Yeah, age discrimination is real, but this is ridiculous


One of those job-hunting websites I signed up for years ago continues to send me advice. I found this rather mind-blowing:

The Y2K Bug… on your resume

Good Monday morning, Brad,

You may remember this global panic around the turn of the century. The “Y2K bug” was an obscure, but potentially disruptive, computer glitch that we spent $400 billion fixing. Midnight on New Year’s Eve 1999 came and went without the dawn of the apocalypse, however, and Y2K passed into history.

But now the Year 2000 Problem rises again and this time it’s on your resume: those dates and entries that indicate you were already out of college and in the workforce before the new millennium arrived give too much latitude to age discrimination.

At Ladders, we’ve got a simple solution for those of you with two or more decades of experience:

Don’t list any dates on your resume before the Year 2000.

Age discrimination is rampant in American work culture.

It’s unfair, unkind, and uncharitable of the world to treat you that way, but it’s also undeniably true that the bias against ‘the olds’ is creeping its way further and further down into the demographics. It won’t be long before the oldest Millennials are considered washed up by their youngest peers.

I’ve written at some length before on how Age Discrimination is Mindset Discrimination, and the steps you can take to thrive in job interviews because of your experience rather than fear them because of your age.

But to master the interview you’ve got to get the interview. And to get the interview, you’ve got to remove anything from the process that can trip you up. …

Say what? Nothing before 2000, which was like, what, five minutes ago?

Yo, Mr. White, I’m trying to get a job here, so I can make mad stacks — I’m not applying to get into preschool!…

2 thoughts on “Yeah, age discrimination is real, but this is ridiculous

  1. Brad Warthen Post author

    My sense of the absurd at reading this is heightened by the fact that in my last job in which I did any hiring, I would have been unlikely to hire someone with LESS than 16 years experience. Not that I never did so. I think Mike Fitts was a year or two short of that when I brought him onto the board. But the point of being an editorial board member is that you need to be HIGHLY experienced, preferably have institutional memory and be someone who’s pretty much seen everything. Mike was an exception, because he’s always been wise beyond his years.

    In other situations, I might have gone for young and hungry. That’s certainly what I did back in the early ’90s (yes, before 2000!) when I was still in the newsroom and I was replacing Lee Bandy up in the Washington Bureau. My bosses, the executive editor and managing editor, wanted me to hire someone with a resume like Bandy’s, someone who would command immediate respect from the rest of the Washington press corps and officialdom. But I found Brigid Schulte, who was 30ish and working for peanuts at States News Service — a place for people who were trying to break into Washington journalism, a service that provided coverage for papers that didn’t have their own Washington correspondents. Brigid was smart and ambitious and doing impressive work. I interviewed the veterans and duly considered them, but I wanted Brigid.

    I got my way, and worked with her for about a year before I moved to editorial. Shortly after that, the Knight Ridder national staff swiped her from us. A couple of years after that, she was at The Washington Post. In 2014, she was the author of a New York Times best-seller.

    Which is my way of saying, young or old, get out of my way and let me do the hiring. I know how to pick ’em… 🙂

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    After writing that at the end, I got all nostalgic for Jesse Pinkman — someone none of us had heard of in 2000, of course…

    Some of his greatest lines:

    “Look, I like making cherry product, but let’s keep it real, alright? We make poison for people who don’t care. We probably have the most unpicky customers in the world.”

    “Possum. Big, freaky, lookin’ bitch. Since when did they change it to opossum? When I was comin’ up it was just possum. Opossum makes it sound like he’s irish or something. Why do they gotta go changing everything?”

    “What the hell kind of mother are you?… How ’bout you feed the kid a decent meal every now and then, huh? Give him a bath. Put some baby powder on him. Get him some decent TV to watch; I mean, what is that shit? Are you serious? ”

    “Walter White: You didn’t follow my instructions!
    Jesse Pinkman: Oh Heil Hitler bitch! ”

    “High school was a long time ago. You ain’t “Welcome Back Kotter”, so step off. ”

    “t’s weird, is all. Okay, it doesn’t compute. Listen, if you’ve gone crazy or something, I mean, if you… If you’ve gone crazy, or depressed. I’m… I’m just saying. That… That’s something I need to know about. Okay, I mean, that affects me. ”

    “Jesse Pinkman: Dude, you scared the shit out of me. When you say it’s contamination. I mean, I’m thinking like… an ebola leak or something.
    Walter White: Ebola.
    Jesse Pinkman: Yeah, it’s a disease on the Discovery Channel where all your intestines sort of just slip right out of your butt.
    Walter White: Thank you, I know what ebola is. ”

    “So you’re chasing around a fly and in your world, I’m the idiot?”

    OK, I’ll stop now… And sorry about the language, but yo, this is Jesse Pinkman, b___h…

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