The number of people 65 and older in the U.S. is expected to increase from 55 million in 2020; to some 70 million by 2030. Yet according to a 2015 New York Times editorial, “Older people are likely to be seen as a burden and a drain on resources, rather than as a resource in themselves.”
If you’re over 40, chances are that you or someone you know has experienced some form of discrimination. Many have experienced age discrimination in the workplace, but it can be found anywhere, under many guises, often subtle but sometimes overt. How might you feel after watching this video?
Here’s a transcript of the conversation:
Caption: What if being a customer over 40 were as hard as getting a job over 40? We set up a fake business to see what would happen.
Employee: Welcome to Basketacular! Today we’re giving away free gifts. When were you born? How old are you? This is over 40 and that’s the under 40 line. Hold on, I have another preferred customer. Hello! How are you?
Man: She’s preferred? How come I’m not preferred? Because I’m old?
Employee: Welcome to Basketacular!
Man: I’ve got to wander a maze to get up here!
Employee: So, can you use the tablet and just fill our your email? Just for feedback?
Employee: Your generation probably doesn’t know how to use the tablet, so I’m just going to get you a pad of paper.
Man: Do you know what I do for a living? I’m a programmer. I know more about tablets than you do by a long shot.
Woman: That’s kind of judgmental. I may be your perfect customer.
Employee: We’re just not prepared to offer you gift baskets at the price point you’re looking for.
Woman: You don’t even know the price point I’m looking for.
Employee: I mean, I can assume that you’re going to be expensive.
Woman: I would never count out a customer. I get the age discrimination a lot. I’m unemployed right now, looking for a job. I was laid off when I was 60 years old. And I’ve been basically told time and time again, “You wouldn’t fit in with our team.” I’m always judged more for my age than my resume.
Employee: I’m just going to create this barrier right here. Okay, so just stay right there. I’m just going to create a barrier here. We’re going to get you guys right through.
Man: Why did he get penned off in a different section?
Employee: Just because you guys are exactly what we’re looking for: young, fresh digital natives.
Man: I don’t think I agree with you. Thank you for your time.
Man: Neither do I. Here.
Man: Discrimination is discrimination. It doesn’t matter if it’s based on age, sex or race.
Woman: I’m glad that ageism is being recognized.
Man: I think our workplaces thrive when you have mixes of ages.
Woman: The truth is, we can do anything. We’ve been through it all.
Caption: 3 in 5 older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace. Age discrimination is wrong. Let’s fight it together. aarp.org/work AARP, Real Possibilities
This is just one of a series of brief but insightful selected videos I am posting that dispel basic myths, spotlight simple pleasures, and demonstrate what is possible when we change our views on aging.
As you view each video, consider for yourself, how much society stands to gains when we switch our thinking from measuring people in terms of “years of value,” to “value in their years!”
Age discrimination impacts us all. Join me in making a difference now!