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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Age discrimination

Age discrimination is against the law, but it would seem that companies have found a loophole.  While they can’t specify in the ad that only young people need apply, there are other means of letting older people know they are not wanted.

This week I saw an ad …

“Wanted.  Executive Assistant with a flair for writing.  Salary $45,000”

Perfect, I thought.  Not only have I been an assistant for more years than I can remember, I have written three novels, two children’s books and about 600 articles.  An interview had to be forthcoming.

When I didn’t hear from the agency I gave them a call myself and asked to speak to the person who handled the job ad. 
After some uncomfortable hmm’s, aah’s and euh’s, the woman told me that the company was looking for someone they could train and mould to their requirements.  

Fine, I’ve had training before, I could do it again.  As for moulding, for $45,000 a year they could mould me into anything they wanted. 

“Yeah, but you’re probably set in your ways,” the woman said.
No, I’m not set in my ways.  If a company wants me to do things their way, I can change.

Eventually the consultant let the cat out of the bag … the company wanted someone with no more than two years experience.  In age discrimination language that means … we want a young dolly bird.  Strange, I thought, $45,000 for someone with hardly any experience!

On to the next ad I had seen.

“Assistant required for VP.  Minimum 5 years experience.  Advanced knowledge of MS-Word, Exel, PowerPoint, Outlook and Acrobat.  Superb keyboarding skills.  Some bookkeeping required.  Salary between $25,000.”

Well I’ll be damned.  Here an assistant to a VP, who had to have at least 5 years experience and needed a string of software knowledge was offered a measly $25,000 while in the other ad a young bird, who didn’t need to have knowledge about anything – the company would train her to their specifications - was promised $45,000 . 

How does that add up?

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