Age Prejudice is Real!
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Age prejudice is real. Don’t kid yourself for one minute, age prejudice is real. The first time that I experienced age prejudice, I was just 50 years old. I had applied at a large ad agency, for a job in their editorial department. My résumé fit the job description like a hand in a glove. I had a writing sample portfolio that was out of this world.
I had passed two interviews at this particular company. Then, they told me that I had to take a battery of tests. The tests took practically an entire day. There were sections on grammar, editing processes, questions about editor’s marks. There was some math in this test. There were some sections that were devoted to the arena of logical thinking. Well, the bottom line is that I did very well on all of these tests.
So, about three or four days, after taking all these tests, I got a phone call from someone at that ad agency. They told me that Mr. Big wanted to interview me. I got an appointment for an interview with Mr. Big and I was on Cloud Nine!
Well, what happened in the interview, seemed so unreal. About 10 minutes into the interview, Mr. Big looks me straight in the eyes. Mr. Big was about 30 years old. I am sure that his father was the owner or a partner in this advertising firm. All of a sudden, Mr. Big dropped the bombshell and makes this statement to me. This is honestly, as best I remember it.
“Look, Richard, you seem like you know a lot about the advertising business. But here’s the thing, and I’ll give it to you straight. I’m looking to change this ad agency to be filled with young people. I need young ideas. I need young thinking. I need young energy.”
“Look, I’m just telling you like it is. And, if you mention this to anyone, I’ll deny everything I said. Do we understand each other?”
There was nothing else to say. I put my writing samples in my briefcase and walked out the door. I just walked out the door. I said nothing to the age bigot. I was so furious.
I’ve heard all the rhetoric that age prejudice is not real. It is real. It is incredibly real. I am presently living in this 55+ gated community in Central Florida. Ironically, there is even age discrimination in this so called paradise. Age prejudice is real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There is in my heart a burning fire. A burning fire to beat the odds, get back on the horse and take my rightful place in the world of editing and writing. I’ve had to dig deep within myself, knowing that age prejudice is real. And, please do not send a message that I’m imagining all of this about age prejudice. Age prejudice is real!
I know, with the can-do attitude and the can-do spirit burning in my heart, I will find that niche to once again earn a decent paycheck for putting words down on paper, for editing, for copy writing. I know the smirk, of that young person, giving an interview to an older person applying for a job. I know all the clever ways that personnel types tip-toe through the ugly weeds of age prejudice.
To any of my good readers, who are finding themselves the victims of age prejudice; please do find that can-do spirit in your heart. Keep trying and trying and trying. Never give up. Never, never, never give up. Yes age prejudice is real. But then, so is the strength and power of maintaining a can-do spirit through all of the ignorance of age prejudice. Just keep on trying and trying to find a worthy place in the work place, if that is what you want. Never give up!