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Old 03-20-2012, 10:14 PM   #21
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I think part of the dynamic is that older employees are often higher paid because they've risen through the ranks to some extent...and therefore very few if any of them are making an "entry level" wage. Employers need a mix of low-paid and high-paid, skilled and unskilled, new and experienced...it's this diversity that is so valuable in business IMO.

At our MegaCorp, we do have a few older workers who have always been happy doing entry level work, are reliable, do their work with pride and efficiency, and have a maturity that is admirable. These people don't get laid off when business turns down.

IMO many older workers don't get hired because the hiring manager has a stereotype of the characteristics that come with older people. If you are an older employee, you can focus during your application and hiring interview processes on breaking that sterotype. Show energy! Show you're eager to learn! Show that you don't have to be the top dog immediately upon being hired! Show that you're tech savvy! Show that you're flexible about the assignments you take! Break the mold and I think they'll hire you.

I have people reporting to me...and their age means little to me. I must admit that the "eagerness to learn" is something appealing to me, and is more often displayed by younger employees than older ones...you can give them nearly any assignment with no groaning...but sometimes the older employees have more of a "I don't like that work, give me something else" attitude. But again I stress, it's the characteristic I look for, not the age. It's just that some characteristics are more often displayed by certain age groups, but painting with a broad brush is dangerous.

The main way to do well in business is to add value to anything you do. Work hard/smart enough that they say "we really need Dave around, he can do things others can't, or he will do any job we ask with energy, or he is always reliable getting his assignments done on time"...etc.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:29 PM   #22
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I hope the young folks learn from what happened to the old folks. When they tire of 60+ hour weeks and are burnt out, they will also be cast onto the scrap heap of expendable resources.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:04 PM   #23
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4 year employee... They came to move me to another department due to imminent layoffs. I w*rked rings around 2 others and never overtime (unlike them) and then I dropped the bomb (ER) on them. They asked me to stay as long as I could to train my replacement.
They wanted to let go a 78 year old guy... They kept him.
I really respected them for not laying him off the 3 times in the past couple years.
Small companies tend to look at the true value of good, knowledgeable employees.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:07 PM   #24
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For a little bit of good news:
A 50+ friend of mine was laid off last September due to state budget cutbacks. Although in private she lamented that "no one wants to hire a fat old woman", she did all the right things and kept her public attitude positive and professional, and she started her new job earlier this month. She was out of work less than 6 months. Yes, she would have preferred less than 6 weeks, but she stuck it out and loves her new position, and they are happy to have her experience.
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:18 PM   #25
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Oh, my friends! Young or old workers, don't we want them to work hard, so that their business will be more profitable, and their stocks will pay us retirees much in dividends, so that we can sit around at home chatting on forums?
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Old 03-20-2012, 11:43 PM   #26
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I made the earlier comment regarding younger people willing to work hard, because I have read that the unemployment rate is higher among the 20-something.

Then, just now finished watching a 60 Minutes piece on the Millenial Generation. It said that the younger folks in their 20s were self-absorbed, spoiled, and would not go the extra mile for their employers. It was like Midpack described below.

So, what's the truth? The TV piece above was old. Perhaps the Great Recession has changed them?
That "60 Minutes" segment is being shown again on CNBC right now. I recall when it aired a few years ago and was stunned by the laziness of the millenials. For example, I'd be pretty annoyed if I ever got a call from the parent of someone I gave a bad performance evaluation to.

I was on a teamwork and morale task force at my former company back in the mid-1990s. Out of it came some good ideas to boost morale for us employees but we still had to put in the hours (and I mean ~40, not 60+) and be responsible for our work performance. I would have a hard time hiring any of these millenials, as I recall having to recommend firing a guy in the late 1990s whose behavior and attitude were very similar to those shown in the 60 Minutes segment. He liked to party and was bad at his work. We were not going to let him continue being a burden to the rest of our staff, so if he could not get his act together, he had to go (and we let him go).
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:33 AM   #27
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Had lunch with a good friend over the weekend. She has her own business, specialized professional recruiting, and when we get together she always has insights into the economy and hiring in certain business segments. One thing she has helped me understand in the past was how companies practice age based hiring. This get together was to catch up and we only spent a few minutes talking business but one thing she said is that age discrimination is getting worse, businesses that are hiring have lowered the age threshold and now are not hiring people past their early 40’s. Also surprising was the reason – I suggested health care costs, but her view is those extra costs don’t make that much of a difference, and employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.

Ours is a tough economy and, if this is true and widespread, older unemployed people are in for a long, hard time. All the more reason to start saving early.
Agree, all of my 50+ friends in the tech biz have found that once they are let go getting back in is nearly impossible. Why hire a 50+ when they can snag a 35yr old whom they feel is more "fit" and able to do the 6-7 day a week routine.
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Old 03-21-2012, 06:07 AM   #28
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IMO the hidden reason for superiors not wanting to hire people older than themself very often is fear that the older person is more experienced and might not fully respect a younger superior.
Of course such concern is well hidden behind the (self-) praise that youngsters are willing to do whatever it takes...
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:21 AM   #29
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I hope the young folks learn from what happened to the old folks. When they tire of 60+ hour weeks and are burnt out, they will also be cast onto the scrap heap of expendable resources.
Exactly. No one can stay young forever. What they have been doing is just like what some people or even this country has been doing, i.e. overdrafting until broke. Plus if it's a high-tech company, I doubt those 60+ hour weeks would produce more high quality products; instead probably even more bugs which will cost more to fix. This could be an opportunity for high paid consulting jobs.

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IMO the hidden reason for superiors not wanting to hire people older than themself very often is fear that the older person is more experienced and might not fully respect a younger superior.
Of course such concern is well hidden behind the (self-) praise that youngsters are willing to do whatever it takes...
I shared the same feeling. When asked "Can you jump?", the expected answer shall be "How high?". That's the kind of core capacity they are looking for from youngsters instead of stories of arthritis or osteoporosis.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:32 AM   #30
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I'm skeptical of these 60-80 hour uncompensated work weeks. We have been hearing about them for at least 25 years. For much of the time it was bogus self promotion by us boomers about how hard we worked, now it is the demands of evil bosses. Yet every few years someone publishes a study that shows that workers vastly overestimate their hours of work. They may feel like they are slaving away 80 hours but most of them are not. For skilled workers it may be due to the 24x7 electronic tethering that allows us to pop back into work at any time of day and night. For non-skilled, I suspect the vast majority who work long hours get the overtime pay they are entitled to by law. I do agree that some hiring managers may lean toward younger employees because they want people eager to learn and to work hard, although they may be deluded about the lack of those qualities among the 50+ set.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:49 AM   #31
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speaking of older folks:

Working 9 to 5 -- at 75 - SmartMoney.com
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:35 AM   #32
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Reminds me of a Jack@ss I worked 12 years for ... if we had a deliverable deadline (some random date he picked) he would walk the halls and keep tallies on who worked extra hours. Then had the gall to corner people who had kids/lives and question them about why they can't stay longer.

Then came the 3% raises ... then came the MASS EXIT. Funny thing, he sat me down and asked "why is everyone leaving".
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:00 AM   #33
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I Just hope the employers who are intentionally abusing their workforce with longer and longer hours for lower and lower pay -- burn them out and discard them -- because this market lets them get away with it suffer serious brain drain when the pendulum swings the other way and labor has some leverage again. They deserve it.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:43 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NW-Bound View Post
I made the earlier comment regarding younger people willing to work hard, because I have read that the unemployment rate is higher among the 20-something.

Then, just now finished watching a 60 Minutes piece on the Millenial Generation. It said that the younger folks in their 20s were self-absorbed, spoiled, and would not go the extra mile for their employers. It was like Midpack described below.

So, what's the truth? The TV piece above was old. Perhaps the Great Recession has changed them?
We sorta have two (or more) threads going here, surprise.

I think there are two "truths." There are increasingly two classes in America, the upper class - well educated and socialized, and the other class - less educated and skilled. The middle is shrinking (duh).

The upper class has the skills to be productive and they are willing to work very hard, including long hours, no matter what age. The other class increasingly does not have the skillset required to be globally competitive, and many were brought up in households that brought us the millenial described in the 60 minutes piece. It's developed over the last 50 years, and there are generations of hard working upper class families and generations of other class "self-absorbed, spoiled, and would not go the extra mile for their employers." The class trend is reinforcing itself and getting more pervasive. The 50+ workforce is at a disadvantage in both classes, though even more so in competing with younger upper class candidates (tying back to the OP). However, in the other class, the 50+ workforce may have some advantages where pure physical ability isn't primary. Though the other class jobs of course pay poorly in general.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Much of this comes from reading Coming Apart recently, along with other books & articles that seem to conclude same. Still learning...
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:47 AM   #35
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It's developed over the last 50 years, and there are generations of hard working upper class families and generations of other class "self-absorbed, spoiled, and would not go the extra mile for their employers." The class trend is reinforcing itself and getting more pervasive.
Maybe, but as it becomes more and more obvious that more employers are viewing labor as a "necessary evil" instead of a strength -- the more they take advantage of the current job market to crap on their workers with longer hours and lower real compensation even if they are making record profits -- I can't blame anyone for not wanting to go the "extra mile". It's obvious that more and more employers don't give a damn about their employees, so why should employees give a damn about their employer beyond what is reasonable for what they are being paid to do?

It was a lot easier to care when one felt like going the extra mile would be rewarded with more than just "this is what you have to do in order to keep a job, even with lower pay and longer hours."
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:52 AM   #36
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Had lunch with a good friend over the weekend. She has her own business, specialized professional recruiting, and when we get together she always has insights into the economy and hiring in certain business segments. One thing she has helped me understand in the past was how companies practice age based hiring. This get together was to catch up and we only spent a few minutes talking business but one thing she said is that age discrimination is getting worse, businesses that are hiring have lowered the age threshold and now are not hiring people past their early 40’s. Also surprising was the reason – I suggested health care costs, but her view is those extra costs don’t make that much of a difference, and employers are now looking for younger people that are more willing to do “whatever it takes” to “get the job done”. That is, working 60+ hours per week to achieve cost reduction goals that were unthinkable a few years ago using harsh methods that some shy away from.

Ours is a tough economy and, if this is true and widespread, older unemployed people are in for a long, hard time. All the more reason to start saving early.
When there are too many pegs and not enough holes - some pegs always go unused. Throughout my 35 year career, this has always been an issue in the U.S. workforce. Used to be that hard work came with rewards. Now it might buy you a pass when the cyclical layoffs begin (unless you're older). And yes, forget about running "out front" when you're older....

There's something fundamentally wrong (with government) when U.S. companies that have benefited from regulations and quality workforce, can move their jobs off U.S. soil (along with their money) without any government interference. They actually get help from regulators in accomplishing this (anyone remember NAFTA). We're not talking foreign competition from foreign companies - we're talking unfair competition from U.S. companies that drive U.S. companies out of business (or also offshore). This issue is more of a governmental regulation issue. Laws could be easily written (well, maybe not easily) to keep jobs here in the U.S. Problem is, they now control too much of our government (thought it was by the people for the people). This would go a long way towards solving the "too many pegs and not enough holes" scenario that's been prevalent for my entire career. Never hear anything about going after this issue....

I started my working career in a factory back in the 70's, and this was an issue back then. I completed college and climbed the so-called professional ladder and have had many professional people of all age groups working for me. As mentioned here, it is the individual's work ethic and not age that is judged for work performance (quality not quantity). As we all know - the higher you climb, the more freedom you give up. It's always been that way. What hasn't been that way is now it is even expected of entry level positions. There's still hope, as it's been my experience that career advancement/rewards and individual learning enhancement always came from the smaller business environment. I believe that if you're going to take risks in the work environment - take it with a smaller company and don't take the risks of too many pegs and not enough holes at the mega corps that don't even know your name.

FWIW - we retired early @ 59/57 - no megacorp/govt. pensions. Most financial reward came from smaller business - even a start-up (the most fun).
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:53 AM   #37
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Maybe, but as it becomes more and more obvious that more employers are viewing labor as a "necessary evil" instead of a strength -- the more they take advantage of the current job market to crap on their workers with longer hours and lower real compensation even if they are making record profits -- I can't blame anyone for not wanting to go the "extra mile". It's obvious that more and more employers don't give a damn about their employees, so why should employees give a damn about their employer beyond what is reasonable for what they are being paid to do?

It was a lot easier to care when one felt like going the extra mile would be rewarded with more than just "this is what you have to do in order to keep a job, even with lower pay and longer hours."
I wasn't justifying the idea, just trying to understand the seemingly different behaviors between those who will do "whatever it takes" and those who seem to do "only what's required and no more."

As for blame, chicken and the egg in many cases? I've known at least as many ungrateful entitlement minded employees as I have unreasonable self important bosses. And I still know more productive workers and competent caring bosses than their counterparts, though I'd have to agree the ungrateful & unreasonable seem to be gaining ground.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:57 AM   #38
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Agree, all of my 50+ friends in the tech biz have found that once they are let go getting back in is nearly impossible. Why hire a 50+ when they can snag a 35yr old whom they feel is more "fit" and able to do the 6-7 day a week routine.
Experience, dependability, knowledge of company culture, a known quantity, solid known work record, and the list goes on.

Perhaps your friends' experience differs...but I think there are plenty of reasons to hire older workers or keeping them.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:58 AM   #39
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Oh, my friends! Young or old workers, don't we want them to work hard, so that their business will be more profitable, and their stocks will pay us retirees much in dividends, so that we can sit around at home chatting on forums?
Yup! Crack that whip!
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:01 AM   #40
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This article describes the life of a woman who commutes 90 minutes each way to work every day at age 73 and sees no light at the end of the tunnel. Then it goes on to describe various appalling aspects of working life that affect older workers more than those that are younger, and ways in which older workers are discriminated against at work, denied desirable job tasks, overlooked for promotions, and more.

What a nightmare! So glad it's not MY nightmare. I feel like I escaped just in time.
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