Turn About is Fair Play
In 2008 I was the first to be laid off from my full time job. The economy hit rock bottom, and construction was the hardest hit here in northern Nevada. I was 62 years old, working in an electrical warehouse. Was I let go because of my age? Of course, but try and prove it.
I looked for work, but no one would give me a full time job because of my age. I know, you’re, “saying there are laws against age discrimination;” If laws are not enforced, they become pieces of paper and nothing else.
I was lucky. In 2009 the United States Census Bureau began hiring for the 2010 Decennial Census. I hadn’t even thought about it. During my lifetime I always thought the people who conducted this every ten year event to be white haired ladies and bald old men. I applied. The application for the Census is actually a test. Employees are hired based on their test scores. I must have tested well because a couple of weeks later, I received a call and was offered a job.
I performed some field work for a while, and when the office was opened in Reno, I was offered a lower managerial position. Our office staff grew slowly until we were about 100 strong. There were people of all ages and a variety of talent, thanks to a poor economy and rising unemployment. The oldest person in the office was 80, and the youngest 18. We had out of work architects, lawyers, medical workers, computer programmers, accountants, and men and women who had worked in management in factories and warehouses.
There was no age discrimination, we had all taken the same test.
The reason for my long story is that there is a story here in northern Nevada about UNR students complaining they can’t get jobs, even at the fast food chains. Those jobs are being offered to middle aged persons who are more qualified and experienced. The owners of these businesses are extremely happy about the diversity of those applying for job openings. One owner of several “McDonald’s” said, “the teenagers and those in their early twenties want jobs to put gas in their cars. Middle aged applicants want to earn extra money to feed their families”.
When the “youth movement” began over 30 years ago, I saw it as a major mistake by business both big and small. Above all the factors favoring the hiring of more experienced workers one stands out. It’s called ‘work ethic’. People of my generation were taught to do the best we could at any task we accepted. It didn’t matter if we liked our job, if we accepted it, we gave 100% every minute we worked. We never thought about when our next break would be, we labored hard to get the job done.
By the way, the average age of workers in the 2010 Decennial Census was 50-55. We got the job done on time, and 2 billion dollars under budget.