TWITTER: @sirbacon123

08 March 2010

Age Is A 4-Letter Word

My dad was an incredibly successful person, holding several high profile jobs during his career.

Each time he would change his job, there was usually a formal announcement that followed.

During the back half of his career, when the press release came out, one thing was always constant.

He was 51 years old.

When he really was 51, I was only 13, so all I really cared about was what city we were moving to and not how old he was.

But after four or five job changes and his age remaining the same, I started catching on.

Nothing gets by me, right?

When I was finally old enough to understand what he was doing, my stepmother and I were sworn to secrecy about his true age.

In fact, it got so bad that when he passed away nearly eight years ago at the age of 75 and somebody asked how old he was, I actually asked Barbara if it would be alright to tell the truth.

My dad and I had a couple of conversations about why he hid his real age. I don’t remember the exact answer, but it had something to do with nobody wanting to hire an old man.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when I got a call from a former colleague/supervisor/friend.

We worked together for a short period of time, but in that time, we definitely developed mutual respect for each other.

As it turned out, we ended up being relocated to the same city, where as it turned out, we were both laid off.

When he called me, I’m not sure that he was aware of my unemployment status.

I think he might’ve been looking for a job.

It took me about three seconds, or twenty minutes that felt like three seconds, for me to update him.

We traded battle wounds for a few minutes, then started talking about the future.

My dad always taught me to be VERY protective of my privacy -- hence Sir Bacon -- so I didn’t really lead on much, not that there was much to lead onto.

I told him I tried contacting some of our old colleagues and haven't had much response.

He did the same.

I shared with him that I have visited pretty much EVERY internet job site several times a week for the last 15 months.

He’s been doing it for more than two years.

We talked about his messy divorce and how his wife skipped town with their kids.

Thankfully I couldn’t relate, but that truly broke what was left of my heart.

He then said that money is getting very tight and he wasn’t sure that he would ever get another job in our industry.

“Who wants to hire a 56-year old?”

Dad, is that you?

Now my buddy has issues, just like the rest of us, but I never figured that age was one of them.

He’s got all the energy of, say a 42-year old, like me.... all the experience of a 51-year old, like my dad.... and all the maturity of a 56-year old.

Since when did those qualities become a bad thing?

I guess the bottom line is that once again, yes, my father knows best.

To be honest, the conversation with my friend really freaked me out.

I truly consider myself in the prime of my career or at least what used to be my career, but nobody I know is knocking down my door.

In fact, many of our old colleagues, who have moved onto fancy titles with fancy cars, can’t even find the time to reply to our email.

As my friend put it, they wouldn’t even consider hiring us since we know at least as much as they do and we would only be a threat to them.

Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way.

I’ve always considered myself a team player and to me having talented, experienced, hard-working people on your team is a good thing.

No matter how old they are.


Bernard Bujold said...

Great article.
You should contact a friend of mine (Facebook's one...)
She was the subject of an article in The Wall Street Journal last year
and we got in touch then.

Last month she published a book about exactly our problem: Finding a job after 50.
Here is here her web link.

She is also on my facebook's list of friends.
Again, very good article of yours!
Bernard Bujold

random said...

hello sir bacon, i started following your blog when i first read it via businessinsider, and just a note to tell u how i enjoy it. enjoy doesn't seem to be quite the right word, but it makes me think, and wants me to read your past entries again.

thank you for your heartfelt sharing.