What Pisses Me Off: Age discrimination 132

What pisses me off


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Sixty something. Sixty something is my age, not my waist size. I’ve never really been interested in age – always thought it was just a number, but when I came to putting it on paper, I thought “Sh*t, am I that old?”

So ‘sixty something’ is close enough and recently I have discovered that being that age can be so disadvantageous to you, especially if you are a woman.

You will notice as you read this that swearing, or “cussing” as the yanks say, will be frequently evident. Cussing, I like that word… anyway, to get back to it, I didn’t cuss before my 30-year relationship started to fall apart. Oh, there was the odd ‘bugger’ or similar, but believe me, when your partner, the love of your life, turns out to be a low life, you learn to use words you had only heard in movies. Words like ‘prick’ or ‘bastard’ – well you get my drift, don’t you?

Of course my friend Kandy knows all the right words to use to describe something or someone. The words that come from that woman’s mouth continue to astound me. I can only surmise that a cheating husband and the fact that she drove a very large dump truck at a mine have taught her well. She in turn, has taught me the few words I had not yet picked up by the time I turned sixty.  At least I am attributing some of my colourful vocabulary to her! 

All I know is that I know some interesting women, some bitches, some corporate types, some smart, some not so smart and some, I believe, even running them over with a truck will not make them any nicer. But they are all around the sixty something age, some not yet 60, others already past that milestone. The majority of them are now single and not always, but mostly because their cheating scum arsehole husbands have left them for “greener pastures”. Know what I mean girls?

What does it mean to be a woman and sixty or thereabouts? Most men who bother to give me the time of day seem to think women over the age of 40 have nothing to offer society. Of course these are men fast approaching the 60 age group or already there. Men who nearly run off the road while driving because their heads have turned so far around to ogle a 20-something walking down the street, they look like a scene from the Exorcist. Men who believe they still look 40 when they ‘admire’ themselves in the mirror and men who need a dictionary to look up the words, love, trust and honesty.

Teenagers think 60 is old. They can’t imagine being 60 and although they have been on this earth for only a few years, they know way more than a 60 year old. Oh, I would love to be there when they are in my shoes. Perhaps they will remember me telling them that they too shall hit six decades before they know it and they too will be treated like bloody idiots.

Then there is my favourite – the employer. Now, in this country it is illegal not to employ someone just because they are of a ‘mature’ age. What part of that law don’t they understand? And if you are a sixty something woman, this makes it even more impossible to gain employment. Through actions more so than words, I have had one such person act as though I should be grateful he was even talking to me, let alone considering me for work. Which by the way, I didn’t get although I had 10 years’ previous experience – eight years more than him. He on the other hand, I believe suffers from small man syndrome. You know the type – short, sleek hair, too tight trousers and a shirt that only fits where it touches so he can show off his biceps. He looks down at himself when walking, just because he likes to look at himself. I know women like that too, but that’s another story.

There was also the woman 20 years my junior who asked me would I be able to see well enough to do the job? Give me a break – really? Yes, I wear glasses for reading and computer work, but have done so long before I was 60, so it has nothing to do with my age. Bet she didn’t ask the cutesie young girl waiting in the outer office that same question – their loss, I say. 

And speaking of cutesie, in my experience cutesie will get you the promotion or the job ahead of 60, female and experienced. Just my opinion. Usually an employer will not give you a reason if they bother to contact you at all, but if they do it will not be that you are too old. I can just picture them sitting in their air-conditioned office, twirling the pencil and smiling down at the little cutesie, while thinking ‘how stupid was the sixty something woman to think she could get the job over this little cutesie?’. Well, I say to all such employers, get stuffed.

So now you are starting to understand what exactly I am writing about, sit back, relax and enjoy. Perhaps you will see yourself or someone you know in these words. Perhaps you will agree wholeheartedly or perhaps you will disagree. You may think I’m a crazy, bitter, twisted old woman. I can tell you, I am not old! Whatever you think, I hope you can relate to and laugh at these chapters that convey my life and the lives of others through the eyes of a sixty something woman.

Thank you to Fran for sending this in. What do you think? Have you had similar experiences to Fran? How have you been discriminated against in your 60s, male or female? Tell us below.

Guest Contributor

  1. Society perceives us as old and well past our use by date, but we have all got that wisdom that comes with age and we know that while you develop the wrinkles that come with time, that you don’t age in our minds, we still feel the same as we always did. As for your husband and a younger women..well mine did this same when I turned 40, he got a 21 year old girlfriend, she was younger than my son . I am well rid of him. I think the Government has added to perception of us by calling us leaners. They have firmly put the Baby Boomers in the limelight

    2 REPLY
    • Sorry your husband was a jerk. Baby boomers are in the limelight……….We are being targeted buy current govt………Age of entitlement is over……..Was Hockeys speech. If that is so……How is it that it doesn’t apply to any pollie current or former???

  2. Once I used to dazzle, now I am not even fizzling, I slip through life almost silent and unseen I am an over 70’s female. But it does have it’s bright side, I find many youngsters in society to be kind to you and open doors for you ect. Not all is bad with ageing but if your living on a pension, your days of getting manicures and going out for coffee are well and truly gone

    4 REPLY
    • Elise, hang in there. I am hearing you with the finance side, but as far as fizzling, I bet you would be a “SIZZLER” given the chance!!!!!!!!!!

    • I was in a job finding place and was told “I am taking u for an interview and will pick u up at certain time” so off I goes back home to put something nicer on for an interview in the car I was talking to the bloke.. I told him one thing I will not do is lie .. we gets to this place it was a chicken company.. well we goes in for the interview this female never ever once took her eyes off me.. I said I have my resume she said I don’t want to see that .. can u do data entry?? I said I am not going to lie no I cant but I am very willing to learn her reply was .. “well at your age u don’t need stress and I don’t have time to teach u interview over crikey I got outside and I gave it to the bloke he didn’t even know about the data entry stuff.. she was rude and I felt like she was putting me down even before the interview started she was complaining about the other female who was slow .. I sat there listening to her putting that worker down.. I told that bloke I was NOT impressed with her attitude as I am very willing to learn something new.. he said u would have been the best one they hav eworking there in that office.. so I am a lollypop lady.. only job I could get after working for another council for over 25 1/2yrs and giving my all to that rotten place.. I wont ever forget the way I was treated and bullied …. I was railroaded …

      1 REPLY
    • I was told at this time they didn’t think I could learn a new system. I had been doing almost identical work for ten years, but was assured that it was not an age thing. I have excellent references and heaps of experience. I am always on time, well dressed and polite and always read up on the company. Of course it’s an age thing!!!!!

    • Grins Elise I am sure U still dazzle………..If U R like me I dazzle/frazzle myself. Then I forget. Yes there are nice youngsters out there……..sadly , few and far between. So pleasant when U see a good one……..I will have a coffee with you.

  3. do you really mean all this stuff? I haven’t been 60for a long time,so I’m not job hunting,but I have a great life with many friends a lot under 50 and a fair few are your so called cutesies from all walks of life,I love their bright happy ways and their willingness to try new things,I have found if you want friends and respect you have to be a friend and give respect,just because they don’t have your years of experience does not make them stupid,and your beliitling attitude to men is beyond belief, I’d say you need to grow up.

    4 REPLY
    • I agree with you Terri. There are women who have suffered because their husbands/partners have let their brain be ruled by you know what. On the other hand there are men who have left a relationship for very sound and understandable reasons. Some women deal with this and get on with their lives whilst some retreat and become bitter and resentful. The latter develop a misguided distrust of society and find fault in just about everything. They fail to see that it is not age that restricts them. It is the image that they portray as a result of this festering inner turmoil.
      The above article is I think intended as a humorous, tongue in cheek comment. Sadly the author has touched upon something that is very real and most of what she deals with is probably based upon experience and observation. As the saying goes…..” Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”

    • Age is a state of mine, some people at 40 act 80 an others at 90 are just having the best time an everybody has a story to tell,Never enjoyed myself so much an im dont class myself as old But people do, do like im invisable an speak down to you even in the Banks an we have more Wisdom as we have LIVED

    • I agree also. I am 61 and work at Priceline with bright young things, I love it. These young people don’t treat me like I’m over the hill and we enjoy each other’s company

      1 REPLY
  4. I just take life as it comes, once I was young , now I am older. That is life. Yes there is age discrimination but unless society changes and we start to give older people the respect they deserve nothing will change

    1 REPLY
  5. I have never seen age as a barrier to employment, friendships or romance or anything else. Perhaps I’ve been fortunate, I’m 60+. I found that one’s attitude to life affects the quality of one’s life. Like anyone else I’ve had my share of ups and downs, but I persevered, believing that things pass and that change is good. For me what works is to embrace life, to be grateful for my health & family, to enjoy the simple pleasures like nature, a beautiful portrait, flowers on a window sill, books, music, family and friends. I cultivate my own interests and love sharing these with people who are interested. I have always believed that young and old can learn from each other. We all have a lot to offer regardless of age. I don’t wear labels, such as old, senior etc.. But I accept that I have reached this stage of my life and am grateful that I’m still here. Both my parents passed away in their late 40s. They have missed out on so much living. And with each birthday I reflect on them & how much of life they have missed. Because that’s what life is about – living and participation. My grandmother once told me to enjoy each stage of life, for each stage has its own beauty. She was right. Lamenting & regret is not productive and brings only melancholy.

    9 REPLY
    • Great comments Genevieve makes me want to try harder and embrace life. But sometimes I’m a little like the guest writer and get cranky. Lol

    • I agree wholeheartedly with you, Genevieve. The attitude you carry and present to the world is what makes you accepted or rejected. I also celebrate every new decade or Birthday because I feel so grateful to have achieved them, unlike some friends who have passed away far too early. Don’t forget we probably saw our elders as “old” when we were young. It’s the way of the world. Just get on and enjoy life!

    • Maybe I am looking at this in a different light, but for you Genevieve, life is treating you well, and you are sort of criticising the writer for not having your attitude to life. I like you are happy and secure in my own skin at nearly 70. However, there are some women who desperately need to continue to work, they have maybe not had our ‘luck’ in life, have not trained in a professional job which enables them to work beyond the 60 mark without difficulty. The retirement age has risen, women have to work for longer, what do you do if you are trying to compete for an office job with a younger person, obviously like this writer. You get knocked back, they don’t have to tell you why. Have been through two divorces, I understand having nothing, but thankfully, through my own hard efforts I am in a great space, but not all women are as lucky as me, nor you, so off that pedestal please, I am not going to pat you on the back for smugness, rather say, have a little more compassion, we are here to understand all viewpoints, the writer, no matter how she put it, has a very valid one. Age discrimination is hard to cope with.

    • My apologies if I came across as one who lacked compassion. It was not my intention to hurt anyone, least of all the writer who had the courage to write sincerely. And yes, there are people doing it very hard. And age discrimination is very hard to cope with. Please accept my sincere apologies. Thankyou for your humbling feedback.

  6. Age is only a number, at 65 I feel young and healthy. I hate when newspapers report someone in their 60s is elderly, elderly to me is over 80s these days.

    1 REPLY
    • Too true. I see it time and time again and can’t believe they are saying it. Now, my mother-in-law, who turns 103 this year, is what I would regard as elderly.

  7. Yes there’s age discrimination. Yes the cute chick will always get the job before you. Yes she will get promoted before you and be expected to do a lot less work than you. She will get better service in shops and restaurants . It’s all about sex . That’s life I have discovered.

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