I am currently working with an older woman consultant who keeps hoping for a “permanent” job. There is no such thing, of course. She really just wants a job with an indefinite end. I know the feeling. When you are a consultant you are always searching around for the next gig. Contract jobs rarely last more than 2 or 3 months.
My friend doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of getting a “perm job” in Silicon Valley, unless she wants to apply at McDonald’s or become a greeter at Walmart. High tech corporations in Silicon Valley avoid older workers at all costs. I have the same problem. In spite of several interviews for positions for which I was highly qualified, I haven’t been hired either.
Why Do Employers Fear Older Workers?
Why do employers fear older workers? I really don’t know if there is an economic or legal reason for it or if it’s simply a form of bigotry (“you’re different than me so I don’t want to work with you”). Are they afraid we’ll get sick more than other employees? Are they afraid that, since we are a protected class of people, we are more likely to sue or make EEOC complaints? Do they fear that our benefits packages will cost immense amounts of money? Do they expect a younger person will work for them for a longer period of time before a replacement must be sought? (What, in Silicon Valley, where job turnover is already high? Ha!) What’s really going on here?
How Age-Bigots Avoid the Issue
I suspect that behind every age bigot there is an attorney telling him how not to get sued. Here are some possible scenarios that I have inferred from the age bigots who interviewed me.
- At the conclusion of the interview the age-bigot will give you his business card and tell you to call him if you have any questions. He will be totally non-committal about your chances of getting the job.
- You will never hear from the interviewer or his company again. You won’t get the standard form rejection letter, you won’t get anything. That’s because if they don’t send the letter, then technically you haven’t been rejected. What are they going to say if they do? That you’re not qualified in spite of 30 years of impressive experience? No letter means less evidence to use against them in court.
- If the interview was set up by a search firm, you will never hear from the recruiter again, either. There will be no explanation or feedback as to why you weren’t hired. They could easily make some excuse, but excuses can be checked out. If there is no feedback at all, the recruiter and employer won’t be put in a position of having to lie about it. If they lied, it could prove embarrassing if they have to explain it later on the witness stand.
How Decrepit Are You, Really?
Well find out what other people have accomplished at your age.
What have people my age accomplished? Well, a few small things.
Physician, author and running enthusiast George Sheehan ran his fastest Boston marathon ever.
James Parkinson, an English surgeon and paleontologist, described Parkinson’s disease.
J.R.R. Tolkien published the first volume of his fantasy series, Lord of the Rings.
Clergyman and writer Jonathan Swift wrote A Modest Proposal, possibly the best satire ever written in English.
John Dryden undertook the enormous task of translating the entire works of Virgil into English verse.
Countess Rosa Branicka, a wealthy Polish noble, performed breast cancer surgery on herself and lived to be 82.
Elizabeth Kingsley created the double-crostic puzzle.
Danny DeVito, actor, is still going strong in the entertainment world.
Rod Stewart, former Rock star, recorded four albums of the most beloved love songs of the western world – from what is known as “the American Songbook.” They were a smash hit.
What Did Other People Accomplish at Your Age?
You can find out by going to this web page, “Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age.”
It won’t get you a job but it may make you feel better.
As for me, I will stick with contracting and maybe form my own consulting company.