What assumptions do people make about older people?
For several months I considered writing a hub about ageing. After reading “The Day I Joined the Ranks of Invisible Older Women” by Sally’s Trove, I decided to cover ageing from the workplace. For me it was not an “aha” moment but a series of realizations.
Too expensive to keep around and too expensive to hire
Because of the natural processing of increasing wages, people who work on jobs for a significant amount of time earn more money that the newcomers. While this may seem logical and make good sense, the more experienced, hired paid employees are offered special financial incentives to take layoffs. A layoff is not the same as retirement. If the experienced workers are tricked into the layoffs, thinking they can get another job, they are rudely awakened when their job searches start. They are interviewed by younger people who will not hire them. The trick question of requested “starting salary” prices them right out of the race. Willingness to take a significantly lower salary makes you look desperate and they don’t want to hire desperate people. Their vast experience is not needed and there is the intimidation factor. Older people making suggestions are often considered arrogant, threatening, or trying to return us to the dark ages. Managers like to have younger, inexperienced workers so they can train them. The younger workers are paid less, do not present a threat, and assumed to be loyal.
To witness the insensivity to the high unemployment rate of the elderly, read comments at the end of same subject articles on the Internet. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/20/employment-elderly-economy-recession_n_904281.html
Talked to in a patronizing tone
For some reason younger people think older people have problems using technology. This might have been a reasonable assumption in the twentieth century. My nephew made insinuations about my computer knowledge which caused me to remind him that he first went on the Internet at my house and I bought him his first computer. I have found many colleagues on Hub pages who are over the age of 50 and many of those are over 60. The subject matter of the hub often helps approximate the age of the writer. We know how to use computers and the Internet. We are able to use the complete Office Suite, not just Microsoft Word. Many of us know how to use more advanced software. We are older and no less capable than younger people.
Treated like you are invisible
If is totally offensive to sit in a teacher’s meeting and hear an administrator say that the “older teachers are not getting it.” The “it” is supposedly new teaching strategies which are usually things that have been done for years but never given a formal name. One such example is “chunk and chew.” Chunk and chew is simply a matter of taking a larger difficult concept and breaking it down in to smaller digestable portions so students can understand.
When the staff splits for meetings and a) veterans are directed to stay in this room and b) new teachers go to another building, I can imagine what the discussion is about. When you notice that friendly wave and greeting that you once exchanged with colleagues is now replaced by strangers who won’t even look at you, you are old and insignificant!
This is surely one of the reasons the elderly can look forward to heaven. There is no discrimination there. Age does not matter. There will be no meanness there.