I’ve been in a polemic for the past few weeks with a number of people on LinkedIn going back and forth about people feeling discriminated against because they are “too old.” There have been a number of writers and commentators bemoaning the fact that they are being discriminated against because of their age.
My contention is that you’re getting hired or not may not have anything to do with your “age” so much as it has to do with the things that come with your age. So, when people don’t get hired, they claim they were discriminated against because they’re too old. Let me give you an example of what happened today.
The candidate comes to our office. He was 22 years with the same organization. He left that firm making $160,000 base salary and a total of $250,000. He was a salesperson for this organization and had been laid off…. a year ago! He told us that he couldn’t find a job because he was 58 years old and nobody wanted to hire a 58-year-old in the business that he was in (he worked for a data storage manufacturer.) He was convinced that it was his age.
Upon asking him how many interviews he had in the year he had been looking, he said that he really had only had one or two. He told us that he was looking for a position with one of his competitors…he did not under any circumstances want to go to work for a value-added reseller or a manufacturer’s rep and he wanted a base of at least the $160,000 that he had been making and if he couldn’t make $250,000, it wasn’t worth his doing.
He claimed that he was worth the $160,000 and that it took him 15 or 16 years to get to that level and he wasn’t about to take a step back and that he didn’t want to lower himself to work for a VAR or the channel, because those people “just don’t make enough money.” He claimed that he had a chance to interview with a couple of VAR’s and a channel and he just wouldn’t take the interview, because he was better than that.
You see what I mean? This guy has been out of work for a year. He claims that it’s his age. The fact is that it took him a number of years to get to the base of $160,000 and a total earnings of $250,000. For some crazy reason he expects that he has an intrinsic value of $160,000 and a $250,000 package simply because he’s been with the same firm for so long and performed so well. Nobody has any intrinsic value.
The fact that this guy can’t find a job doesn’t have anything to do with is age except for the fact that it took him a number of years to get to the base salary that he was making and the total earnings. If he were 35 years old and insisted upon the same kind of salary and wouldn’t consider any kind of opportunity except exactly the kind he had before, he’d also be looking for a job.
What we tried to convince our candidate was that he needed to consider a lower salary, maybe going to work for a value-added reseller or someone in the channel. He may have to take less money and basically do what he really didn’t want to do which is “start all over.” But, my goodness, he’s been out of work for a year. This is crazy. If he has to start all over, he has to start all over.
So, quit complaining about your age. Take a look at the silly stuff you might be trying to demand that the market won’t bear.