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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

People age 55-64 find it hard to rebound from unemployment, but are the wave of the future?

Yes! Someone FINALLY noticed! I knew I wasn't alone - that if this was happening to me, there were others out there grappling with a similar dilemma!

Check out this article tweeted by heymarci:

Thanks to reporter Cindy Krischer Goodman of the Miami Herald for noticing and for giving us a voice!

I lost a new job last April when I was 58. And while I have to accept some responsibility for allowing myself to be duped away from a two and a half year stable job to take a job that lasted only six weeks, shame shame shame on those who practice such irresponsible and hurtful hiring practices (all the while proclaiming they want to benefit community health and be seen as a premiere employer in the area)! I know it sounds harsh, but American workers are tiring of such corporate hypocrisy (and the growing wage disparities as well). After all, the only reason I started looking for a different job was because health care premiums had doubled, and I knew I had to find either a second job or more affordable benefits. But now, if it weren't for President Obama's ARRA discount, I wouldn't even have health care.

Seems as if management theory has been promoting more and more horrific management practices the past few year (and the propagators likely paid rather well, I might add) - but where do these ideas come from? In the eighties and nineties, participative management emerged as a management theory. It was both energizing and empowering. Along with more inclusive policies for women and minorities in the work place, it helped create opportunity, therefore it must have indirectly fostered economic growth. Like the GI Bill after World War II, it built the confidence of a generation. It encouraged exploration and new ideas. And then it disappeared. What ever happened to it? Of late, I really wonder if managers are turning to reality tv shows as their models. If this is truly the case, it does not improve life in the American workplace, needless to say, but rather seems just another way in the popular trend to be outrageous.

But perhaps I digress. Ageism is an age-old issue and it has touched all groups, whether privileged or marginalized. When I encounter ageism in the workplace, I just think, "May you also be blessed with health and long life. And don't you know you're looking at your future   - and don't you want to make it better?" And when that person is actually my age or older and hasn't a clue, I think, "There but for the grace of God go ...."

I hope we can get back on track and make the work place a better place for all Americans to work for future generations. A good place to start may be to join organizations like American Rights at Work (araw) and to support the Employee Free Choice Act. As well as putting some checks and balances on the abilities of individuals, corporations, and I suppose whole industries to buy our elected officials. Sigh. We have enough of that already. The current disparity of wealth in some cases is such that a single business entity or individual could "trump" the wishes of a whole democracy. And historically, human nature seems to favor the odds that they will. And if they do, will we still be truly free?

The second half of the title of Cindy's piece (that we may also be the wave of the future) is definitely more upbeat and hopeful - and that should give us incentive. :)


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