June 20, 2013
Changes to the Law - My complaint is with the lack of compliance by companies, Internet job boards, employment agencies, etc. against direct and obvious age discrimination of millions of people. Most of the people are also unemployed. This is the worst discrimination of all. Being unemployed in todays job market is like a kiss of death to your standard of living, possibly to the ownership of your home, educating your children, repairing your home, seeking health care and so much more.
You can throw as much money as you want to companies and agencies in creating jobs, but the stigma of unemployment will remain. It is now causing a new breed of poverty unheard of before. Add ageism to that and the government is looking for an epidemic of poor educated, hardworking people, with a work ethic no longer seen in society slipping further and further into poverty.
I will use myself as an example. I worked for one company for 20 years. I had a degree in psychology. I worked my way up from secretary to Director-Employee Relations and Compensation. I lost my job because of a merger because of favoritism. My boss did not even have the courtesy of telling me personally that I would be losing my job after 20 years at the same time my husband became totally disabled.
I looked and looked for a job, but could not find one. I had 10 interviews with one company. I did not get the job because I was told, I was too nice.
We decided to purchase a franchise and do something we loved. I would go out and my husband could do small tasks at home. We did this for almost 4 years, while I continued to do some consulting as available. I almost had a nervous breakdown because of money issues and our son getting ready for college.
Luckily I saw an ad in the NY Times and I eventually got a job with Russ Berrie And Company, Inc. I was there for almost 10 years until the company filed for Chapter 7 Liquidation Bankruptcy. I had no severance no COBRA and the medical bills that we incurred were rejected. This started a 2.5-year search for a job. I have been told I am overqualified for most jobs. The longer the unemployment, the more difficult to find a job. I needed foot surgery and I even went on interviews in a cast and walker. This took 6 months out of my job search.
I have tried everything. I have told agencies, companies etc. that I am willing to accept a lower salary for a lower level job. I have decided to downsize my career. It means nothing to the companies, employment agencies, and job boards. It was noted on Linkedin that I was in the top 1% of people followed on that site. I have stayed current. I participate in discussions. I read the Harvard Review, Fortune, Money, Fast Company and many more magazines (on line), books, etc. I have been sent to interviews and still been told that I am overqualified. I have paid to have my resume written.
I complained to the EEOC without filing a specific charge that companies, job boards, etc. ask dates of college graduation and other dates that could easily target your age. Most job boards ask for your date of birth to even proceed to a job. They say it is to identify you, but legitimate sites use last 4 digits of social security number and zip code. Ageism is everywhere and no one or any agency is doing anything about it.
When will we, over the age of 50, who are unemployed, have some kind of protection? Do you know that I cannot even get a job in a store, Home Depot, you name it? NO ONE WILL HIRE ME. I am now lying on my resume and saying that I am working for a friends company to see if there will be any bites. I found it quite amusing that one employment agency, who never returned a phone call or email, sent me congratulations and wanted to meet with me about my recruitment needs.
So if I lie on an application, it is grounds to terminate me. If the company does not hire me because they think I am OVERQUALIFIED-TOO OLD, nothing happens. I am willing to take a lower wage for a lower job and be available in the office to do other things someone with less experience cannot do. I would call that a value hire. Someone on Linkedin called that a risk of me leaving the company. I would laugh if I werent crying. I worked for one company for 20 years and another for 10 years. The new average length of service, per the Society of Human Resource Management is less than 2 years. Oh, I forget, people like me dont know how to use a computer, cant remember things, cant learn new things, are set in their ways, cant work for a younger manager, etc. I have posted articles like a 100 reasons why you should hire a mature worker and why the more mature worker makes better decisions written by a neurologist. It happens to be the way we are wired.
I happen to be a futurist. I am preparing for the office of the future. I dislike the status quo and always have. I have implemented many new initiatives that have improved retention and morale. I send articles about the top companies to work for and how they lead all companies in profits. Why are they the best companies to work for? - - They tend to be organizations that have come to the realization that the company is the people. The people are diverse (different points of view) passionate, forward thinking, want to be part of something special, and dont necessarily want a traditional company or job to compete in the future of a global economy.
Most of my experience is in consumer package goods, with manufacturing in the US and in China. I am a businesswoman first and learn all about my business. I learn how each department fits into the business and how each department works with the other departments, divisions, etc. I applied for a job as an HR Manager in a warehouse for High Fashion goods. I went for the first interview and the person told me that my background was excellent for the job. She looked for the Director to interview me, but she was with the president. The job was 3 miles from my house. PERFECT. When I didnt hear, after I wrote my thanks you's, I called and called. I finally got through to the Director and was told I was not being considered because I did not have experience in High Fashion. DUH Its a warehouse. Oh I forgot. I also had a recommendation from one of their top High Fashion customers Director of Import/Export. We worked together at RUSS (gifts, teddy bears, etc.) for 7 years. So with a top-notch recommendation from the Director of Import/Export at Tory Burch in NYC and years of experience working with hourly employees in a warehouse setting of consumer goods, I was not considered because I did not have high fashion experience. I met and spoke with the people in the warehouse. They dressed the same way. You know, they were just like the people who packed Airwick, Woolite and Teddy Bears. For some reason, my lack of HIGH FASHION knocked me out of consideration. My former CEO who was an executive at Toys R Us is my number one recommendation. I applied for several jobs at TRU I never made it in the door, even though he knew the person I would be working for. No one made the effort to call him, Andrew Gatto. Yet, poor employees at RUSS, in terms of attendance, work ethic, etc. who were 20 years younger than me with less experience were working in 3 months. One person had 3 jobs in the year after the bankruptcy.
So if you think any money will help the true problem, think again.