Age discrimination is a very real phenomenon that can mean longer periods of unemployment for older workers, along with the frustration and depression that so often follow. An organization that routinely avoids hiring people older than 40, 50, 60—or any arbitrary cutoff point—is probably breaking the law (but good luck proving it).
Still, it's a huge mistake to assume that, just because you've reached a certain birthday, age discrimination is the one and only reason you're not getting hired. In fact, it's a copout; an easy way to let yourself off the hook and shift all the blame to someone else.
Sure, there are some bad apples. But most business owners know that it costs far more to continually replace employees than to retain good ones. It's in their best interest to hire candidates with good skills and staying power—and statistically, older workers win that race.
So, could it be that your righteous indignation has turned you into an Angry Old Fart (or AOF)?
If you've ever seen a comedy routine featuring ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's quintessential AOF character, the foul-mouthed "Walter" (pictured here), you know what I mean. An AOF is anyone (not necessarily old) who's grown so cynical and pissed off at the world that they walk around with a big chip on their shoulder. They can often be heard uttering things like, "That's not the way we used to do it!"
Check the list below to see if you have any of these symptoms.
10 Signs You May be an Angry Old Fart
- You're proud to be one of the purists who hasn't gotten swept up in all that new techno-cyber-mumbo-jumbo.
- You're intent on getting another job just like your old job, even though you were the CEO of VCRs 'R' Us.
- You're still using the same obituary-style resume that worked so well for you in '89.
- You like to tell your interviewers that you were out working before they were even born.
- You list unique skills and experience on your resume, such as proficiency on the Commodore Home PC and Apple IIe.
- You're still determined to get to the top of the proverbial corporate ladder, even though they re-organized, re-structured, and right-sized the ladder into more of a horizontal plank back in the mid-90s.
- You haven't taken a course or upgraded your skills since you got out of school. (You're already an expert, so why should you?)
- You dress like you've always dressed, style your hair the way you've always styled your hair, and believe that bow ties are the height of fashion.
- You’re a name dropper who likes to impress people with stories like that time you were an extra in a crowd scene on "Happy Days" and met The Fonz. Ayyyy!
- You've sent the same resume and cover letter to 400 employers, not one has called you for an interview, and you've concluded it's age discrimination rather than ineffective career documents.
If some of those sound familiar and you're having trouble connecting with employers, take an honest look at yourself. If there's a chip on your shoulder, knock it off! Keep building your support system, find new avenues of learning, network-network-network, and let go of the old rules and limitations that were keeping you angry and boxed in.
Can you think of other symptoms of Angry Old Fart syndrome? Leave a comment below.
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