Discrimination against the "Elderly"

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  1. profile image56
    Frankiedposted 13 years ago

    I am 58 and 'retired'. 

    A series of unexpected expenses has caused me to find a full or part time job.  I have looked everywhere but to no avail.  I am able and willing to work for a lot, lot less money than I am worth. Some other attributes are as follows:

    35 years experience

    Corporate experience at the executive level (VP Sales & Marketing).

    P/L responsibility managing a budget exceeding $15 million

    Hi-Tech background; Sales and Product Marketing $40 million production

    Owned and managed fast food outlets

    Owned and managed Art stores

    Nothing to prove or interested in taking jobs from people; just want to supplement my income so I break even - outgo vs. income

    No one has directly told me I am too old.  Reasons I have received for not being hired are:

    - afraid I will leave for no reason and not stay with the firm
    - too expensive although I say otherwise
    - I am not in a peer group with other employees
    - I would not relate to younger employees
    - Too much experience; would get bored
    - Afraid I am too aggressive and would cause problems
    - Would find the work demeaning

    -etc. etc.  etc.

    So the question I pose, is what actions should I take to get a job in as little time as possible.  Thanks for your ideas!

    1. WryLilt profile image88
      WryLiltposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I think maybe you should take the advice my dad gave me as a teen looking for my first job:

      1. Offer to do a trial period.
      2. Take the lowest level job and work your way up.

    2. profile image0
      Brenda Durhamposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      My question is why do you let potential employers discriminate against you if you're really willing to take those lower-paying jobs?

      There are now, ironically and sometimes sadly, "rights" for all kinds of people based on gender, what kind of sex they like, what kind of religious headdress they wear, what color their skin is, and a myriad of other excuses.

      So, the reasons the companies gave you are hogwash, in my view.
      I think it's about time potential employees gain the right to enquire further into the type of company they're willing to work for instead of companies wielding all the power of enquiry.  Especially when it comes to age.  Older people usually aren't as flighty as younger people anyway, so I would think an employer would look harder at the wisdom and stability of older applicants.

    3. Shahid Bukhari profile image60
      Shahid Bukhariposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I can only assume that you have crossed the bench mark of 65 ...

      If, I am correct, then I have the following to say  :

      1. You have been a straight forward, and an honest Worker ... all your life. Thus you made very few friends.
      2. That the kind of Pressure building up in the Market these days, has a lot energetic youngsters clamoring, rather pushing for jobs.
      3. Your willingness to work for less, than due; in fact goes against you.
      4. To break even ... calculate, exactly how much you need ... [with provision for inflation] and start a small business, working from home ... such as, selling Insurance ... or, Form a Club, for your age group where ideas about business/jobs can be shared ... for a nominal fee ... say $20 per member/month, then work out your own Work Plan. [Coffee, Cards etc.]
      5. But the best would be Recruiting youngsters, for Corporations/Sales Outlets etc.,where you may charge a months salary, or 50% thereof, as your professional fee... for each job you secure.
      Most times, people are better off as Attorneys, than Judges.
      6. Your best bet, outdoors, could be Car Sales, Real Estate, Sales and Rentals, or Teaching at Primary School.
      Baby sitting could be also an optional, if the Mrs chips in.

    4. OpinionDuck profile image60
      OpinionDuckposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I don't know the asnwers

      because it seems to me that age is the problem here

      I am not in a peer group with other employees
      - I would not relate to younger employees
      - Too much experience; would get bored

      These are directly connected to age.

      Age discrimination is a toothless law.

    5. Lisa HW profile image63
      Lisa HWposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Keep track of all your interviews and what you're told - all the way down to the tiniest detail; and then sue the "best" one for age discrimination.   smile   Get your money that way.   smile

  2. Pcunix profile image93
    Pcunixposted 13 years ago

    Welcome to the New World.

    Work for yourself.  Contractors and consultants are valued more if they have experience.  They'll hire young whippersnappers, but you have the advantage as a consultant.

    Of course you will have to compete with those of us who have been doing it a lot longer, but there is plenty enough for everyone.

  3. b. Malin profile image66
    b. Malinposted 13 years ago

    Why don't you put yourself on "Crag's List" ...Market yourself... with your best attributes listed.
    I was a Head Hunter, when I lived in Baltimore.  We always required a good solid resume, neat clean appearance, eye contact with your interviewer and a very positive attitude.  I know that was then, but you have a good background.  Be honest, when told you are over qualified etc.  Say I really want  this position and I need to work, and I would be a good steady employee, you will always be able to count on me.

    Have you also tried some agencies...even part time jobs can turn into full time ones.  Do an attitude check about what employers are saying about you, and try your best not to come across in the wrong light.  No doubt it's hard...just try to keep a positive attitude.

  4. couturepopcafe profile image60
    couturepopcafeposted 13 years ago

    You can try Elance.  Also, create an e-resume and be selective about who you send it to.  Employers scan a resume first then read the cover page.  Don't do mass resume mailings.  Also, Christmas is just around the corner and they'll be hiring temporary help.

  5. Stacie L profile image87
    Stacie Lposted 13 years ago

    58 is not elderly but I can relate to what you are going through.
    it appears that anyone over 40 is deemed too old...and I'm surprised you received any answers as to why you weren't hired..
    i agree that you should try to work for yourself...trying to get hired will be futile.

  6. 2uesday profile image65
    2uesdayposted 13 years ago

    Maybe it is not a good idea to describe yourself as elderly just yet, if you believe it then  it may alter the way prospective employers view you.

    If they are offering these excuses for not giving you a job then you have nothing to lose by reminding them that by employing you they are getting a good deal i.e. counter each of their negative responses with a positive one.

    I once felt I was turned down for a job for what I thought was a not very good reason I left it at that, but when I did start work the job I got required me to fulfil a role much more difficult in the aspect I had been turned down on. Which was good as it proved their judgement to be flawed.

    It can be 'soul destroying' to be turned away for such futile reasons, the companies who say these things are revealing their own flaws by making such statements. Good luck for the future in the meantime while you wait, why not write more hubs and try to earn a few extra dollars that way.

  7. rebekahELLE profile image84
    rebekahELLEposted 13 years ago

    if potential employers are actually giving you these reasons, your best defense is a really good offense. it might help to have a 'work' related notebook, and write down potential questions they will ask you and write down your response, and then practice your responses.

    robin ryan has an excellent book for getting hired after the age of 40. she includes common interview questions with samples of quality responses. first and foremost she recommends writing a killer cover letter and having a top notch resume.
    there are also non profit agencies out there that can help get you out there. they take your information, sills, test you on various skills and match you with potential employers who work through these agencies. even if you're offered a temporary position, it's a foot in the door.
    here is robyin's website, you can order any of her books or find them in libraries.

    unfortunately, I think you're right as far as age being a factor, but it certainly doesn't mean you can't find employment. Age becomes a factor with paying out benefits with some of these companies, they simply don't want to pay out for an older worker.

    if you're getting interviews, that's better than many who can't even get an interview!  good luck!

  8. profile image0
    Brenda Durhamposted 13 years ago

    Actually, I think Frankied has definite reasons to file discrimination charges against those employers, if what he said is true....

    They're afraid he "won't relate to younger employees"?? 
    "Isn't in a peer group"??

    Come on!  In this day and age when employers are afraid to refuse employment to people 'cause of their sex habits and their hairstyles and their religous affliliation, and EVEN afraid to refuse someone who just looks lazy or physically unable to do the job, I think Frankied is being given an unfair shake, period.    What kind of "peer group" do these companies have, anyway, that a 58-year-old person won't "fit into"??----young gay Muslim activists who are so ambitious themselves that THEY may not stay with the company?   Such nonsense!  From my prior experience in the work force, it's younger people and/or ambitious people that bring a high turn-over rate to companies.   And companies seem to think a potential employee should promise to stay with 'em forever, while the company itself has to offer no accountability.  Sheesh!

  9. rebekahELLE profile image84
    rebekahELLEposted 13 years ago

    he could have been giving reasons he knows hiring managers eliminate potential employees. it's a wild world out there for everyone.

    every employer knows they have the advantage right now in the hiring market and I've read that some interviews are enough to make a grown man cry. I think it's a shame that a seasoned worker is made to feel inadequate. Maybe they're trying to use reverse psychology to see how the job candidate handles difficult questions. It also costs the employer money to find the right candidate and they usually know exactly what they're looking for, they don't want to waste time with interviews.

  10. Lisa HW profile image63
    Lisa HWposted 13 years ago

    There are a few ways it works, even if nobody thinks they're discriminating when it comes to people over 40 (and I'd agree 40 is where it starts):

    A person over "a certain age" shows up after his resume and phone interview got him a "real" interview.  Human resources sends him to "the team he'd be working with".  The team is made up of 30 year-olds who have been been working together for awhile.  The one job candidate is, maybe, 54/55.  The 30-year-olds do what so many 30-year-olds do:  Look at him.  Talk to him.  Think he's old, and say, "We don't really think he fits in with us."  So the "team" sends that opinion to human resources.

    Then there's this scenario:  Someone 50 shows up for the interview.  S/he doesn't look anywhere near 50, so his resume, amount of experience, years graduating from school (or whatever) can look good.  Still, this person doesn't fit what the interviewer's idea of what someone "in that age range" ought to look like.  Maybe s/he was expecting a white-haired, "senior-looking", seasoned, person.  Instead, someone who doesn't look old enough, but doesn't look like the 25-year-olds either showed up.  So this person just looks kind of odd.  Something just doesn't match.  No job.

    Then there's the one about, "You were earning x much at your last job.  You aren't going to be happy here."  No job.   You tell them, "Oh, no.  I would be happy here.  I have bills to pay and kids in college. "  They don't believe you because, for some reason, they think you "just want any job and don't really care about this particular job".  Well, they're right about your not caring about what job it is, but they're wrong that wouldn't be damned happy to be able to pay your mortgage and the tuition bills.

    And then there's the one where the person wonders if someone "your age" would "have a problem" working for someone younger.

    And this one:  Oh - you have x number of degrees and xx years of experience, and you're saying you'll take any job just because you need a job?  We don't believe you won't quit the minute something more appropriate for you comes along."  No job.

    And this one:   "Hmmm.   This person must be over 50.  She won't have 25 years to be giving to this company."  (As if anyone who works there or anywhere else these days last more than 5, 6, or occasionally, 15 years anyway.)

    As far as anyone "working their way up" goes, most people over 40 have worked their way up at least once, sometimes a few times.  There's a point in life when people over a certain age just aren't willing to be relegated to the "work your way up" crowd because someone younger thinks they ought to just abandon all their education/experience/accomplishments and do what 22-year-olds do.  Of course the "no job" in that scenario is the person's own choice (if you call being expected to work your way up yet again and in some field in which you have no interest anyway, "choice").  The thing is, lots of middle-aged/upper-middle-aged people would be willing to take some crap job just for the money (the way kids in high school take crap jobs), but most don't want to get into that whole thing about "working their way up" in some crap job when "up" is assistant/assistant/shift manager in retail (or something like that). 

    In companies where the person's field might be right, and where there's such as thing as "really up" (maybe a company that's like where the person worked before in that field), there's no "working one's way up" because not only is their discrimination against middle-aged people by hiring managers; but there's discrimination when it comes to who gets promoted.  (I have a friend who was out-and-out told by management, "You're on a different career track than the others in your department."

    Oh - and another scenario:  The person got laid off in his 50's (late 40's - whatever).  He had trouble finding work because of the reasons above.  He's out of work for more than a year.  Last week I heard on the radio that "word is" (among hiring managers) that if a person is out of work for more than a year it must mean he doesn't really want to work - so he isn't even considered.

    Maybe, if you look enough like a little, old, white-haired, grandmother you'll get a job as secretary at your local public school.  Maybe if you look enough like a little, old, white-haired, grandpa you'll get a job doing the grounds around the local church.    lol   lol   mad

    As PC said, work for yourself.    hmm

  11. PaulaHenry1 profile image66
    PaulaHenry1posted 13 years ago

    Unfortunately the older you get the less a company wants to invest in you. My father was a termimal manger for over 40 years, and well, his job became termainal- as they went belly up eventually filing bankruptcy and closing..he is now a janitor.
    Not only did it hurt him hard in the wallet but in his pride too. It seems that employers dont look at aging people as mature, responsible role models but as money seeking, short-term, insurance claim sucker upers (for lack of a better word)
    My suggestion is this. You say you have managerial skills and such in fast food. That is your opportunity. Just today I saw an advertisement for McDonalds asking "55 and up?" Lookin to work early morning hours? ect ect....it may not be at the top but play it humble and once your in - run back to the top!
    Good luck.

    1. Lisa HW profile image63
      Lisa HWposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      McDonalds has apparently figured out what a lot of the rest of us have noticed - that people over 40/50 tend to be the ones up earlier than everyone else (even when they're still up late at night).  People over a certain age need far less sleep than than those early-twenties who are often known to sleep ten, fourteen, hours at a whack.

  12. Flightkeeper profile image67
    Flightkeeperposted 13 years ago

    I think the higher your level of experience, the harder it is to get a job.  I'm looking at your experience and if I were looking to hire people at lower positions, I would wonder whether you'd be happy.  You might be better off trying to see if you can network with your circle of friends and acquaintances to get a job somewhat on the same level as the last one.


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