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Job Discrimination is Real and Rampant in America
Getting Experienced Employees isn't always Priority #1
It was always my belief that workers in America were respected for their knowledge and experience. Age was irrelevant, and an employer really wanted people who cared about their jobs and what they brought to the company. Unfortunately, with the current state of the economy, I have discovered that I couldn't be more wrong.
I am a journalist by trade. I went to college, got a degree in journalism, and have real work experience in the television and written media. I worked in management in a large television newsroom. On paper, I look great. However, in an interview situation with an HR person, I look old. Funny, but experience is really a synonym for old.
Human resource people have terrible jobs. They have to decide who is worth hiring and who isn't. They also have to follow these ridiculous methods of interviewing prospective employees. How many of you have been asked what your greatest accomplishment at work was? Or, what task you completed that you were most proud of? Really, who cares? People who hold jobs for five years should be praised, people with 10 years on should be applauded, and those with 20 years at one place of employment should get a standing ovation. It is hard to get and keep a job. In a 10 year time frame, who has time to look back and remember their most important phone call? Look at what an individual has accomplished, not what his or her answer will be to robotic HR questions. I had one employer once ask me what color I would be if I could choose. Is there actually a right answer? Who cares!
Recently, I made a career change, again, and so I re-entered the job hunt with the rest of America. It stinks. I have tons of experience, I'm not looking for a million-dollar job. I'm like the rest of this country, I just want to live comfortably and pay my bills without worrying about having my car repossessed. Last week I was filling out applications online and I was at a website that required me to watch their company's profile video. As I sat there in my pajamas, eyes glued to my monitor, I noticed one very distressing detail. Everyone in this company is younger than I am. I'm not even "old." The head of HR looked about 24. Their media VP looked 25. Their entire staff looked under 30. Why on earth would these people hire a fossil like me? They will hire their friends. They will hire their Facebook buddies. They will hire their boyfriend's neighbor's daughter's sister's cousin. They will hire someone with three months experience over someone with five years experience. Our entire country will eventually be controlled by 20-somethings.
I feel for "older" America. I was at Olive Garden a few days ago and the hostess there was probably 70. She was nice, cared about her job, and looked professional. At any given time I can go to another similar restaurant and find an 18 year old, shabbily dressed, cell phone in hand while she texts as she walks us to our table even after we have requested a booth. I just don't understand it. People with experience should be revered not ignored. People who have worked their entire lives have done so because they need to work. We as a people are robbing older Americans of their security because they have absolutely no idea what YouTube is, or what vegetable they would be if they had to pick. Something needs to change. People have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their security. I don't want to be out on the street because I answered an HR question incorrectly and no one bothered to look at my resume or accomplishments.
I don't have an answer. I wish I did, but I am in the same boat as many of you job-seekers. I should have a job where I can use my skills and experience, but instead I write part-time about finding a job. This isn't a political problem. It isn't a race problem or even a gender issue because no matter what, all of us will get older. We need to fix this. We need to hire the right employees for the right reasons. We need to be able to fire the wrong employees. We need to somehow get this country back on track so we can all grow older and enjoy our golden years just like we thought we would.