Age Discrimination by Bill Storie
I was reading a newspaper article this week about age discrimination which I found to be slightly intriguing.
It seems to me that the issue pretty much solely relates to us old folks trying to find a job and while the legislation seems to kick in at age 40, the concern escalates as we age. Hence the chance of getting a job at age 45 is much higher than age 65. I get that.
However if the problem worsens as we age then isn’t there equally a counter-point which is whether we actually want a job as we get older?
I am obviously a strong advocate for Oldsters being useful in the community, either through volunteer work or paid work. I firmly believe that we are smart and active and willing to get on with the job. Maybe because we don’t have many, if any, financial concerns, then we can approach charity work or low-paid work with a fresh attitude. We perhaps don’t have children to feed and clothe any more, or mortgage to pay, or high-end expenses to face. So, the job we take can be more happy-focused than money-focused.
So, if money isn’t a concern, and we are broadly-speaking willing to take on a range of community work, then wouldn’t age discrimination actually work in reverse? In other words, wouldn’t we be the names at the top of the list to get “employed”?
Moreover, let’s say we simply don’t want to work, then firstly that is our choice, so we can’t complain about being discriminated against. Secondly, the chances are that as we continue to age our desire, far less our ability, to work diminishes.
My point is that age discrimination is a very personal matter. I’m not sure how we can accumulate data and make wild statements that for example, age discrimination is rampant in our society when large numbers of us shouldn’t be included in the statistical analysis.
Of course, I understand that many Oldsters really do want to work, or in fact in some instances must work to survive. It’s all very well for me to say that those folks should have planned better for their older years while they were in employment, and while that is a fair statement, it doesn’t help the retiree in the unfortunate position of scrimping on basic things merely because they don’t have the money.
Therefore, in this situation the question of age discrimination is most definitely a problem. It is very, very personal. It would be hoped, perhaps expected, however, that in such situations, community or government welfare programs would kick in to assist.
So to sum up I accept that age discrimination in the workplace, especially for seniors exists all over the world. But I question whether it is as pervasive as some would make it to be. The freedom of choice would be included in my interpretation of the statistics to reach a conclusion based not on numbers but on realistic impact on our lives.
By the time I write this article next week we will all know the name of the new U.S. President. We don’t do politics as you know but I would mention that both candidates are over the age of 65 (one is 69 and one is 70). So clearly age discrimination doesn’t apply in the world of politics, certainly in the States.
Stay well, stay safe and stay with Olderhood.
By Bill Storie