Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Years

I can remember a long, long time ago when my uncle was out of work. I can't remember whether it was that the business downsized or closed - something like that.  But I can remember him saying how recruiters would call him about jobs and he would tell them from the start that he was 63 years old.  They would politely thank him and say goodbye.  I can remember wondering how could that be? What difference does one's age make? Thinking about it made me angry then and it makes me angry now.

Sour grapes? Maybe. After years of being in the same position, I decided I would like to take on new challenges. So I applied for 3 positions and was called in for interviews for each of them.  In a University of this size, even being called for an interview is an honor.  However, each of the jobs went to someone else.  Granted, I knew I wasn't the perfect candidate but I do believe that my age likely had something to do with not being selected.

So why is discrimination on many grounds not tolerated but yet age is one of those things that are accepted as appropriate grounds for discrimination? It is hard to prove especially when there are so many variables in the hiring process.  But I see age discrimination in so many other ways - from not being included in activities that are more geared to a younger group to being asked how long until you retire to the comment from a cashier that 'wow, you've must have worked here a long time'. This doesn't even include the jokes that I hear on a daily basis - all alluding to the fact that my best years are behind me (they aren't) and that I am biding my time til that magical day on which I can retire. The real joke is that I absolutely love the work I do and I have no intention of retiring anytime soon if at all.
The Old Goat

I'm many other things than old.  I am white, a woman, a mother, a quilter, a reader, a baker, a Christian. If my job hung in the balance due to any one of these traits, I would have grounds for a complaint. But my age? Not so much. So maybe I'll just shut up and be happy with my current position - after all, I do love my job and my co-workers so much that it's not even a given that I would accept a different position if asked.

I'm sure that my age has nothing to do with it. That would be silly. No one discriminates on age any more. Never.

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