. Age discrimination in the workplace can be interesting to deal with and experience.
What is Age Discrimination in the Workplace?
Unfortunately age discrimination is still alive and well, particularly in the job market where it rears its ugly head in not so subtle ways, but there are advantages to being “seasoned,” as you will see.
A friend of mine was laid off from his job as executive vice president for import and export at a major international company. He was 57 at the time which is not an easy age for someone to find a job. Not only does he want to work, he has to work. He has two kids in college, two in junior high school, alimony and has two mortgages.
He put his resume online with several of the high power career job sites. It was not long before a recruiter contacted him about a potential job. They set up the interview with the corporate hiring manager. Then, the recruiter called back. He told my friend that the hiring manager had gone on LinkedIn, read his profile and decided he was “too old for the job.” Those were his exact words.
What to Know About Age Discrimination in the Workplace
I am sure most recruiters and employers are not even aware that there are laws preventing age discrimination against people over 40. If they were, they probably would not be so honest about their reasons for not hiring someone.
I personally do not understand why people on the sunny side of 40 do not appreciate the expertise someone has acquired over the course of their career.
When I shut my ad agency after 30 years, I thought it would be a great idea to work for someone else for a change and let that person have the headaches of running a business. I simply wanted to bring my skill set to an agency and just work. I certainly had the credentials any ad agency executive would be looking for, along with extensive contacts in the community.
It did not take long for me to discover that I was not going to be hired by an ad agency. If it were not so painful at the time and if the excuses were not so over the top, it would have been laughable. What it boiled down to was that the agencies were looking for a younger workers. Never mind that they would have to train that person in all of the areas I was already an expert in.
After that reality hit me, I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to reinvent myself. I can look back now and laugh.
The first thing I did was assess my financial situation. I felt I was in a good position since my girls had finished college and both were married. I figured I could go without a paycheck, if I carefully watched my expenses, for a couple of years if I had to. I also knew I did not need to make as much money as I had been.
Find Out What Kind of Job You Want
Next, I did some serious soul searching. What did I really want to do at this point in my life? I had thought I wanted to work for someone else, but did I really? I had been the “boss” for over 30 years. Could I really work for someone else? Did I want to work part-time or full-time? Did I even really want to remain in advertising? I sat down with a piece of paper and at the top I wrote down what my ideal world and life looked like.
I remember sitting there thinking about people I knew who had gone through the same thing I was going through. A high school classmate of mine, after a long career in tech sales followed by the proverbial pink slip became an ex-pat and moved to Thailand. He loves it there and he is following his passion. He started a self-publishing company, published a couple of successful novels he had written and is now helping young, aspiring authors get their novels published.
Another friend, after two decades in hospital administration, has taken up sculpting and is now working on his fourth one-man show. Yet another friend, a highly successful executive for a large media company, set up a consulting business when she was axed. The funniest part of her story is that she is now consulting for her former company and making more money than when she was on staff.
And my friend the executive VP for import and export? After unsuccessfully searching for a new job for a couple of years, he decided to follow his real passion. He and his wife bought a bed and breakfast inn that they now run and love. They meet people from all over the world who come to the DC area to visit.
Being a Freelancer
Being a freelance writer allows me to set my own work hours, work with clients I actually like, take jobs I find challenging and find time to work on the quirky novel that has been floating around in my head for ages.
I am not alone. I chat online with lots of people in the same position. For most people, what they are looking for when they reach senior years is a challenge. They want to stay busy, they want to learn and more than anything else, they want to prove their worth to themselves.
But do you want to know the reason I absolutely love being my age? Freebies and discounts. There are discounts for airline fares, movies, hotel stays, and restaurants. Discounts are all over the place. For the most current list I have found, go to The Senior List of Discounts.
We are at that point in our lives where our responsibilities to family have lessened and we can do what we want, when we want. The best thing anyone can do is enjoy life to the fullest.