I’m getting to the point in my life where I’ve got a few gray hairs. OK, maybe more than a few. Who am I kidding? I’m middle aged, but at the peak of my career with experience, wisdom and leadership. During my recent layoff I lost my job along with several hundred other folks at my company. One of the things that got me thinking about my age for the first time was that they included a letter in my severance package that showed the titles of each of the persons in my department and their ages. The only 2 of us relieved from duty from my immediate team were “over 40”.
I think the intention of the letter was try to show that I wasn’t being age discriminated, but when I looked at the letter and saw all of the others with my same title I was the only guy “over 40”. The rest of my teammates were 21-35. And I was hired in before all of them, as well. I was the senior guy with the most experience. Possibly the most expensive, consequently, but for the first time in my career I genuinely felt like they could have been looking at my age and my expense. The younger guys were, likely, cheaper.
Any way you look at a layoff it’s a bad situation. The company has to make some cuts for, usually, legitimate financial reasons. You may not have done anything wrong. As a friend of mine said yesterday, “You were a line on a spreadsheet that someone just highlighted and hit delete.” I nodded my head in agreement. She continued that, “It wasn’t personal. You didn’t do anything wrong. They just needed to make some cuts and, unfortunately, your position was selected.” It did make me feel a bit better. However, if you are now, or have EVER been in my shoes, you know that it IS personal to you. It’s personal in that the company has taken away your ability to continue providing for yourself and your family at the same level that you’ve grown accustomed to.
No, I don’t feel age discriminated in that I’m angry enough to sue my former employer. I am bitter about the selection process and I know, and my boss knows, that I did a good job. I’m at peace with that. I’m just ready to get past this unfortunate circumstance and move on. Some other company is going to better appreciate my value and the worth that I can bring to them, and you will find that, too.
Don’t let age slow you down! Get out there and prove to your next potential employer that you’re the best person for the job because you’ve got the experience to do it well!
Let me hear from you. I, sincerely, hope this is good advice for you that you can put to use right away! Please share your story with our readers by posting your comments!
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