The work environment has changed

Rapidly, almost without blinking an eye there has been change under foot in the work environment. It is official. It is in an email!
But seriously! As you may know, I love to be on email lists, and read voraciously e-journals, and blogs. There is alot to learn from the buzz that swirls about us in electonic media. Motivated to keep my insight and skills fresh, i sit down to my emails and spend a part of my day catching us. Today the headline of one of the emails read “Are you too Old to Get (re)Hired?”. OK, Got my attention, I thought. I will read just about anything, and consider what is written there. Sometimes they are experts that have their finger on the pulse of business. And sometimes their content is fitting of being grouped with the hunt for big foot. This title flys in the face of decency, stability and all that I have been raised to understand. But then again, this is a new world order – and apparently the 20 somethings that are now running our world must think that if you are over 40 you a re a fossil. God help us.

So why do i feel like this? What stirs angst in my soul? Perhaps it is the fact that I am over 50, and feel that I have my best years ahead of me… I am well trained, skilled and educated, and bring 3 decades of business sense, strong work ethic, and loyalty. Oh, perhaps these qualities are no longer valued in the business world.

That said, i wanted to write an open letter to every 20 or 30 something who believes older people should not be allowed to work. Here goes:

Dear 20/30 Something Business Decision Maker:
I am writing this short letter to you to request that you spend a few moments pondering your decision to exclude or judge people on the basis of age. Apart from the fact that federal law in the united states is supposed to protect workers from discriminatory practices based on age, sex, race or creed, you persist in implementing this practice of age discrimination. It is an interesting concept, because you are also the generation that is propigating and driving the idea of accepting diversity. Most companies have policy about diversity, and some even hire a manager to propigate the message. So are you telling us that diversity is fine, as long as we are no older than 40?

One thing I bet you did not think about is this – you will be 40 one day. In fact if you live you will be 50, 60, 70, etc. If your quietly deployed policy of shunning older workers remains active when you arrive at that age I have news for you. You might end up on the other side looking in at discriminatory practices, and wondering what happened.

I don;t wish that on you. No, never want to see bad things happen to anyone. But you need to realize that when you limit your work force to people under 40 you:
– no longer have a stable, loyal, longterm work force
– loose the intellectual property and transition of skills and knowlege of the work from one generation to another.
– practice strong discriminatory behavior
– alienate your work force

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter. Perhaps you will come to your senses and reconsider your behavior. After all, it may be your mother, father, or other family member that you are choosing to not hire.

So that is my quick note. It is interesting that this practice is affecting the largest generation living – the baby boomers. What is next – kivorkian death clinics? taxing us to breathe? Age discrimination is unacceptable, and i fear this is only the start of changes that will reduce rights and freedoms we have always know as Americans. When did we slip from our moorings of esteeming those who are older as respected, treasured parts of our society? When did having multiple generations working side by side become detestable? Does this bother you? or am i alone in this?

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