Ageism anywhere in employment is particularly insidious as aging affects each of us, eventually to the point of “retirement.” What is retirement? It’s basically when they don’t want you any more and threats of your filing a lawsuit against your old boss mean nothing, to say nothing of what it’s like to file an actual lawsuit. Retirement is a way to solve unemployment when they lay you off and the very idea of spending years in job search after unemployment insurance runs out is unrealistic when you’re eligible to retire, no matter how early it is. “At will” means one day you’re out, and to see the pretty young thing that has your job is to die a little bit. Smart, pretty inside and out and she works for a fraction of your old wage.
This isn’t to say you can’t work harder than ever while aged out, because most likely you will work harder than ever for quite some time, but the paycheck aspect might be replaced by social security and business or professional earnings. But not on the clock as before. Actually it’s a blessing to get off that silly clock and just do the whole thing, whatever it is. Follow Craig Newmark’s fine example or make your own example.
This response leaves out the contribution of older workers in the workforce, which is profound. It comes under the heading of wisdom. While age and wisdom do not always correlate, the perspective of an older worker is dramatically different from the occasionally careless perspective of that same worker when younger. That should count for something, and it is on the boss or entire company when it doesn’t.