Whether I admit my age here or anywhere, I can assure you it won't matter when looking for employment. Recruiters and employers seem to just know your age range and so often, whether we want to believe it or not, their decision to promote or hire is often determined by age. Yes, I know it's illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, and that's a great law to have on the books. However, whether we want to accept this or not, I can assure you that age discrimination is alive and well in the United States.
For more than 45 years, I've been gainfully employed by a good number of employers in a good number of capacities. For more than 45 years I've never had a problem moving from one job opportunity to another--until I was 62. In February of 2012, I married a woman who lived 3 to 4 hours south of me. I ended up resigning from a great job, one that I would still be doing if it had not been for my marriage. I moved south to live with my new wife and together we bought a house in the Columbus, Ohio area.
Since my resignation from my operations management job, I've had nothing but trouble finding gainful employment. How do I know it is my age, you ask? Because early on someone from a business where I applied for a job called me, made me promise not to repeat what I'm about to tell you, and then he told me that I did not lose the job opportunity because of my skills or credentials, but rather because of my age. No, I won't reveal who this employer is because I won't jeopardize this man's job.
This morning, while watching Giraldo Rivera on Huffpost Live, I decided to talk about the age factor in relation to employment. My goal here is to help the younger generation understand that the generation gap, which didn't start any day recently, is not what it appears. Rivera spoke of the young millennials who disregard, even disrespect the older generation and I was inspired by what he had to say because he was subjected to this type of stereotyping while on Donald Trump's show. It felt good to know that I'm certainly not alone.
I remember with utter clarity the day one of my young daughters, during the apex of my life (30's), informed me that I wouldn't understand what is happening today, that "things are different then when you were my age," she said. This was in reference to an evening when they slept out in the camper and I caught two boys in there with them. My reply was simply this, "My generation invented promiscuity, free love, and all the rest of what you see today! Do you think I've had my head in the sand ever since I was your age?"
I'm not sure that they truly understood, but I know it had to help them appreciate the fact that older people ARE aware, ARE capable, ARE in the know. When I saw this video, I knew I had to share it. It's in another language, but the meaning of the words are provided in closed captions at the bottom. Please watch it, and if you are a millennial--truly meaning you are young and inexperienced (certainly not as experienced as YOU might think), you especially need to view it:
What is it I hope to gain by sharing all of this with you? If you're young and in control of a business, I hope you stop and think about how you got where you are today, how others older than you probably provided you with the opportunity you now have. It was not their intent that you forget your roots, forgetting who taught you, nurtured you, mentored you, and helped you gain your position.
In a word, don't forget those who gave all this opportunity to you. Provide them with a chance to earn a living, too. Give it forward because we gave it all to you.
UPDATE: December 28, 2015My solution to the age discrimination issue from a hiring perspective was simple: RETIRE at 65 and begin applying my main skills and artistic talents toward building my own business--TpromoCom.
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