The New Normal

An author by the name of Elizabeth White has just released a book called 55, Unemployed, and Faking Normal. Its about her terrorizing experience of age discrimination. While Elizabeth has an excellent background in business consulting with two masters degrees, one from Hopkins and one from Harvard she became unemployable. She lived through the hell of missed payments and utility cut offs. Other than sporadic gigs and now the book she has been unemployed since 2009.

A few shocking facts. First, workers over age 50 with a master’s degree will have just as a hard time becoming employed as someone over 50 with only a high school diploma. Combined with their experience they out qualify themselves in the job market, even though they are happy to take a job below their skills level.

Second, employers today are not likely to consider resumes for anyone that appears over the age of 45. Algorithms are programmed to ferret out the offending old folks or recruiters are trained to look for key signs. Third, researchers are saying that its now age 35 that employers start to lose interest deeming candidates too old.

Not only for late baby boomers but for Generation Xers and early millennials (the first of which will turn a ripe old age of 37 this year) this should be frightening. What’s even more troublesome is that our population is getting older so the mix of job applicants will be older.

What’s next from corporate America (although age discrimination is also showing up in the public sector)? At age 45 you will be given a cyanide pill to swallow or be marched into cyanide laced showers? That way no need for severance, COBRA and unemployment insurance?