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Maybe I'm not so paranoid after all...
Old 09-18-2007, 04:12 PM   #1
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Maybe I'm not so paranoid after all...

Being a worrier and somewhat of a pessimist (although I think of it as realism), I felt that there was some age discrimination going on in my job situation as I got into my middle and then late forties and then early fifties.
I was dependent on referrals from counselors in the state agency, most of whom were much younger than me. I felt that my expertise and experience were not being valued by them; they preferred to refer to younger people whom they could hang out with socially. My employer even made comments about wanting to hire an attractive younger person for the receptionist job (which I know a lot of companies do want to have some eye candy for the first impression, but to admit it?) and wanting "energetic, enthuasiastic young people" (even though some of us older folk actually were more productive and stable, with better work ethics and less personal distractions). DH, when he got laid off in his forties, was unable to find another pharmaceutical sales job because drug companies at that point had started to hire young women in their twenties and a forty something male just wasn't what they were looking for, even though he had years of successful experience. (They have now been concentrating on hiring college cheerleaders, regardless of their major---I kid you not! Maybe that is why drug costs are skyrocketing---keeping them in pom poms gets costly!

But now I feel vindicated, like it wasn't all in my head. In this week's Newsweek, an article by Jane Bryant Quinn on ER says that "40% of retirees are forced to leave work earlier than they planned. After your 50th birthday, your employment options narrow. If you're twenty years older than your boss. you can assume your days are numbered. You have to be ready if your boss, your knees, or your spirit cries "halt."

I wonder why this is the case. I guess society just became more and more youth-oriented. But years ago, I thought most people were able to stay employed until 65 or whenever they wanted to leave. Too bad experience and maturity is no longer valued....
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:27 PM   #2
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Not paranoid at all. It appears to me, looking from the outside that psychotherapist and attorney are 2 occupations that are relatively resistant to age difficulties. Of the course the best of all is US Senator or Representative!

Ha
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:47 PM   #3
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What you have stated is one of the many reasons why people should start working towards becoming FI at an early age.
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Old 09-18-2007, 04:54 PM   #4
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You are dead on. Age Discrimination definitely occurs. And People do get forced out.

It is a fact! The problem is that most companies know ways around getting caught.

Plus, so far it is not against the law for the boss to be an @$$h0!3 as long as they do not disciminate!
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:33 PM   #5
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I've heard it said in high technology fields that the point at which one's "experience premium" becomes seen as "compensation in excess of worth" occurs at around 10 years of work experience.

This implies that age discrimination begins in that field around age 35.

Guess 40 is the new 60 (!!!)
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:36 PM   #6
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When I was laid off in March, along with about 300 others, the majority of us were in our fifties. We were offered a choice of two severance packages which were based on two different computations of cash payments plus some temporary health coverage. In order to get the higher amount of cash we had to sign a waiver saying that we would not sue the company for several things, including age discrimination. Those who refused to sign, only two that I know of, got significantly less cash when they walked out the door.

Age discrimination is alive and well, and it's not just your boss that you have to worry about if he's younger than you. The same thing happens in job interviews, as I've learned the hard way.
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Old 09-18-2007, 05:47 PM   #7
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I see age discrimination all the time. Once you accept that it's there and can't be changed, it can be pretty funny at times! Well, maybe I have a twisted sense of humor. And I only mean in the context of my job, which I still have! A lot of the young, inexperienced employees that are in favor, think they are really slick and some of the more experienced folks lead them on, and it can be hilarious.

Yes, I agree that the reality of age discrimination is a good reason to plan for FI at an early age. You can always continue working and let the $$ grow, if you don't encounter this type of thing.
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:00 PM   #8
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My old Mega-Corp actually valued experience. When I decided to RE at 58, my boss (<50, I think) kinda begged me to stay another year. Since he had no $$ incentives to offer (and because he and Mega-Corp had been good to me) I gave him 90 days.

Replacement, who I approved as the best of the bunch, is 38 and (mildly) screwing up.
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Old 09-18-2007, 06:54 PM   #9
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...we had to sign a waiver saying that we would not sue the company for several things, including age discrimination...
I have been told that the practice is common.
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Old 09-18-2007, 07:16 PM   #10
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What is sick is that here in Italy, it's perfectly permissible to discriminate by age and sex, so you still see job adverts that say "under 40" or "young attractive girl 20-30" only need apply. Part of the reason is state incentives to businesses that hire "the young" (which in Italy is anyone under 30-40, the average age at which they eventually leave "home"). A business hiring a "young" worker not only pays less according to the nationalized union contracts, but gets some kind of extra bennie. This is in theory to combat high unemployment among the "youth".

The absurdity of it all is apparent when you see ads (not kidding) for "experienced" COBOL programmers under 30.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:30 PM   #11
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What is sick is that here in Italy, it's perfectly permissible to discriminate by age and sex, so you still see job adverts that say "under 40" or "young attractive girl 20-30" only need apply.
You know, it's not good that they are allowed to do this, however it does at least bring some honesty to the situation. So many older people waste time applying for positions that they have absolutely no hope of getting due to age - and I say that as someone who falls into the bracket where I know it is harder to get a job due to age.
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Old 09-18-2007, 08:40 PM   #12
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keeping them in pom poms gets costly!
"Pom poms"? Is that what the kids are calling them these days?!?
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:04 PM   #13
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I have been told that the practice is common.
Absolutely. Very common at my former MegaCorp with more than 100,000 employees -- and I was a bit surprised to see nearly the same language on severence agreements at my last employer (which had less than 50 employees.)

That said, yes, employers know/find subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways to weed out or not hire people over 40. 40 may be the new 30 -- but not so much in corporate America!
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:27 AM   #14
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An advantage to having a nationalized health plan and 401k / IRA retirement funding, is that they are portable. When you loose your highly compensated position due to age discrimination at 50 yo, at least you'd be able to accept a lower paying position with another employer without worrying about health care coverage or pension continuity.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:15 AM   #15
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The absurdity of it all is apparent when you see ads (not kidding) for "experienced" COBOL programmers under 30.

gosh... they are out of touch with reality. The only people I know under 40 that do COBOL are people the company went to great expense to train. Think Cobol is bad. Try to find an assembler programmer for Business Applications on a Mainframe.

Keep those COBOL skills up. One day, you will be able to be and extremely high paid consultant.
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:54 PM   #16
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True story from a long-ago Mega-corp: top dog's mistress from the typing pool told me he dropped her like a hot-potato when she turned 25. She remained employed but it wasn't as much fun.
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Old 09-21-2007, 09:27 AM   #17
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Sadly, it's natural for older employees to be coaxed or forced to leave many occupations for the sake of company efficiency. They have 6 weeks vacation, aren't as likely to want to relocate, will probably have more health issues (take more paid sick days), are more likely to be jaded in their outlook, less welcoming of change, and likely not as physically robust as a youngster. It ain't right, it ain't fair, but it is what it is. Make sure you're ready for it.
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Old 09-21-2007, 09:30 AM   #18
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Make sure you're ready for it.
At least they're paying me to go away...
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Old 09-21-2007, 11:58 AM   #19
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Sadly, it's natural for older employees to be coaxed or forced to leave many occupations for the sake of company efficiency. They have 6 weeks vacation, aren't as likely to want to relocate, will probably have more health issues (take more paid sick days), are more likely to be jaded in their outlook, less welcoming of change, and likely not as physically robust as a youngster. It ain't right, it ain't fair, but it is what it is. Make sure you're ready for it.
Grizz, I wonder if it's really the case that older employees have more absences. I do realize that more goes wrong as you get older. But many of us older people are healthy and many younger people, if not unhealthy, certainly seek medical care and stay at home when they have the slightest physical complaint. When I worked, I missed much less work in my late forties and early fifties than the twenty and thirty-somethings. Older people are much less apt to have to nurse hangovers, stay out for sick kids, stay out because of a late night, etc. And---I know the younger folk here will disagree with me---I really think us middle aged folks may be more stoic about dealing with some aches and pains, whereas kids have been brought up to be so wimpy about functioning when feeling a little under the weather. As a school kid in the sixties, no one ever went home because they weren't feeling well, unless they were deemed contagious and with a high fever. You didn't go home just because you had a stomach ache! It was very rare for a schoolage kid to have any diagnosed physical problem, such as migraines, food allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, psychiatric issues, and so on. I've worked with kids in the school system who regularly stayed home for one to three days because of menstrual cramps! So since we were raised more to suck it up and try to stick it out, combine that with a superior work ethic---and it seems like older workers would be absent less, not more, as some research has shown (that they take fewer sick days off and on, although there may be more extended periods of absence and they take longer to heal after an injury).
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Old 09-21-2007, 01:19 PM   #20
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...combine that with a superior work ethic---
cough cough... doesn't do much to explain all the Retired-in-Place tenured co-slaves I have to deal with daily.
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