You know how dogs do that stiff-legged resistance thing when you try to drag them through the door to see the vet? Well, older workers are apparently doing the same when it comes to retirement. They are digging in and not budging, much to the chagrin of companies that would like to be rid of them and their higher salaries.
It never occurred to me that I would be unemployed in mid-life. Well, yes, it had occurred to me when my tits were still perky and my mind malleable, so I went to grad school, got a Ph.D. and embarked on what was once a promising and stellar career. But after I found myself in the cross-hairs of those in institutional power, my carefully-constructed career came tumbling down.
Mitt Romney was surrounded by grandkids during his presidential run and no one ever ventured the question, let alone the thought, that he might not be a good grandfather or was not involved enough in their lives. But 66, for a woman in the political arena (and other arenas as well), is a different story. Unlike a man, a woman's "shelf-life" seems to be limited when she is described, even in her 60s, as a grandmother.
It wasn't so long ago that employers could usher you out the door because you had celebrated a birthday that made you "too old to work" in the eyes of some of them. With the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1967, Congress decreed that couldn't happen before age 65, and in 1986, mandatory retirement was eliminated for most occupations.
He backed up a couple of steps, held the door open for me, and, with a smile, said, "You first, old man." When I tell my friends about this, they say, "That was really an unkind thing for him to say." But I tell my family and friends how much I appreciated his comment, because it reflected the truth.
It is one thing when advancing age provides a perk or two, even if the reasons for them are not always fully appreciated. However, it is quite another when age prevents qualified candidates from getting through the door and having an opportunity to market themselves in person to prospective employers.