March 15, 2005

Let's face it: Age always a major factor in finding a new job

Author: Jim Westbrook

After nearly a five-year hiatus, I have re-joined the ranks of the unemployed, courtesy of a layoff. It seems that it doesn't matter what they call the reason for termination; you still feel just as broke when the checks quit coming.

Worse yet, I am almost five years older than when I last was in the available labor pool. Back when I first got into computer networking as a career, that five years would have made little or no difference. Today, however, I'm finding that it is a significant barrier to re-employment. No, potential employers do not come right out and say, "You're too damned old." Rather, they apply the label of "over-qualified" for whatever position you are seeking.

One would think that qualifications beyond their stated minimums would be an advantage, since they would be getting a more capable worker for lower wages. But, no, they're afraid that you will "jump ship" at the first opportunity for higher wages. Perhaps this fear is rationalized by their past experiences. However, as they have no past experience with me personally it is, at best, a form of prejudice.

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