Several years ago ABC News ran an article, “And Now, the 50-year old intern,” by Alan Farnham. Read it here.
This article seems disturbing because it seems to reinforce norms supporting age discrimination.
The author refers to people 50 years and older as “aged newbies.” Fifty is hardly “aged.” Today’s 50-year-old was born in 1962. He or she can’t collect full retirement social security benefits for another 17 years. That’s hardly retirement age. This “aged newbie” can expect to live another 20 to 30 years, probably working the whole time.
The article goes on to say, “some employers are happy hire to hire them–not just because they work cheap, but because they bring with them mature judgement and valuable experience.”
Translation: They’re working DOUBLE cheap. These companies recognize value but aren’t willing to pay for it.
Worst of all, the article doesn’t talk about what happens to these workers post-internships. Do internships really lead to new jobs? Or do employers take the cheap labor and say, “Thank you very much. Now we’ll hire another intern or a younger worker.”
What’s better: Try to find a way to create your own business. I recently talked to a neighbor who created a business of dog walking and cat sitting. She earns more now than she did as a teacher, even with extra taxes and expenses … and her work clothes consist of old jeans and sweatshirts.
What do you think? Comment below. If you don’t see a comment section, click on the title.
Someone had better go back to school and learn math. The last time I did subtraction, 1972 from 2012 was 40 years, NOT 50 years. Sorry but if it is other than that please let us all know. You must have gone to a different kind of school…I know, maybe it’s the new math they are now teaching.
Ellen Zucker says
Minor correction; a 50 year old was born in 1962 (I’m close enough to that age to know:) Nonetheless, I share your feelings about that issue. It’s disturbing that the article tries to set up a zero sum game mentality–that gains by the older worker comes at the expense of the younger when a far better solution is to create an environment that celebrates diversity and has room for all participants.
M. Prater says
Good article! Just one mistake, though – you’re a decade off of the calendar year which 50 would be at this year. Otherwise, very good points!!
Happy to see people are reading the post *and* checking up on me! I just fixed the post. Thanks to all. Now you can tweet it!