A dear friend of mine in Raleigh, who turns 60-years-old this year, visited me recently to share some good news about an employment breakthrough. After several years of looking for a good job — even with a Master’s Degree and decades of professional work experience — and not getting anywhere, she decided that if no one would hire her…she would hire herself! She obtained an SBA loan and bought a business franchise. I’m thrilled for her! Over the years, we’ve commiserated about the realities of getting older, including the difficulties in finding work in our respective fields.
Age discrimination is illegal. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act was signed in 1967. A recent article from cpr.org, Colorado Public Radio, reports that despite the law protecting workers over the age of 40, a recent AARP study shows that about two-thirds of workers aged 45-74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Sadly, statistics showing the extent of age discrimination are hard to find.
By my late 40s, I began to experience ageism. Suddenly, I was no longer being considered for jobs that I could perform in my sleep! To make matters worse, I started accepting lower pay – wages that I made in my 20s and 30s. Now, as I enter year 53 on this good earth, I work for a wonderful company and a general manager who understands the benefits of hiring a mature, female morning personality. Working at Easy Radio as Monnie in the Morning utilizes my talents and still provides opportunities for me to grow and learn as a woman and a broadcasting professional. I am incredibly blessed and ever grateful.
I believe that ageism exists, but I also know that we can overcome this type of discrimination. There are companies and hiring managers who want us and our valuable experience! Keep networking, keep trying and keep praying. I also have decided to “retire” phrases such as “that makes me feel old!” Guess what – we’re all getting older. From now on, I will celebrate who I am without labeling myself as older or getting old – I will be bold, not old!