There’s a million websites and how-to’s posted about job hunting after the age of fifty, especially as a professional woman. It’s hard for many people to accept that there’s a bias against older women, but if it weren’t the case, then why is there so much written about it? A preponderance of evidence indicates reality.
Unless you’ve experienced age discrimination directly, I can see why it’s tough to believe. Imagine this situation–two equally talented candidates, both with track records of success, both bright and engaging communicators, both physically attractive. One, however is 51 and the other is 31. Now seriously, who do you think the hiring manager will lean towards? Yep, the younger person, unless of course, the older person has some sort of significant edge. Not exactly a level playing field.
I was interviewing for a software sales job several months ago. I cleared the initial hurdles easily through my credentials, references, recent history, industry knowledge and multiple phone screenings. The entire process ground to a halt when they asked for my driver’s license info to buy a plane ticket for the in-person interview across the country. The process went from daily interactions to nothing but the sound of crickets for several days—until I received the “Thanks but we’ve decided on a more qualified candidate” email message. Yep, really happened. And that was NOT the first time for me.
I’m not complaining, honest. I’ve always been able to land a job. Thankfully I am good at what I do, have great experience, the ability to find myself incredibly amusing, lots of contacts in the industry and a nice smile. Thank God, I’m genetically fortunate and mentally sturdy.
I also believe that wherever I am is exactly where I was destined to be at that moment in time, even if it sucks the biggest weenie imaginable. There is something to be gained or learned from each experience. The life lessons aren’t always immediately apparent, some have taken months and some have me scratching my head years later.
If a job hasn’t worked out for me, it’s because I wasn’t meant to be there anyway. Stay positive, work hard and know that the right placement is out there.