Skip to main content

As part of Alternet's New Economic Dialogue Project, Lynn Parramore writes 50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs -- and Denied New Opportunities. An excerpt:

In every corner of America, millions of people are terrified of losing their jobs and falling into financial ruin. Men and women with impressive professional achievements and credentials are being let go, nudged out and pushed aside. They are pounding the pavement and scouring the job sites, but find themselves turned away even for the most basic retail jobs. Not because they aren’t competent. Not because they lack skills. But simply because they have a gray hair or two.

This is not just a story of people in their 60s or 70s. Workers as young as 50 are shocked to find themselves suddenly tossed onto the employment rubbish heap, just when they felt on top of their game. They’re feeling stressed, angry and betrayed by a society which has benefited greatly from their contributions.

As the global population grows older, age discrimination is on the rise. It could be headed for you, much sooner than you think.

Jan, a marketing executive from southern California, is just 51, and she has already learned the heartbreak and frustration of age-related job insecurity.

She was flying high as the head of marketing for a large financial planning firm when she was laid off in 2009 at the age of 47. The recession had done its damage, and her firm had to let some people go — mostly the youngest and oldest employees. Jan understood why the layoff happened, as sad as it was. Her firm gave her great recommendations and kept her on as a consultant for a year.

But she was not prepared for what happened when she tried to find another job.
First Jan applied for positions similar to her previous employment at banks and other financial institutions. Nothing. Keeping upbeat, she widened the net, applying for all marketing and communications jobs advertised in a 40-mile radius of her home. Still nada.

Finally, she started applying for retail jobs and was shocked to find that she could not even land these. Jan got an interview at Barnes & Noble, but the store didn’t call her back, and she wondered if all the young people on the floor had something to do with it. She tried a local bridal shop, thinking that she was the same age as the mothers of the brides and would be a good fit. They didn’t hire her. Even Target turned her down for a job as a store clerk. No reason was given. That’s when she started to panic.

“It’s been difficult on my family,” Jan says. “My husband was a lawyer, but he has become disabled. My daughter felt embarrassed that I couldn’t find a job, and I’ve had to explain to her why she shouldn’t be. I had to explain to her that I was not ashamed, that I was mad. I had done everything I was supposed to do. I had gone to college, then to grad school. I worked very hard and I had a lot of success. Then I got thrown away.”

In researching this article, I heard many stories like Jan’s, from Americans from all walks of life. A commercial fisherman with 30 years experience from Tucson, Arizona has sent out dozens of applications, but gets zero bites. An Ohio IT professional with over 30 years experience was let go after 15 years at his company, and now finds himself working in a bottom-tier customer service position with 20-year-olds.[...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2004Where's bin Laden? Where's al Zarqawi?:

Does Bush know?

An audiotape message said to be made by the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden called for Muslims to boycott elections [in Iraq] next month and endorsed the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as Mr. bin Laden's deputy in Iraq.

The tape, broadcast Monday by the Arab news network Al Jazeera, condemned the American-backed Iraqi elections for a constitutional assembly, scheduled for Jan. 30, saying, "In the balance of Islam, this constitution is infidel and therefore everyone who participates in this election will be considered infidels."

The voice on the tape also described Mr. Zarqawi as the "emir," or prince, of Al Qaeda in Iraq and said Muslims there should "listen to him." The man speaking on the tape referred to an October statement in which Mr. Zarqawi declared allegiance to Mr. bin Laden, calling the declaration "a great step on the path of unifying all the mujahedeen in establishing the state of righteousness and ending the state of injustice."

Where's Bush on this?


Tweet of the Day:

I have absolutely no plan for your life.
@TheTweetOfGod



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we noted the post-Xmas tweeting of new gun pics, complete with fingers on the trigger! Greg Dworkin shares his picks from the week's news, including Brainwrap's data on ACA sign-ups (over 5.75 million), ACA politics, and Susan Demas' "I know who the next president will be!" Also: "Why the Left Must Embrace Affluenza." Dartagnan's top-recommended, "Why No Wall Street CEOs Were Prosecuted For Causing the Financial Crisis." Josh Tauberer notes 50% of the US population lives in 1% of the land area. And a look at Jen Dziura's fascinating "When 'Life Hacking' Is Really White Privilege."



High Impact Posts. Top Comments. Overnight News Digest.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site