Many of you have probably heard by now that Jay Leno is going to be handing over the reigns of the Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon on Feb. 17. “It’s not my decision,” he has stated. “I think I probably would have stayed if we didn’t have an extremely qualified young guy ready to jump in.”
This quote alone seems to put everything in perfect perspective. It matters not that Jay Leno was loyal to NBC for more than 20 years! There is always a younger person to step up to the plate as soon as our bosses push us far, far away from it.
I’m a huge James Bond fan. And I’ve even seen discrimination there as well. Pierce Brosnan was not attracting enough young fans (in the opinion of the producers); so at the age of 50, he was more or less pensioned off. Strangely enough, however, Roger Moore was allowed to play James Bond until he was only two years shy of 60!
So the vicious cycle continues! It does not discriminate as to whether we are a celebrity or a carpenter. At least the celebrity most likely has a much nicer nest egg to fall back upon. We continue to spit on our aging population and call it “retirement”, whether or not they are ready to quit working.
It’s in the cards, and has been for millennia: The older we get, the less valued we are. I’m well into my forties. And the only interview I have received from anyone, while being unemployed, is from a company selling insurance. I personally believe that the only companies who willfully hire older people consistently are those in the sales industry. I believe they do so, because they actually value the experience that we can bring to the table.
My folks, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but age discrimination is alive and will always thrive! Try working for a video game retailer, being the only one who is older than your district manager (and in many cases much wiser!), and see how long you last!
If you can land the job in the first damned place without dying your hair, then you can effectively say that God worked a miracle. If you don’t dye your hair, then don’t be surprised if you were denied employment because of some bullshit reason other than the truth — you’re too old (at least in the opinion of some puke who was probably crapping himself in the highchair when you were doing the very same thing he was doing when he interviewed you).
If you ever file a complaint of age discrimination, expect the company to explain to the Department of Labor that you “did not have the desired skills for the job”. Or maybe instead: you “were overqualified for the position”. Or the save all: “The person who was hired had the most compatible background to those who are most successful in this line of work.”
When it boils down to it, it is age discrimination that we end up finding wrapped up like a gift under a Christmas tree when we wake up in the twilight years of our lives. We are all doomed to be victims of an unfair labor system that has always been such from the dawn of time. And the beautiful thing about it (at least to the discriminatory pricks who call the shots) is that nine times out of ten, there is never one single way to prove it!
The bottom line is that it does not matter how hard a man or woman works in life, he or she will — in the end — find themselves rode hard and put up wet without so much as a “golden watch” at the end of it all. The sad thing is that we won’t be there to see the bastard who discriminated against us get the same treatment in the end. Otherwise, we would know just where to stick that golden watch we never got!