BEING LONG IN THE TOOTH CAN BITE HARD AT WORK

#ageism #OlderWorkers #AgeDiscrimination
“He’s too old to cut the mustard anymore.”
That’s a lyric from a 1950s-era country song about a man who used to jump picket fences, but now is lucky if he can jump an inch, to paraphrase another lyric from the song.
It brings to mind a problem – or, rather, a situation – in today’s work force.
People are living longer, and some are choosing to work longer. Trouble is, their employers don’t want to keep them past a certain age.
Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy tackled this issue in an article for the Rockland/Weschester (N.Y.) Journal. It was also published Sept. 2, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“With 10,000 baby boomers reaching 65 every day – a trend that began in 2011 and is set to continue until 2029 – it is past the time to have a conversation about attitudes toward retirement. After all, since the time Social Security set the retirement eligibility at 65 in 1936, life expectancy at birth has gone up by 20 years,” the reporter writes.
The article points out an organization called Respectful Exits, which aims to mobilize the voices and talents of aging workers.
“Age discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee less favorably because of his or her age, “ the article quotes the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission.
The reporter quotes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as saying that “young people are just smarter.”
Admittedly, in some lines of work, age matters. A construction laborer probably will be more productive in his 20s than in his 60s.
Athletes can be at the top of their games for a decade or two, but likely not more than that.
But in most white-collar situations, the older worker is probably no worse – in some cases, better – than his or her younger colleagues.
But, here’s the rub. Workers with more experience tend to cost employers more. They, in many cases, get more vacation time. If they are lucky enough to have them, they may tend to use the health insurance benefits more. The health insurer may raise the company’s premium because they are employing older workers.
From the worker’s viewpoint, they may not have enough money saved, or may not be able to afford to retire on Social Security and whatever pension they may have.
Some may enjoy their jobs so much they don’t want to leave.
So what’s a worker to do when, deservedly or not, they are let go? What do they do when their once-glowing performance evaluations suddenly tank? What if they keep getting messages, subliminal or otherwise, that they need to go?
First, workers, no matter what age, need to be prepared for when that happens. They need to look at other ways to make money so that they can survive, even thrive, after their job disappears.
There are many ways out there to make a potentially substantial amount of money with a few part-time hours a week. To check out one of the best, message me.
The lesson here is that the day will come in nearly everyone’s career that a tough decision will be made. Workers need to start preparing from the youngest age possible for that day, for they know not when it will come.
It may require some outside-comfort-zone thinking, but it would be wise for everyone to do it.
Peter

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