Ageism Needs to Stop
Older People are needed in our youth-driven society.
Being a Black woman is hard. But being an older Black woman is harder when you’re dealing with 14 and 15-year-olds. When I told my students that I was interested in pursuing a Ph.D., one of my students said, “But aren’t you sixty-fi…” Thankfully another student stopped him before he completed his sentence. I have to be honest, I was offended. I played it off during the moment, but internally I was fuming.
First, I’m not in my 60s. Secondly, it’s rude to assume that I am. Third, even if I was in my 60s, why couldn’t I pursue a Ph.D.? There’s no age limit in returning to school. There are plenty of people older than me pursuing degrees. Age is just a number — not a mindset.
I’m in my 40s and I don’t consider myself “old.” I always envisioned someone old (male or female) as someone with white hair and a body covered in wrinkles over shriveled skin. I also see old people as those using walkers with humps on their backs.
I think anyone who is in their 60s, 70s, or 80s, is still able and capable of doing what they like and pursuing their dreams. There are plenty of stories on Google of men and women working, leading companies. raising children or grandchildren, taking up a new hobby, or getting a degree. They didn’t let age stop them from reaching their goals.
The older generation (65+) are called Boomers. They were born in the 1950s to mid-60s. The next generation would be their children, Generation X, They were born from the mid-60s to 1980. The next generation would be Gen X’s younger siblings, Generation Y, or Millenials. They were born in 1981 to the mid-1990s. Finally, there is Generation Z, born in the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, they would be the kids or grandkids of Generation X and Z.
Each generation has a complaint about the generation after it, But sometimes those complaints turn into ageist rhetoric that denies someone older a job or an opportunity. If someone in their 40s is interviewing for a job and the interviewer is in their 20s, the interviewer may have some bias against the older applicant, simply because that applicant is older.
Ageism is wrong. Especially in today’s economic climate. The United States is undergoing what economists are calling “The Great Resignation.” Since March of 2020, thousands of people went remote and realized that working from home was a much better option than working in a cubicle. In addition, many employees began pursuing side hustles that became businesses. This caused many employees to tell their bosses bye-bye.
Currently, there are over 10 million positions available across the U.S. From restaurant workers to office managers, from garbage collectors to team leaders, from cashiers to portfolio managers, companies are in dire need of employees to fill open positions. But many potential employees don’t want anything to do with the traditional work scene.
That’s where older workers could be a boon to employers. Older workers have the skills and knowledge to help companies. Older workers seek stability and good benefits. They’re willing to learn new techniques and processes. They’re not in it for the money like many employers assume. Older workers want to contribute to something. They have the ability and want to be a part of an organization.
Ageism needs to go the way of the CD and DVD player. Our economy can’t afford to discriminate against people. Age, race, gender, sexuality, and religion should not be a barrier to employment. It’s illegal to discriminate against people. Yes, it happens, but it needs to end.
As more and more people leave the corporate world, companies will feel it in their bottom line. Older workers can stop the loss of profits. Older workers bring insights that younger workers have yet to develop. Older workers have the energy and time to devote to a company. Young workers are still trying to figure things out, find themselves, and pad their resumes. Company loyalty is a thing of the past — but not to older workers.
As we go further into 2022, older workers could be the employees' companies need to help with innovation and develop new ideas. Don’t count out older workers. Their value is incredible.