Last night I sat in my chair in the living room and wrote my heart. My hurting heart. Then I posted it. Then I took it down for fear of gaining sympathy. That’s not what I’m looking for. I wanted to share my feelings at a very raw, painful time in my life. I read countless blogs of wonderful writers who share their inner-most pain, but I just usually try to entertain. That being said, I’ve decided to repost last night’s blog because I don’t get any more honest than I did when I wrote it. I’m posting, not for sympathy, but for awareness. If you know someone who’s been discriminated against, please share, and/or please pass this along to others. Thanks.
Today I sat in a little room, dressed in my best business outfit and humbled myself in front of a person much younger than me, because I needed a decent job. The interviewer herself didn't bother to dress up. She wore “trashy casual” and her hair was a disheveled mess. I actually felt sorry for her. For about half a second. Until our eyes met and I saw it. She had already discounted me before I even had a chance to speak. She had dismissed me and had no intention of hiring me. I saw it in her eyes, and as much as I tried to ignore it and do my very best to interview well, her prejudice permeated the room and my existence. I shudder as I write this because I still feel it.
Welcome to my world since September 2009 when I was laid off my job due to downsizing. Ever since that perfect, nicely paying job, I have crashed, head-on, smack into the middle of age discrimination. Now I’m sure none of you want to read my bitching, because you don’t come here for that, and you can leave if you want. But this post is coming from my core. And right now my fucking core is red hot. Tonight I am not about fiction or humor. Tonight I am fighting mad.
Yes, I’ve landed a couple of very low-paying, sub-par, entry level jobs over the past two years, and I’ve tried to stay with them as best I could. Now all I hear on TV is how the economy is improving and jobs are being created and better jobs are out there. I’m just trying to get back into the workforce. But I have to tell you, I am sick and tired of being treated like a decrepit old woman, when I am anything but that! I am so ashamed of corporate America, I can’t even begin to express my sadness and my angst.
Where are those people who profess to being liberal, tolerant, caring and compassionate? Well, they are certainly not interviewing prospective employees. It’s one thing to claim age discrimination is wrong (or any other type of discrimination for that matter), but it’s quite another to back it up with action. I have a keen, quick mind, a shitload of education, and a world of experience….and it is all going to waste!
Will someone out there tell me why this is happening? I have literally tried everything short of having a full-body transplant and I am still just viewed as a nice little old lady. I’m supposed to bake cookies and smile a lot and have a house full of cats. OR whatever?
This forced aging of my psyche has tainted my outlook on things to the point that I don’t even know how to be funny anymore. I don’t even want to blog anymore. It’s not like I get many readers anyway. I refuse to be pegged into a one-subject blog-role. Yes, some of us old folks do enjoy variety.
I am 58 years old. I have been around the world. I am educated. I am compassionate. I am liberal but poised and diplomatic. I know manners. I love young people. I love babies. I love old people. I like all kinds of music. I love to dance. I AM funny. I can write. Oh HELL yes I can write.
And I feel. And it hurts when all someone sees when they look at me is old. God it hurts so much. I don’t put young folks into categories. Why would I ever want to do that? I would be missing out on knowing so many beautiful souls.
But people? I am so fucking sick of crying. When I look back at today and so many other interviews I have had, I always pick apart each second of the interview, trying to figure out what went wrong.
I dress very professionally, so that’s not the problem. My resume and references are impeccable. Not the problem. My interview techniques are polished and practiced. Again, not the problem. However?
I have a bad back and knees, so I walk with a limp, a little bent over. Today, I tried so hard to straighten up when I walked through the door. I must not have accomplished my goal. I also have some gray hair and my teeth are not good. They are not brown, but they are spaced. And? I have wrinkles I didn’t have two years ago, from aging and worrying and life being so very hard. I’m also overweight but I can still fit through the door, for crying out loud.
Did that woman size me up because of those things today? I can’t say for sure. All I can say is that I saw something in her eyes that I’ve seen at almost every interview.
A dismissal. I was being dismissed. For my age? For my appearance? Both?
How the hell does anyone fight back?
How do I get the message out there so people like me won’t be discounted and dismissed?
I just don’t know anymore. May as well throw my hands up in the air, give up, find my rocking chair and learn how to knit little booties for all my cats. I have no cats, but as an old person, I’d need to get some, I suppose.
I’ve just had it, can you tell? No, I’m not paranoid. And, no I don’t want sympathy. I’m just really pissed off and need to let off some steam.
And tomorrow I’ll get up, dust myself off, and do it all over again.