No Country for Old Men

No Country for Old Men, by Paul Collits.

People over sixty, perhaps even over fifty, can’t get jobs.

Many readers will have either been the victim of, or know someone who has been the victim of, age discrimination in the workplace. You can seldom prove it, of course, because this most insidious of the various, much more widely discussed forms of discrimination (mostly figments of the fevered imaginations of human rights bureaucrats), is normally very cleverly hidden, either in craftily penned job descriptions or through other means during the job selection process. …

Recent US research shows that more than half of older American workers are pushed out of long-term jobs before they want to retire. As an article describing the research says, “if you’re over fifty, chances are the decision to leave a job won’t be yours.” …

In a story this year, ProPublica described how IBM has forced out more than 20,000 U.S. workers aged 40 and over in just the past five years in order to, in the words of one internal company planning document, “correct seniority mix.” To accomplish this, the company used a combination of layoffs and forced retirements, as well as tactics such as mandatory relocations seemingly designed to push longtime workers to quit. …

The effect on self-esteem and mental health of losing your job in your fifties, not to mention the impact on the family bank balance, is severe, needless to say. And generally there is no going back. …

So the thought of the government taxing the family home after it has already messed endlessly with your super, and is now trying to make you work into your seventies, is pretty galling. That is, if you are lucky enough actually to get another job having retired or having been retired by some upstart in short pants. A job that will likely pay you far less than the one from which you were “transitioned out”, and probably employ you for far fewer hours. Oh, and you might have to go away, even hundreds of miles, and be separated from your loved ones, in order to snag that job. I had to move to another country, since my own was indeed no country for old men.

Read it all.