After my introduction post yesterday I had a member of our new community charge me with attacking the issues of ageism on this blog.
“Take on the issue of Ageism. It is just as destructive as Racism or Sexism with attacks from the outside and attacks from ourselves of our sense of self worth. “
At first I beamed with excitement, ” YES! I’ll do it!” but as I began to really think about what she asked I had to dig deep to explore my own moments of feeling discriminated against since crossing over 40.
As I walked my dog, I started to realize that I had been fighting for my self worth to stay afloat, since losing/leaving my job in May of 2014. Now don’t get me wrong leaving/losing was the best thing for me at the time but what has been an unexpected battle has been the job search that I have temporarily given up on. Part of my job search suspension was to enjoy planning my daughters wedding and prepare for my new grandchild, but as I soul searched more I have to admit that last job interview did me in.
I was working with a staffing agency and wanted to use my over 10 years of social media skills with a small to mid sized company. I was set up on an interview with a small marketing company and the interviewer had me really hyped. I was feeling really positive and upbeat. I was called early that morning and asked to come in 30 minutes earlier than originally planned and eagerly complied. When I arrived at the interview I sat next to an attractive young woman who was also waiting to be interviewed for the same job.
Something inside of me began to feel inferior as I watched her on her iPad, and fiddle with her phone. Although I had my iPad too, she had no leather folder in her hand as I did and automatically I felt antiquated. I mean I had an awesome digital resume that I sent ahead, I simply printed mine out as I was asked to. Whatever. I shook it off as she was called in first.
I could hear the laughter through the walls as her interview went 20 minutes into my appointed time. Right when I’d made up my mind to walk out, I’m called in. I sit across from two women, one about the same age as my daughter who I would be reporting to and the other in her mid to late thirties. The interview was going fine as both women fired away with question. I slammed answers back like a well played tennis game as my confidence came back with a roar. Then it went all downhill when the youngest interviewer asked “how would you get along with people younger than you are? because,” she continues to say, ” I can see that you would be one of the oldest in the office.”
Oh yes, she did!
From that point on the tension in the room was awful. I ignored her question and expounded on the previous one. The second interviewer attempted damage control but could clearly see how annoyed I was, because I did not hide it. At all. They both continued to ask me a multitude of nonsense questions knowing full well they were not going to hire me. I began to give similar bull shit answers. I actually ended the interview when the second lady mentioned salary, since it was completely different from what the agency had promised I nicely dismissed myself from the interview. I asked the agency to remove me from their list of available job seekers and I haven’t been on a job interview since.
Instead I’ve been writing, hanging out behind a keyboard processing my first, in your face moment of ageism. Truth be told, this is the first time I’m really dealing with it. I look at my grey hair and I actually like it, but I wonder if I should cover it to at least land a job. What about wrinkles or laugh lines? Are we supposed to erase everything that makes us unique and tells the story of how we got enough experience to help a company make money?
Talk about an attack on self worth.
I used to think older women were bitter. I don’t think that anymore, I think they are sick and tired of the bull shit and they are working to preserve the pride that they have left after being told they no longer matter.
Now that I understand it a little better I will take on the task of bringing you substantial information on ageism. Things like new laws and sharing articles from around the globe. Together, we’ll fight it.
Share your story of ageism in the comments below. Comments are strictly monitored and moderated.