[05.25.10]
86 great comments!

If You Discriminate, I Am 44

age discrimination, ageism, aging, discrimination, during, employment, hid, job interview, Job Search, jobs, labor, management, professional resume, recruitment, resume, social issues, social philosophy, social psychology, tell, told people, video resume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will never put this on top of your professional resume.  Whether you are 44 or 64.

But sometimes the job search can get very frustrating.  To the point that you might think about doing something like this to get a point across.

The point being that a company or hiring manager that uses age discrimination will eventually learn that you are not 32.  And will allow that bias to influence them.  So we might as well just tell them up front, right?

The other option that many try is the opposite.  You go out of your way to hide your age.  Leaving your first three jobs off of your professional resume.  And removing the graduating dates from your education summary.

And I don’t blame you for doing that.

The problem is that everyone knows that if the dates aren’t there, you are probably older than you’d like to admit.  And if the first job on your resume was “Director of Finance”, it probably wasn’t your first.  You are hiding something.

So what if we stopped hiding?  Became less driven by the possibility of age discrimination in employment?

And I know that many of you will share stories of more honest resumes getting no reaction.  No response at all.  Until you made changes like the ones above to make your age less obvious.

Here’s the rationale for why people do this:

If I can make my age less obvious on a professional resume, I will at least have a chance during a face-to-face interview to show what I can do.  To show my energy, up-to-date skills, and smarts.  To hopefully remove age as an issue for the hiring manager.

And I’m sure there are examples out there of this being the case.  But it also could be that age was never an issue.  You simply got through the interview for all the right reasons.  You were qualified, skilled and a good fit for the company culture.

I’m not going to tell you to stop shaving years off your resume.  After all, the resume is a marketing document.  There to highlight relevant information to a hiring company.  And age is not relevant.

But if you are 40+, I will tell you (you especially) to:

  1. Stop relying on your resume to get you a job.  Rely on your career network.  The people that know you.  Know your work and work style.  In my opinion, the introduction and recommendation from your network is a more successful distraction than leaving off dates and jobs.  It is a more confident step forward.
  2. Avoid applying for jobs that are one or two levels below your last position.  They may be in your industry or a good fit for your function.  But this can make the age issue more prominent.  Especially if their issue is really less about age and more about where you are in your career.  I know it is hard to ignore a job listing that has relevance.  But you need to be more targeted as you look for your next role.

What has your experience been with age discrimination in employment?  Have you ever felt like adding this stamp to the top of your resume?


Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
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Categories: Cover Letters And Resumes
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  • David Locke

    Discrimination of any kind is best when it happens before you are hired, rather than after you have been hired. Make sure that any potential employer discriminates, so you don’t end up in a bad position, get fired, and later get haunted by a bad employer reference.

  • David Locke

    Discrimination of any kind is best when it happens before you are hired, rather than after you have been hired. Make sure that any potential employer discriminates, so you don’t end up in a bad position, get fired, and later get haunted by a bad employer reference.

  • Susan Schaffer

    In job search, one of the critical success factors is getting in the door – with or without networking. If you’re over 40~45, then omitting some dates puts you into that ‘hazy age’ category. Sure, they’ll figure out that you’re not 35… but, they might not consider you too old to be be in contention. If you can get a face to face interview, the obligation is on you to be active, involved, up-to-date, passionate…and imbued with the wisdom and experience that your age might bring.

    Let’s face it – they’re going to know how old you are before they hire you. And, if they choose not to hire you because you graduated from college in 1978… then, so be it. It might be wrong… might be discrimination…but there’s really nothing you can do. But, if you can get the opportunity to ‘show your stuff’ by making your age ‘hazy’, then do it!!

  • Susan Schaffer

    In job search, one of the critical success factors is getting in the door – with or without networking. If you’re over 40~45, then omitting some dates puts you into that ‘hazy age’ category. Sure, they’ll figure out that you’re not 35… but, they might not consider you too old to be be in contention. If you can get a face to face interview, the obligation is on you to be active, involved, up-to-date, passionate…and imbued with the wisdom and experience that your age might bring.

    Let’s face it – they’re going to know how old you are before they hire you. And, if they choose not to hire you because you graduated from college in 1978… then, so be it. It might be wrong… might be discrimination…but there’s really nothing you can do. But, if you can get the opportunity to ‘show your stuff’ by making your age ‘hazy’, then do it!!

  • Norman Naylor

    Great topic, Tim. It is an unfortunate fact that discrimination is a fact of life. We all like ourselves and people who look, act, and believe as we do. I do not celebrate discrimination, but I do not discount it either. Great advice on how to handle this sensitive topic.

    Of course, not all discrimination is “bad”: This one got up my nose the wrong way the other day: “EOE- Women and Minorities encouraged to apply.” If you really are “EOE”, wouldn’t you say something like “All qualified candidates encouraged to apply.”?

    I must be over 40…

  • My favorite example of age descrimination: I had a phone interview with Blizzard (company that created World of Warcraft). At one point I made a mistake – I mentioned the year I got my first college degree.

    I knew it was a mistake and looked at my watch. I was off the phone in less than 60 seconds.

    They want really young people there – even though this was a VP Development position.

  • My favorite example of age descrimination: I had a phone interview with Blizzard (company that created World of Warcraft). At one point I made a mistake – I mentioned the year I got my first college degree.

    I knew it was a mistake and looked at my watch. I was off the phone in less than 60 seconds.

    They want really young people there – even though this was a VP Development position.

  • Norman Naylor

    Great topic, Tim. It is an unfortunate fact that discrimination is a fact of life. We all like ourselves and people who look, act, and believe as we do. I do not celebrate discrimination, but I do not discount it either. Great advice on how to handle this sensitive topic.

    Of course, not all discrimination is “bad”: This one got up my nose the wrong way the other day: “EOE- Women and Minorities encouraged to apply.” If you really are “EOE”, wouldn’t you say something like “All qualified candidates encouraged to apply.”?

    I must be over 40…

  • Leslie

    Yes! I know how frustrating it can be. The last recruiter I talked to did eliminate all of the years on my resume. But, I can say that I have had quite a few interviews so my resume seems to be okay. I think it is what you said about the prospective employer thinking that we might be in a certain age range, then when I show up for the appointment they go, “Oh, no” and I have been told that I look 10 years younger than I am so that is very scary. I just have embraced the idea that I will have to take another path. I am lucky that I have a sister to live with so my living expenses are not terribly high. It seems that God has prepared me for this time in my life. My car is two years old and it is paid for; my condo has been rented for the amount to pay the mortgage, homeowners and other little expenses. I work at JC Penney as a Sales Associate at $8.47 an hour but I get health insurance through them, they treat me good and have been giving me 32 hours a week. Now, let me tell you that I do have a Master’s Degree in Accounting but I am 59 years old. I also received a three month contract at the beginning of this year with a wonderful recommendation from the manager but the company did not have a position open for me. So, I have done everything recommended but after a year and a half I feel that it will be JC Penney and I will pursue a writing career.

  • Leslie

    Yes! I know how frustrating it can be. The last recruiter I talked to did eliminate all of the years on my resume. But, I can say that I have had quite a few interviews so my resume seems to be okay. I think it is what you said about the prospective employer thinking that we might be in a certain age range, then when I show up for the appointment they go, “Oh, no” and I have been told that I look 10 years younger than I am so that is very scary. I just have embraced the idea that I will have to take another path. I am lucky that I have a sister to live with so my living expenses are not terribly high. It seems that God has prepared me for this time in my life. My car is two years old and it is paid for; my condo has been rented for the amount to pay the mortgage, homeowners and other little expenses. I work at JC Penney as a Sales Associate at $8.47 an hour but I get health insurance through them, they treat me good and have been giving me 32 hours a week. Now, let me tell you that I do have a Master’s Degree in Accounting but I am 59 years old. I also received a three month contract at the beginning of this year with a wonderful recommendation from the manager but the company did not have a position open for me. So, I have done everything recommended but after a year and a half I feel that it will be JC Penney and I will pursue a writing career.

  • Eric Nilsson

    All of the comments above are quite interesting and useful. As Leslie points out, the older worker may no longer be able to command the wages that younger people do (and in this economy the wages are not what they once were), but stop-gap positions help. Today’s IT positions appear to be more contract jobs than permanent positions and, while the wages are high, the benefits are often low or non–existent.

    I just finished Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell and recommend it to everyone. There is a section titled “The Economics of Discrimination”. While this primarily addresses race discrimination, it also shows how any discrimiantion places the employer at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, age discrimination is not addressed, so the following comes from observations of myself and others at various stages.

    Age discrimination occurs at two points in the worker’s life: starting a career and nearing the end of a career. Discrimination occurs at the start because of a distinct lack of skills; these are acquired during the course of a career and the worker advances in wages and wealth.

    Age discrimination nearing the end of a career occurs because the skills and knowledge acquired over the course of a worker’s career are expensive to employers. In addition, government requirements often work against the older worker by placing constraints on the employer: mandated benefits are more costly, for example. In addition, some workers require special accommodations (usually older workers more than younger workers). Employers become aware of these things when for example, someone mentions graduating a college that has since been renamed or an employer who no longer exists (those things happen).

  • Eric Nilsson

    All of the comments above are quite interesting and useful. As Leslie points out, the older worker may no longer be able to command the wages that younger people do (and in this economy the wages are not what they once were), but stop-gap positions help. Today’s IT positions appear to be more contract jobs than permanent positions and, while the wages are high, the benefits are often low or non–existent.

    I just finished Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell and recommend it to everyone. There is a section titled “The Economics of Discrimination”. While this primarily addresses race discrimination, it also shows how any discrimiantion places the employer at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, age discrimination is not addressed, so the following comes from observations of myself and others at various stages.

    Age discrimination occurs at two points in the worker’s life: starting a career and nearing the end of a career. Discrimination occurs at the start because of a distinct lack of skills; these are acquired during the course of a career and the worker advances in wages and wealth.

    Age discrimination nearing the end of a career occurs because the skills and knowledge acquired over the course of a worker’s career are expensive to employers. In addition, government requirements often work against the older worker by placing constraints on the employer: mandated benefits are more costly, for example. In addition, some workers require special accommodations (usually older workers more than younger workers). Employers become aware of these things when for example, someone mentions graduating a college that has since been renamed or an employer who no longer exists (those things happen).

  • Hammer

    funny, you would think that being over 40 would be a reason to hire someone.
    Reasons to hire people over 40:
    1. Experience – people over 40 have been in the workforce longer, and have more experience dealing with people, and yes technology, and have probably seen and dealt with any problems that one would need to address.

    2. Stability – People over 40 tend to be married and have children and are less likely to jump ship at the first sign of a better position. They have more to consider when changing jobs and are probably willing to invest more into a company than those under 40.

    3. Work Ethic – folks under 40 have had it a lot easier, in general, when it comes to material things and opportunities. In my experience, folks over 40 have had to work harder for what they have, and probably have more to lose, thus have a different view on work.

  • Hammer

    funny, you would think that being over 40 would be a reason to hire someone.
    Reasons to hire people over 40:
    1. Experience – people over 40 have been in the workforce longer, and have more experience dealing with people, and yes technology, and have probably seen and dealt with any problems that one would need to address.

    2. Stability – People over 40 tend to be married and have children and are less likely to jump ship at the first sign of a better position. They have more to consider when changing jobs and are probably willing to invest more into a company than those under 40.

    3. Work Ethic – folks under 40 have had it a lot easier, in general, when it comes to material things and opportunities. In my experience, folks over 40 have had to work harder for what they have, and probably have more to lose, thus have a different view on work.

  • Jim H

    I am working to start a “second career” after 26 years of military service as an officer. I was fairly successful, retiring as a colonel. I am currently working on a second masters degree, my GPA is 3.97, and I’ve found I compete intellectually quite well with the more traditional graduate students as well as with the mid-career professionals in the program. I have run 4 marathons and I am a certified personal trainer. I say all this to make a point: youth or age are meaningless for most jobs. No one is asking anyone to move two-ton rocks from a quarry to the pyramid site. If asked, most companies who practice age discrimination probably do not even know why they do it. Age discrimination is a psychological relic of an old paradigm where people’s minds and bodies were wearing out by age 40 from years of farm or factory work. Let’s all just grow up.

  • Jim H

    I am working to start a “second career” after 26 years of military service as an officer. I was fairly successful, retiring as a colonel. I am currently working on a second masters degree, my GPA is 3.97, and I’ve found I compete intellectually quite well with the more traditional graduate students as well as with the mid-career professionals in the program. I have run 4 marathons and I am a certified personal trainer. I say all this to make a point: youth or age are meaningless for most jobs. No one is asking anyone to move two-ton rocks from a quarry to the pyramid site. If asked, most companies who practice age discrimination probably do not even know why they do it. Age discrimination is a psychological relic of an old paradigm where people’s minds and bodies were wearing out by age 40 from years of farm or factory work. Let’s all just grow up.

  • Terrie

    As I have said in other communications, I have been asked outright discriminatory questions, passed two phone interviews then turned down when the discovered my age, told they were only looking for individuals with degrees and less than 2 years of work experience, asked how long I plan to work…the list goes on. I am also on my second career and find this type of profiling unfair. Since the average person only stays at a job for 2-5 years our age shouldn’t matter.

  • Terrie

    As I have said in other communications, I have been asked outright discriminatory questions, passed two phone interviews then turned down when the discovered my age, told they were only looking for individuals with degrees and less than 2 years of work experience, asked how long I plan to work…the list goes on. I am also on my second career and find this type of profiling unfair. Since the average person only stays at a job for 2-5 years our age shouldn’t matter.

  • I was told by a headhunter to remove my dates in order to at least have a fighting chance. Some say put the dates back. I would rather leave the dates off and highlight my accomplishments. This is after I received a telephone call about a position at a major firm in Atlanta. The recruiting firm was very interested in me and felt I was ‘perfect’ for the job. The hiring company conducted a telephone interview that went well. So I was asked to come into the recruitment firm’s office to complete the paperwork. When I got to the recruiting office the job was no longer available. Maybe I should have covered my partially gray hair.

  • I was told by a headhunter to remove my dates in order to at least have a fighting chance. Some say put the dates back. I would rather leave the dates off and highlight my accomplishments. This is after I received a telephone call about a position at a major firm in Atlanta. The recruiting firm was very interested in me and felt I was ‘perfect’ for the job. The hiring company conducted a telephone interview that went well. So I was asked to come into the recruitment firm’s office to complete the paperwork. When I got to the recruiting office the job was no longer available. Maybe I should have covered my partially gray hair.

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  • Thanks everyone for all the great comments on this subject. It is a hotly contested issue to be sure. And, in truth, we all want to do everything we can to get that opportunity to prove ourselves. Even if the eventual odds of getting a job there are small.

    I will tell you that my personal opinion is “don’t try to hide it”. Because I’d rather know that the hiring company is looking for someone different in advance of my wasting days or weeks pursuing a job there. That is just a waste of time . . .

  • Thanks everyone for all the great comments on this subject. It is a hotly contested issue to be sure. And, in truth, we all want to do everything we can to get that opportunity to prove ourselves. Even if the eventual odds of getting a job there are small.

    I will tell you that my personal opinion is “don’t try to hide it”. Because I’d rather know that the hiring company is looking for someone different in advance of my wasting days or weeks pursuing a job there. That is just a waste of time . . .

  • Terrie

    I worked for years, quit to take care of family, went back to school at 50 and got my degree and teaching credential (bad timing). This in it self should show great energy, determination, and commitment, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I didn’t hide my age and listed the date of my first education in the 70’s, trying to be a transparent as possible. When I didn’t get calls I removed the date of my degrees. Unfortunately all of my recent job experience is in education. My experience in sales support, customer services, and finance are all too old to list and my free-lance work is really difficult for an employer to verify. So I have the combination of age and a career that is difficult to transfer into other work.

  • Terrie

    I worked for years, quit to take care of family, went back to school at 50 and got my degree and teaching credential (bad timing). This in it self should show great energy, determination, and commitment, but it doesn’t seem to matter. I didn’t hide my age and listed the date of my first education in the 70’s, trying to be a transparent as possible. When I didn’t get calls I removed the date of my degrees. Unfortunately all of my recent job experience is in education. My experience in sales support, customer services, and finance are all too old to list and my free-lance work is really difficult for an employer to verify. So I have the combination of age and a career that is difficult to transfer into other work.

  • Cherryl Oake

    I worked for 23 years in the Human Resources field and can honestly say that we did not consider age a factor as much as physical illnesses, limitations and restrictions. We had questionnaires and tests built around those qualities. Benefits and sick (unhealthy) employees are VERY expensive.

    Three years ago, I made a major career change. I am now involved in a different industry that absolutely DOES NOT discriminate on ANYTHING. You are compensated for your own efforts. You don’t have to lunch or golf with the right people . . . or wait for some poor soul to die, in order to receive a promotion or an increase in pay. Without question, the BEST decision I have ever made.

  • ferd

    Employers who discriminate by age don’t realize the opportunities they are missing. If they continue to hire cheap inexperienced staff then soon they will be a low quality, ineffective company. And the age limit keeps getting lower! Now it’s 35?!
    Folks who are older and still interesting in working need to get together and start new companies to compete against those discriminating companies. They’re making it easy for you — they’re dumping their experience and refusing to replace it. Get together several “over 40” people who know an industry, know how things work and the tricks of the trade, and have contacts and industry-specific marketing savvy. A group like this might even have enough personal resources to pool together and get started, or good credit ratings to secure bank loans. The learning curve should be pretty short, and customers should prefer to work with hungry but competant companies rather than an established name company with poor products and slow problem resolution. Since the old companies are diluting themselves, now is the time to take advantage and eat their lunches.

  • ferd

    Employers who discriminate by age don’t realize the opportunities they are missing. If they continue to hire cheap inexperienced staff then soon they will be a low quality, ineffective company. And the age limit keeps getting lower! Now it’s 35?!
    Folks who are older and still interesting in working need to get together and start new companies to compete against those discriminating companies. They’re making it easy for you — they’re dumping their experience and refusing to replace it. Get together several “over 40” people who know an industry, know how things work and the tricks of the trade, and have contacts and industry-specific marketing savvy. A group like this might even have enough personal resources to pool together and get started, or good credit ratings to secure bank loans. The learning curve should be pretty short, and customers should prefer to work with hungry but competant companies rather than an established name company with poor products and slow problem resolution. Since the old companies are diluting themselves, now is the time to take advantage and eat their lunches.

  • Having worked 25 years as a Designer then later Creative Director for a cooperative communcations and graphic design firm – unique for our industry – and seen the change (some wonderful some not so) in attitudes toward me as I aged (now 56) has been a fascinating journey. I’ve sat in large board rooms, small business circles, I’ve interacted with CEO’s, marketing managers, spirited entrepreneurs and mum and dad start-ups. Some constants remain important regardless of age; capability, knowledge and value.

    I think the only way to overcome your perceived age limitations is to act no differently (as most of us don’t age in our mind) to when you aggressively went out to start your career, the difference is you now have the experience your younger competitors can’t come near to match. Of course many of you are actively looking for employment, why not take your skills and create your business. Or as someone commented earlier, start an over 40’s highly spirited, highly competitive alternative business which will trump those under 40’s dominated inexperienced businesses every time.

  • Having worked 25 years as a Designer then later Creative Director for a cooperative communcations and graphic design firm – unique for our industry – and seen the change (some wonderful some not so) in attitudes toward me as I aged (now 56) has been a fascinating journey. I’ve sat in large board rooms, small business circles, I’ve interacted with CEO’s, marketing managers, spirited entrepreneurs and mum and dad start-ups. Some constants remain important regardless of age; capability, knowledge and value.

    I think the only way to overcome your perceived age limitations is to act no differently (as most of us don’t age in our mind) to when you aggressively went out to start your career, the difference is you now have the experience your younger competitors can’t come near to match. Of course many of you are actively looking for employment, why not take your skills and create your business. Or as someone commented earlier, start an over 40’s highly spirited, highly competitive alternative business which will trump those under 40’s dominated inexperienced businesses every time.

  • Cherryl Oake

    I worked for 23 years in the Human Resources field and can honestly say that we did not consider age a factor as much as physical illnesses, limitations and restrictions. We had questionnaires and tests built around those qualities. Benefits and sick (unhealthy) employees are VERY expensive.

    Three years ago, I made a major career change. I am now involved in a different industry that absolutely DOES NOT discriminate on ANYTHING. You are compensated for your own efforts. You don’t have to lunch or golf with the right people . . . or wait for some poor soul to die, in order to receive a promotion or an increase in pay. Without question, the BEST decision I have ever made.

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  • Carol Bremar

    How do you prove discrimination in hiring?

    • Hi Carol – There very well may be stories of those who have tried. I don’t know of any success rate. Nor am I sure whether the effort is worth the carrying. Unfortunately, it is one of those subtle acts that may never be proven. But I do know that the right job is out there for us all. Where the company will want all the maturity and smarts that you can muster.

  • Carol Bremar

    How do you prove discrimination in hiring?

    • Hi Carol – There very well may be stories of those who have tried. I don’t know of any success rate. Nor am I sure whether the effort is worth the carrying. Unfortunately, it is one of those subtle acts that may never be proven. But I do know that the right job is out there for us all. Where the company will want all the maturity and smarts that you can muster.

  • Erik

    This blog post caught my 43 year old eyes.

    If you doubt that age discrimination is taking place in the job market, then attend a job club in your community. You will see not many 20 somethings, but many 40 and older somethings. I say this to preface my comments below.

    For a moment, think of where the hiring manager may be thinking – wrong or right – about a job seeker in the over 40 crowd.

    1) You may cost more than they want to pay. They may want an entry level person or minimal experience, and not a veteran. For example, when a position is asking for 2 years experience, that equates to less money. Why apply for the job when you have 7 or more years?

    2) You may have “baggage” from your previous job experience. It only takes a moment to Google someone, and whatever you have posted is out there.

    3) You may come across as “old” in your mindset, and not willing to see a younger point of view.

    4) The culture may not be what you are looking for, or they may not think you would fit it to their culture. Let’s face it, what 20 something wants to go out after work with a co worker old enough to be their dad?

    Don’t get me wrong – discrimination stinks. But if they don’t want you around, then go look elsewhere for work. There are better companies to work for who will value your experience.

    • Well said, Erik. You are right that the 20 somethings have little interest in networking with the 40+. They are all very happy (and very successful) chatting each other up on Facebook. Where the rest of us (40+) need to be spending more time! Agree strongly that applying for the right jobs is crucial.

  • Erik

    This blog post caught my 43 year old eyes.

    If you doubt that age discrimination is taking place in the job market, then attend a job club in your community. You will see not many 20 somethings, but many 40 and older somethings. I say this to preface my comments below.

    For a moment, think of where the hiring manager may be thinking – wrong or right – about a job seeker in the over 40 crowd.

    1) You may cost more than they want to pay. They may want an entry level person or minimal experience, and not a veteran. For example, when a position is asking for 2 years experience, that equates to less money. Why apply for the job when you have 7 or more years?

    2) You may have “baggage” from your previous job experience. It only takes a moment to Google someone, and whatever you have posted is out there.

    3) You may come across as “old” in your mindset, and not willing to see a younger point of view.

    4) The culture may not be what you are looking for, or they may not think you would fit it to their culture. Let’s face it, what 20 something wants to go out after work with a co worker old enough to be their dad?

    Don’t get me wrong – discrimination stinks. But if they don’t want you around, then go look elsewhere for work. There are better companies to work for who will value your experience.

    • Well said, Erik. You are right that the 20 somethings have little interest in networking with the 40+. They are all very happy (and very successful) chatting each other up on Facebook. Where the rest of us (40+) need to be spending more time! Agree strongly that applying for the right jobs is crucial.

  • Pat

    The reality is that it is very easy to find out how old someone is through an internet search. It may be illegal for potential employers to do, but it is a frequent component of pre-screening tools. So hiding age on resumes doesn’t do much good in the long run.

    Unfortunately, given the “jobless recovery” many of us over 50 will likely never again be able to have a real career-focused job, with benefits and a decent salary. So Ferd’s suggestion about starting new companies may be the only option. I and 4 other talented executives are collaborating to build a busness. We unofficially call ourselves “Geezers Who Get It”. And by the way, we can rock LinkedIn and Facebook better than our offspring!

    • Hi Pat – Thanks for your thoughts here. Good luck on the new business!

  • Pat

    The reality is that it is very easy to find out how old someone is through an internet search. It may be illegal for potential employers to do, but it is a frequent component of pre-screening tools. So hiding age on resumes doesn’t do much good in the long run.

    Unfortunately, given the “jobless recovery” many of us over 50 will likely never again be able to have a real career-focused job, with benefits and a decent salary. So Ferd’s suggestion about starting new companies may be the only option. I and 4 other talented executives are collaborating to build a busness. We unofficially call ourselves “Geezers Who Get It”. And by the way, we can rock LinkedIn and Facebook better than our offspring!

    • Hi Pat – Thanks for your thoughts here. Good luck on the new business!

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  • Richard Carter

    Here’s the reality: They discriminate.
    It’s illegal, so what. There’s no enforcement, and there’s no way to catch them at it beyond recording the interview.
    We have all gone through it. We know it when it’s happening.
    One of the best methods I’ve seen that was told to me many years ago was a gentleman who applied for a position he knew he was qualified for. He also knew he was being discriminated against. (I won’t say which form.) At the end of the interview, which was being conducted by a very young HR person, he simply asked if he could use the phone on her desk. She said it was fine. He picked up the receiver, looked at here and told her he was qualified, and he knew he was being discriminated against; and that if they didn’t hire him on the spot, he was calling his lawyer to begin proceedings. The HR person ran away and came back about ten minutes later stating he was hired. He worked there for a number of years.
    In effect, he put his foot down. Sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself.

  • Richard Carter

    Here’s the reality: They discriminate.
    It’s illegal, so what. There’s no enforcement, and there’s no way to catch them at it beyond recording the interview.
    We have all gone through it. We know it when it’s happening.
    One of the best methods I’ve seen that was told to me many years ago was a gentleman who applied for a position he knew he was qualified for. He also knew he was being discriminated against. (I won’t say which form.) At the end of the interview, which was being conducted by a very young HR person, he simply asked if he could use the phone on her desk. She said it was fine. He picked up the receiver, looked at here and told her he was qualified, and he knew he was being discriminated against; and that if they didn’t hire him on the spot, he was calling his lawyer to begin proceedings. The HR person ran away and came back about ten minutes later stating he was hired. He worked there for a number of years.
    In effect, he put his foot down. Sometimes you just have to stand up for yourself.

  • Richard Carter

    Pat,
    You are correct. I doubt we will again be considered. The best thing we can do is compete directly with them. I have been working on the same idea. Contact me via LinkedIn. You have the name, search for Minneapolis.
    Let’s talk and see if we can’t increase our efforts.

  • Richard Carter

    Pat,
    You are correct. I doubt we will again be considered. The best thing we can do is compete directly with them. I have been working on the same idea. Contact me via LinkedIn. You have the name, search for Minneapolis.
    Let’s talk and see if we can’t increase our efforts.

  • Gloria Ritenour

    I think my age being 62 almost 63 has affected my thinking about my future finding a job. I really would like to have a full time permanent position either in education, or in an office setting since I have split my career in both directions over the past 30 years… however, my age has left me wondering if I should just settle for substitute teaching and collecting social security at this point since I don’t have stability in one career or another but have split my years working in two different types of industry…one as a middle/high school English, speech and theater arts teacher and the other working 8 years as a Business Development Coordinator, Communications Coordinator and Administrative Staff Member in a variety of real estate companies, both large and small. Other Administrative and Secretarial experiences have been in a variety of both Federal government and private industry settings. So I am very eclectic in my background and know this presents stability issues for any future employer. ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW I CAN LOOK AT THIS TYPE OF BACKGROUND, COUPLED WITH MY AGE REGARDING HOW TO PRESENT MYSELF AND ALSO HOW TO BETTER LOOK AT THIS SITUATION GIVEN THE PRESENT JOB MARKET. THANK YOU! Gloria

    • @Richard – Wow, that took some guts and I am frankly surprised at how that story ended. Threats are not usually responded to that way. . . .

      @Gloria – Having an eclectic background in this economy can be a challenge. And only you know your situation well enough to determine whether it is time to settle in to a part time role. But I will say that networking is your best option. Using LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to re-connect with your work community. Getting out to events so that you are not just a “resume” but a known entity to companies looking for smart people. If you’d like, I can send you a few links to posts on networking strategy if you are not already an expert. Would also be happy to share a few quick ideas over the phone! Let me know . . .

    • Suzahmed1

      Gloria, I hope you don’t give up! You have a lot to offer!

  • Gloria Ritenour

    I think my age being 62 almost 63 has affected my thinking about my future finding a job. I really would like to have a full time permanent position either in education, or in an office setting since I have split my career in both directions over the past 30 years… however, my age has left me wondering if I should just settle for substitute teaching and collecting social security at this point since I don’t have stability in one career or another but have split my years working in two different types of industry…one as a middle/high school English, speech and theater arts teacher and the other working 8 years as a Business Development Coordinator, Communications Coordinator and Administrative Staff Member in a variety of real estate companies, both large and small. Other Administrative and Secretarial experiences have been in a variety of both Federal government and private industry settings. So I am very eclectic in my background and know this presents stability issues for any future employer. ANY THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW I CAN LOOK AT THIS TYPE OF BACKGROUND, COUPLED WITH MY AGE REGARDING HOW TO PRESENT MYSELF AND ALSO HOW TO BETTER LOOK AT THIS SITUATION GIVEN THE PRESENT JOB MARKET. THANK YOU! Gloria

    • @Richard – Wow, that took some guts and I am frankly surprised at how that story ended. Threats are not usually responded to that way. . . .

      @Gloria – Having an eclectic background in this economy can be a challenge. And only you know your situation well enough to determine whether it is time to settle in to a part time role. But I will say that networking is your best option. Using LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to re-connect with your work community. Getting out to events so that you are not just a “resume” but a known entity to companies looking for smart people. If you’d like, I can send you a few links to posts on networking strategy if you are not already an expert. Would also be happy to share a few quick ideas over the phone! Let me know . . .

  • Bill Doerr

    I am absolutely bowled over by the frank exchange of information concerning age-related job discrimination on this website. I always read anything I see in magazines, newspapers, and other print media concerning age-related discrimination in the workplace, and it all pretty much has an unrealistic feel to it. That is certainly not the case here.

    I am an older worker, looking to change my occupation. I feel a little anxious about sharing too much information about myself in a public forum, but from what I’ve gleaned from this website, honest networking is the key to combat discrimination, and honest networking appears to require TMI of a personal nature.

    Well… here goes, within limits.

    In December 2002 I was diagnosed with a serious health issue, an issue that changed the physical quality of my life. As a result of this health problem, and the remedial surgery, I now have difficulty walking. This precluded my return to the type of work I had done for over 25 years, work which had of a fairly physical nature to it.

    I was put on long-term disability by my employer, and more or less left to my own devices when it came to supporting my wife and 2 children, and paying my home mortgage and other bills. I did recieve long term disability payments, but it only amounted to about 50% of my pre-injury income, and was only designed to last for a 2 year period. I needed to do something to regain my job marketability, and to do it fast. I returned to college, courtesy of a state veteran’s program that paid for tuition at state colleges/universites,and the GI Bill, and completed the degree I had been piddling with for over 25 years.

    I graduated after 2 years of really hard work and skyrocketing debt, and because I couldn’t strike any sparks anywhere else, I wound up working for my former employer, again, at a different, less physically demanding job.

    To be totally honest, I felt blessed beyond words to be back to work, but it’s NOT what I wanted to do after getting my degree. The income is decent, but I work weekends, and now that my youngest is starting Kindergarten (yes, I have 2 daughters: a 5 year-old AND a 12 year-old, and yes, I am a little old for this; that’s the crux of this whole problem.) I want to get off of weekend work, AND do some that has a little more responsibility, which usually translates into a higher paycheck. I want to use my experience and my education, but I believe that my age (over 50) gets in the way.

    I really believe that networking, as prescribed by Tim, is the only way to get past the old attitudes that keep older workers from suceeding the way they should. I would appreciate any feedback that anyone has that will help me network, and help me to to get to where I want to be.

    Thanks for giving me the space to lay this all out. I am grateful.

    Best regards,
    Bill Doerr

    • Hi Bill – Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is a big issue and your experience well-defines how it can get complicated even more. You are right that your answer is in networking. When a third party endorses you, it gives a hiring manager pause. A reason to reconsider any prejudice they may carry.

      I have a lot of content on the site on the subject of networking. You can see it here: Networking Strategy.

      I’d also be happy to chat with you over the phone to learn more about your situation and provide some more targeted ideas. Let me know!

  • Bill Doerr

    I am absolutely bowled over by the frank exchange of information concerning age-related job discrimination on this website. I always read anything I see in magazines, newspapers, and other print media concerning age-related discrimination in the workplace, and it all pretty much has an unrealistic feel to it. That is certainly not the case here.

    I am an older worker, looking to change my occupation. I feel a little anxious about sharing too much information about myself in a public forum, but from what I’ve gleaned from this website, honest networking is the key to combat discrimination, and honest networking appears to require TMI of a personal nature.

    Well… here goes, within limits.

    In December 2002 I was diagnosed with a serious health issue, an issue that changed the physical quality of my life. As a result of this health problem, and the remedial surgery, I now have difficulty walking. This precluded my return to the type of work I had done for over 25 years, work which had of a fairly physical nature to it.

    I was put on long-term disability by my employer, and more or less left to my own devices when it came to supporting my wife and 2 children, and paying my home mortgage and other bills. I did recieve long term disability payments, but it only amounted to about 50% of my pre-injury income, and was only designed to last for a 2 year period. I needed to do something to regain my job marketability, and to do it fast. I returned to college, courtesy of a state veteran’s program that paid for tuition at state colleges/universites,and the GI Bill, and completed the degree I had been piddling with for over 25 years.

    I graduated after 2 years of really hard work and skyrocketing debt, and because I couldn’t strike any sparks anywhere else, I wound up working for my former employer, again, at a different, less physically demanding job.

    To be totally honest, I felt blessed beyond words to be back to work, but it’s NOT what I wanted to do after getting my degree. The income is decent, but I work weekends, and now that my youngest is starting Kindergarten (yes, I have 2 daughters: a 5 year-old AND a 12 year-old, and yes, I am a little old for this; that’s the crux of this whole problem.) I want to get off of weekend work, AND do some that has a little more responsibility, which usually translates into a higher paycheck. I want to use my experience and my education, but I believe that my age (over 50) gets in the way.

    I really believe that networking, as prescribed by Tim, is the only way to get past the old attitudes that keep older workers from suceeding the way they should. I would appreciate any feedback that anyone has that will help me network, and help me to to get to where I want to be.

    Thanks for giving me the space to lay this all out. I am grateful.

    Best regards,
    Bill Doerr

    • Hi Bill – Thank you so much for sharing your story. This is a big issue and your experience well-defines how it can get complicated even more. You are right that your answer is in networking. When a third party endorses you, it gives a hiring manager pause. A reason to reconsider any prejudice they may carry.

      I have a lot of content on the site on the subject of networking. You can see it here: Networking Strategy.

      I’d also be happy to chat with you over the phone to learn more about your situation and provide some more targeted ideas. Let me know!

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  • I go with the first option, myself. Good discussion of the two options, I thought.

    • Yeah, this is a tough decision for many people. You fear “giving yourself up” if you are honest and upfront. With the chance to prove your self in person with a great presence.

      But perhaps doing so wastes valuable time if companies have discriminatory hiring practices or are simply looking for someone “younger”.

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  • Pronto212

    What a Joke – Resume info is irrevelant -TODAY ALL EMPLOYERS CHECK THE INTERNET SITES LIKE PIPL AND FIND OUT YOUR AGE INSTANTLY – THAT DISQUALIFIES YOU IMMEDIATELY WHEN THEY FIND OUT YOUR OVER 50 – I had many positive responses then nothing – yes, checked out via the web and saw my age (62) forgetaboutit

    • Where discrimination occurs, there’s not much you can do. But I encourage you to stop relying on your resume anyway. Instead get out of the house and network with people. Make your age less of an issue (if it is for someone) by showing off your brand and personality in public!

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  • William

    I am sick of being not only refused jobs, but also not even being considered because of my age.  I am 59, but how do I prove discrimination?  I write back/email the companies concerned in the hope that sooner or later one of them will slip up and tell the truth.  All I ask is be bloody honest and admit that they don’t want to hire an older employee!

  • William

    I am sick of being not only refused jobs, but also not even being considered because of my age.  I am 59, but how do I prove discrimination?  I write back/email the companies concerned in the hope that sooner or later one of them will slip up and tell the truth.  All I ask is be bloody honest and admit that they don’t want to hire an older employee!

    • Hi William – Obviously this type of discrimination is very difficult to prove and likely not worth your valuable time.  But I hear your frustration.  Thanks for that comment.

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  • Age is one of a couple areas in which I have very real reservations about **not** allowing discrimination. I prefer youth to experience on a variety of cultural and pragmatic issues but am, essentially, barred from building an Organization according to those principles.

    Or, at least, modifying practices to build it in such a way that it is not legal discrimination.

    • Hey Vince and thanks for that viewpoint. I would agree there are jobs where someone younger in their career might fit the bill better. Or perhaps someone who is more open to the ideas or methods that the role would require.

    • Doubly frustrating in that young people have no protection.


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