Not OLD, but “too old”. I guess it’s somewhat of a handicap, starting a new career in your forties. So when you hit your sixties, you feel like you’re just hitting your stride. That has been counteracted lately by the company I work for. I spoke about this a few weeks ago with a co-worker in the department I have been trying to transfer to. He told me that, in a long discussion with someone in the Human Resources department, the fact had come out that the company is attempting to attract younger people, and in the process, nudging older ones to retire.
Now, our company has been in existence for 77 years, and we have some employees who have been with the company for 35 years and more. These days, it’s pretty unusual for people to stay at any one company for even five years, much less 35! [My husband, 9 years my junior, has been at his company for 34 years]. Just thinking about my own department, all of the new hires in the past two years have been straight out of college, or nearly so. And, funny thing, the people who leave have been older. It’s against the law for an employer to lay off or fire an employee based solely on their age, but that’s mighty hard to prove if you choose to file a lawsuit (which I would not).
So when a person in the department I’d like to join left, no fewer than three of their existing employees came by my desk and asked me if I’d like to move. I said I’d love to, but they’d have to invite me, as I’ve already tried twice and gotten turned down (glutton for punishment, I’m not). So they went to the big boss and told him they’d like me to move over. Did not work. They will hire a new person, who will need extensive training (while I would need next to none).
Every year in my performance review, I tell my boss that I have no intention of retiring. I like my job, I like the work, and I like the people I work with, even the youngsters! But I expect things to get more uncomfortable in the next couple of years, as the age of the department skews younger, and I just get older. But I can learn new things, and I do regularly. I take on extra work, doing much more than my job description would indicate, and helping other people when they go on vacation. I pride myself on being a good employee, and wanting to be productive as long as I can. No Social Security or Medicare for me! And my boss is going to be stuck with me, as it’s now a game-how long can I remain a productive, valuable member of my department and my company? I don’t even want to think about leaving.
As far as I am concerned, I’m NOT too old. And I am old enough to get along just fine, thank you very much, and learn, and grow, and be a credit to my department, my company, and my world.