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Age discrimination in high tech

“Investigators are examining whether the move eviscerated Boeing's technical capability and played a role in the Columbia disaster on Feb. 1.... The decision to move the jobs was highly unpopular among Boeing's workforce, and about 80% of the California engineers refused to relocate, forcing the company to hire workers in Texas and forfeit much of the experience of its California engineering base.”

I find this snippet rather timely.  I was intereviewed in the latest issue of Soft*Letter by Jeff Tarter about "In Search of Stupidity" and he asked me WHY high-tech companies seem to make the same mistakes again and again.  Here's one reason I gave, and while I was having some fun, I'm also dead serious.

"Rick, the classic Peter Principle says that “people get promoted to the level of their incompetence.” But it seems that a fair number of top executives in software have risen much, much higher. How come?

One of the reasons this happens is that high tech and software companies have no institutional memory. And one of the reasons for this problem is that the industry actually operates on the ‘Logan’s Run’ principle: Anyone approaching 40 in high-tech is expected to wear spooky robes and ride the Carousel of Doom on their 40th birthday. Usually they’re blown off the carousel into jobs at Radio Shack or manning the chalupa station at Taco Bell. And all their accumulated knowledge goes with them.

“Then, of course, the next batch of young exciting newbies proceed to make exactly the same mistakes as their predecessors, because there’s no one to tell them better and because they spent most of their youth playing video games. And so it goes.”

(Reprinted with permission of Software Success)

rick chapman
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I had a long reply. But I boiled it down to this:

Yep. Nail. Head. Hit.

Marc
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

"One of the reasons this happens is that high tech and software companies have no institutional memory."

Rick, Your post is dead on. 

It seems that in software development there is no respect for history.  Anything that is aged in software (people, technology, methodology) is considered legacy and put out to pasture.  Unfortunately this anti-historical attitude is directed at the general software body of knowledge.

Cletus
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

While I expect a fair number of "young folk" to dismiss this or call it flamebait, it is the best articulation of reality I have seen.  I especially like the visual of the "Carousel of Doom". 
While a number of us are making it past 40, we also recognize that we are a shrinking minority.  With the inclusion of second and third world countries entering into the mix, I expect the "Carousel" to begin including many "under 40."  However, a peer of mine wonders if we will not become valuable _again_ once construction of code is moved off shore.  Then the knowledge and experience will be valued and the "young folk"  will be devalued as "construction workers without experience"

BigRoy
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I can't honestly expect that code development is going to move off shore in any kind of serious way. I've talked to many people who have made the mistake of using offshore programmers. I havn't spoke to anyone who did it who would do it again.

They described it as a logistics nightmare. Even without language barriers, which most had, just the logistics of communicating with somebody on the other side of the planet made it impractical. A built in, multi hour lag in response time made the process too slow to be practical.

That said, I do see the bias as I age.  The young guy right out of college will work for a lot less money than I will, because he doesn't have the experience or a wife and mortgage to pay for. To a pointy haired boss, there isn't any real difference between the fresh college graduate and myself except the salary. When he has to justify his actions to his superiors, salary is a hard fact he can point to. The benefits that my experience bring are harder to qualify.

Clay Dowling
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

It seems to me that other engineering disciplines value experienced staff much more than software development.  Why is this?  Does it have to do with the perception that Software Development changes much faster than other engineering disciplines (even if it really doesn't).

chris
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Well I am *only* approaching 30, but after 8 years as a professional developer I'm already finding it very difficult to stay up to date technically.
No. Scratch that. I'm way out of date technically - I just don't have time to stay up to date at work and I'm no longer prepared (as I was a few years ago) to put in the amount of spare time required (I have something approaching a life nowadays ;-)

So what am I saying? While I agree with the comments on wasted experience, I can already see why someone would prefer to hire a younger guy with maybe a year or two's post-uni experience and all the latest acronyms on his CV. Add another 10 years and I suspect I will be well overdue at the glue factory.

Or maybe I'm just cynical and jaded beyond my years ;-)

SteveM
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

One thing that I find really "interesting" about programming is that younger and less experienced people in this field almost universally have searing contempt for their elders and for anyone with more experience.  The older ones are viewed as dinosaurs, weaklings, and has-beens.  The younger ones are almost always of the mentality that age won't happen to them, or that they will transcend in a Godlike way so that they won't become stupid assed and old.

Contrast with "really" professional fields like medicine and law, where the younger entrants are generally scared to death of not being deemed worthy by their elders, and where the elders actually have the power to disadvantage others who do not professionally measure up.

The "Primate Programmer's Institute" web site that is becoming a cultural phenom is pointing out something that ALL of us know subliminally. It is - that nobody views technology work as worth doing well, nor as worth paying much of anything for, and is certainly not an activity to be respected.

Software development is culturally somewhat like the fashion industry. Youth worship, general shallowness of thinking, and trends and fads that last a few months or a couple of years at most.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

What about the flip side of the coin?

I am a developer that has been coding for over 11 years now, been placed in a position of management for 2 years, worked in a multitude of positions at many different types of companies, big and small, commercial and government.  I am presently a developer.  I read as much as I can about the industry (regarding past, present, and future).  I keep myself on the bleeding edge of technology by educating myself and practicing the technologies with pet projects in my spare time.  Not too totaly immersed though, in that I work normal hours, and am a avid outdoorsmen and rock climber.

So what's the problem?  I'm 22 years old, and am one year out of college.  People see me and take me to be some hot shot kid, fresh out of college, with no experience.  I know that I can make more of an impact than I am making now, yet I'm doomed to be placed into a code monkey stereotype since I just graduated.

I realize that I haven't seen it all, or done it all, and I do not place myself anywhere near the "40 crowd".  I am however suffering from another stereotype in the industry; that the young kids may be up to date on new technology, but that's all they know.  Very frustrating.

Elephant
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Bored Bystander, every post of yours is nearly identical. Aren't you too old to still have the whiney abused tech guy mentality?

Of course a young guy doing with two years of experience is going to have contempt for an old guy with 20 years of experience, who is doing the same job as the young guy. Why do all these old guys complain about being edged out of jobs that a guy with 2 years of experience can do adequately?

.
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

One year out of college and you're already frustrated!? Get a grip.

Believe me - prove yourself on a project or two and you will do very well. Most programmer's careers peak parabolically around their late 20's.

The best is yet ahead. Don't cop an attititude and justify my sour attitude (yet). :-)

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

The old adage still holds true.

"If it works, it's obsolete."

We used to bandy that one around a lot when I worked in hardware/networking sales, but it seems to hold true for developers as well.  I guess we are hardware of sorts.

Steve Barbour
Tuesday, August 05, 2003


How much of this bias is two way?

I'm forty now, so I see this the end of the track approaching. I've been programming for 20+ years and am now making the move to management.

I'd like to think I'm not being promoted to the level of my incompetence. However, after experiencing (surviving) the RDB, OOP, Web, and other waves, I just don't find the pure coding end all that exciting anymore. Been there, done that.

On the other hand, I really enjoy the work involved in planning releases, gather requirements, balancing management, technical, and quality demands, etc, etc. I'm having fun.

I think our profession is really suffering from the traditional view that programming == coding. In it's worst form, it's snobbery (management automatically means technically illiterate non-coders). Even at it's best, it's a dangerous view that can put implementation details ahead of planning. In some ways it's like saying the carpenter is more important than the architect.

I've met so few developers that were really, really interested in attacking the full range of problems facing a software development team: requirements gathering, design, release planning, resource management, etc, etc. For many, developing software is always going to be coding. And along with that comes the attitude that people who don't code are less worthy of respect. This is a dangerous way to think. It often manifests itself in sentences that start like "Stupid management made me...".

As some of our most experienced brethren leave coding behind and move on to a wider range of responsibilities we, the programmers, begin to listen to them less. We discriminate against our own.

Just my opinion.

anon
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Whilst its true that there's no guarantee that the old cobbler will make you a pair of shoes that fit like skin and protect like steel, its a far likelier bet than expecting the apprentice shoe maker to do the same on the first attempt.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Clay -- you make the points many have.  However, the overseas people also recognize them.  From your post:

** I havn't spoke to anyone who did it who would do it again.
Talk to more people.  New project, especially ground up development work is going there.  "We" are left to tend the existing systems until they die.  It is on these sites, I am thankful to be a consultant.  At least I get the extra dollars.

**Even without language barriers, which most had,
Are no different than when Hassiem, Sanjay and Kumar are in the building.  They speak English as a primary language and this is just hopeful.  In fact, I recently saw someone get called racist for questioning the policy.  A new approach to removing the issue.

**  A built in, multi hour lag in response time made the process too slow to be practical.
Yes.  So the Indian and Russian firms now agree to work on "your" timezone.  I don't know what this will do to turnover, but they are addressing the issue, by claiming that if you can work with Clay who is in another city, how is that different?  And to many it is working...

I still see many problems, but at the same time they are working to resolve them.  They want the money.

BigRoy
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I have a certificate pinned up on my wall for having completed my first programming course in Fortran IV in March, 1973. I'm over 55 and have been programming over 30 years. We aren't all put out to pasture at 40. But then, I'm in a sort of low tech field in an old, settled company.

I've been a programmer, system manager, unix admin and R&D developer. Now I'm a cross-platform, cross-language porting expert. I have value precisely because of my long and varied experience.

old_timer
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

BigRoy said: "Are no different than when Hassiem, Sanjay and Kumar are in the building.  They speak English as a primary language and this is just hopeful.  In fact, I recently saw someone get called racist for questioning the policy.  A new approach to removing the issue."

I'm not trying to be rude, but could you re-word this?  I'm interested in your point, but I can't quite follow what you're saying here... I think I may have had a similar experience (I think)...

Grumpy Old-Timer
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I think the following story is enjoyable and relevant to this thread:

There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he happily retired.

A few years later the company contacted him regarding an impossible problem they were having with one of their multi-million dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone else but to no avail.

In desperation, they called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day studying the huge machine.

At the end of the day, he marked a small "x" in chalk on a particular component of the machine and proudly stated, "This is where your problem is." The part was promptly replaced and the machine worked perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his charges.

The engineer responded briefly:

One chalk mark: $1
Knowing where to put it: $49,999

It was paid in full and the engineer retired again in peace.

Thomas
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I ask you all this.

In how many other fields can you be declared a "senior |insert job title|" after three to five years?

You don't even need a college degree to make it as a programmer.

--
ee

eclectic_echidna
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Grumpy Old-Timer  -- my point, obviously poorly stated...

I hear a lot about the "language barrier." We have many people from foreign countries in the US and to imply that because a person, with an accent, is somehow more difficult to work with because they are actually _in_ another country, may sound like a good point on the surface, but fails to hold water.

BigRoy
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Elephant:
"So what's the problem?  I'm 22 years old, and am one year out of college.  People see me and take me to be some hot shot kid, fresh out of college, with no experience"

No offense, but you DON'T have any experience. There's more to the whole thing than knowing code. The worst part about experience is that you always think you have it, when you never do.

I will give you this piece of advice - the best way to make progress with your subordinates, peers, and superiors is to be humble. Recognize that you're 22, and be in supplicant mode as much as possible: "Listen, I know I'm new at this, but isn't this likely to do the wrong thing?" kind of attitude. You can do it without selling yourself short, but try not to back people into corners or get them defensive. Entice them to be in mentor/teaching mode and you'll make a lot more progress.

As for why the tendency to discard 40 year olds, was it created by the ranks of COBOL programmers who refused to learn anything new?

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Philo,

May not be my fight here, but I think he was implying that he did have experience. 11 years in fact. He probably grew up with computers, so he didn't have the barriers to adoption that some old timers seem to have. Meaning, he and his generation grew up with the command line over Dr. Seuss and wrote code before they dated. I wouldn't automatically chalk him into the inexperienced arena because he is young. While I wouldn't let many that age run my business, I am sure that on the technical end there are many out there would could match a coder with 40 years of experience line for line. 

Also remember that the dot-coms would hire anybody, giving just about anyone resume experience, young or old. What exactly is your measurement of experience? I would hire a 16 year old who had contributed disk I/O code to the Linux kernel and done nothing else much quicker than a Cobol programmer who had done the same type of MVS work for the government for decades years.

On the other side, I've known 50+ years old programmers with decades of experience that could code an operating system in six months (hyperbole, anyone?),  and are on the bench right now because of exactly the type of mindset Rick points out. The mindset is wrong, that the youth is better. Where I think they have it right is that the youth are statistically more comfortable with new technology, because it is not new to them. They are afraid to hire someone who won't learn their new fangled widgets. In my mind, fear motivated management is one of the key things keeping our industry in the state is it today.

Dustin Alexander
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Well stated Dustin.  And my experience is not singularly relegated to coding experience.  I have taken that discussion offline however.

Elephant
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Feel free to key me in, if its interesting. I've attached my email address to this message.

Dustin Alexander
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Dustin, I understand that. But *he* needs to understand that someone with eleven years coding experience should be in a fairly senior position where the most important things are not code.

When I was at Camel, there were three of us on the architecture team. One guy had twice as much coding experience as I did, but was astonished that with just about every major decision I would bring up the social and political aspects of the issue. (He grew increasingly astonished because I was generally right).

Here's a prime example, and a top-ten pitfall: You're a developer hired to automate a process. You need to interview the people who currently perform that process to discern the extant business rules. IMHO anyone who goes into that situation without comprehending that they are interviewing people they have been hired to put out of work is on a fast track to failure. *Understanding* that is just the first step - then you have to *manage* it.

These things take experience, and I'm not talking sitting at a console typing code experience. It's a rare 22 year old college graduate that has that kind of experience and can apply it.

Application architecture is about more than code moving bits - if you cannot grasp the social issues surrounding your development efforts then you're cruising for a bruising.

(by the way, the social aspects of software development were the genesis of this blog and board)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Good thoughts, Philo. I, perhaps, was a bit too specific in my choice of wording. I apologize.

Speaking to your other concern, I completely agree with you. The social expertise is much harder to pick up. This is more dependent on the job than the people involved. A lot of coders never get a chance to run a process automation project. In my mind, that kind of work is given to architects and analysts, who are paid more and are expected to have more experience, and then they direct the coders. If this is the point you were trying to make, then we agree. Where we may disagree is that, although, system's analysis experience is not often found in those with less than 8 years of experience, there willl always be people who don't fit into that mold. Our Elephant may be one of those.

Perhaps it is just as well that youth is discriminated against. After all, we are not talking about the majority of coders who are young being in Elephant's position. In fact, from my experience, he is a definite minority. I may be bold in saying, but I think programmers with *any* knowledge of business may be a minority in our field (disregarding the obviously stilted statistics of this board.) In our world, ageism to the young is understandable and that towards the old seems ludicrous.

Here's a good question for Elephant: Is it not the burden of the young to prove themselves? Or should those in business simply accept?

Drawing this apparent contradiction to my previous point, perhaps managers need to be more willing and less afraid to accept the young as experts if they can prove they can do the job. They certainly shouldn't be disregarded. But, if I were in Elephant's position, I would be willing to accept a higher degree of scrutiny, especially knowing that I could withstand it.

Dustin Alexander
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

> Here's a good question for Elephant: Is it not the burden
> of the young to prove themselves? Or should those in
> business simply accept?

<snip>

> But, if I were in Elephant's position, I would be willing to
> accept a higher degree of scrutiny, especially knowing
> that I could withstand it.

It is my burden to prove myself, and not for those in business to simply accept.  And I welcome the higher degre of scrutiny, knowing that I can withstand it.

My complaint is in not being given the chance to prove myself outside of the world of coding.

Elephant
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

degre = degree

... (Note: Edit first, then post).

Elephant
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Elephant's correction there just raised him a whole lotta notches in my eyes. ;-)

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

This topic also ties in with the one where Herbert Sitz gave a good run-down on the career prospects for lawyers, and the fact that they do in fact make very good money, particularly as they get older.

That explanation highlights the crucial difference in software development - that developers are not in charge of their profession, mainly because there are no legal restrictions on practice.

The result is that, just at the stage where other professionals start to capitalise on their experience and expertise, corporate managements cut them off at the knees. Outsourcing is one way this happens.

I think developers have to start lobbying for rights and legislative protections such as are enjoyed by other high-investment occupations. Don't worry about outsourcing; that's going to happen anyway.

analyst
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Elephant -

>> It is my burden to prove myself, and not for those in business to simply accept.  And I welcome the higher degre of scrutiny, knowing that I can withstand it.

You have a great attitude, really.

>> My complaint is in not being given the chance to prove myself outside of the world of coding.

This is more of a trust and perception issue than simply a "you're too young" issue.  A few ideas:

What kind of role are you looking for, exactly? Software architect? Project manager? Mentor? Other? I'm not clear on what it is to which you are aspiring. This would clarify your meaning.

Having 11 years of solid experience (which you're claiming) at your age is unusual. So you're well outside the norms within which most people fit.

Being young in age *and* being relatively new to a company is a double whammy of trust. Even older people are rarely extended a lot of trust on high value projects early on unless they came in the door with a suitable pedigree.

To place your 11 years of experience in the context of this thread --- was it *paid*? Even those of us above 40 have a REAL hard time selling nonbillable experience as resume material.

If it was paid, then what, exactly was it and how could that experience be leveraged to benefit your employer's goals?

Last - I think you know this but still it can be galling at times to experience in real life - dues really don't mean a thing to most employers, unless it's dues spent with them specifically.

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

> Anyone approaching 40 in high-tech is expected to wear spooky robes and ride the Carousel of Doom on their 40th birthday. Usually they’re blown off the carousel into jobs at Radio Shack or manning the chalupa station at Taco Bell. And all their accumulated knowledge goes with them.


That is the biggest pile of shit I've ever read.  Let me correct it....People with SHIT skills are relegated to Taco Bell, either at age 25, 35, 45, or 55.  However long it takes to be "found out". 

In fact, let me blow your entire bullshit argument out of the water right here and now:  People with GREAT skills are EXPOENTIALLY in HIGHER demand as they age.  Yea, you read that right.  Assuming the person has maintained a good network of professional contacts.  Guess how many job offers Bill Gates would have tommorrow?  Oh wait, he's 40+.  I guess it's the chalupa line for him also, you imbecile.

Bella
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

> Most programmer's careers peak parabolically around their late 20's.

Yea, right about the time they start buying houses, getting married, and having kids.  ie:  The age when they NO LONGER focus on their careers like they used to, and have a million other distractions in their lives..  Yet, then they go blame AGE discrimination.  Sorry, it's SKILLS discrimination. 

Bella
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

"I am a developer that has been coding for over 11 years now..."
"So what's the problem?  I'm 22 years old, and am one year out of college.  People see me and take me to be some hot shot kid, fresh out of college, with no experience..."

Elephant,
Is this a typo, or you claiming to have started programming at 11 yrs old?  If this is your claim, then I can see why your peers do not take you seriously.  Even if you have been programming since 11, how many years have you spent actually writing production code used in a business setting?
Second, lets say you are a whizbang genious programmer fresh out of college, you still are missing time put in the "School of Hard Knocks".  There is just no substitute for this kind of time. 

Cletus
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Its tricky to maintain a network of contacts when they all get bounced cos they're the same age or older than you.

And, it might be instructive to realise that when you do have the mortgage, children and so on you're actually far more likely to focus on those things that are important which include work and getting it done the right way, rather than trying all the wrong ways you never knew before.

There isn't a piece of software or technique that anyone writing code thirty years ago couldn't recognise the paradigm for,  Oh bum, I used the word paradigm.

That includes class structures.  Ummm just about.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

> Its tricky to maintain a network of contacts when they all get bounced cos they're the same age or older than you.

Looks like you maintained the wrong set of contacts.  Note to self: In the future, keep in touch with talented programmers, not people hanging around during boom times. 

Firms couldn't give a shit if you were 120 years old, if you were the only one who knew how to maintain their cash cow legacy code.  The only people who have been "bounced" have been DEAD WEIGHT. 

Bella
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Just wanted to chime in here to point out that not everyone starts working "fresh out of college".  Several people reading this board, myself included, worked full time right through college.  And while I don't think it has been discussed here, the age at which you start working (yup, doing "production" things) really varies from person to person.

Really, age has very little to do with your business background, programming skills or particular domain knowledge.  In our company, it so happens that the people with the most experience (in all areas) are also the youngest by a significant amount.  So what?  Experience has more to do with the opportunities you've had (or made) and what you did with said opportunities. The life choices you made. Etc. Etc. 

Age discrimination exists at both ends of the scale, but at least you can outgrow discrimination based on your youth (speaking as someone who is finally getting to the point where it is no longer an issue).  But in either case it is as dumb as discrimination based on things such as your race. 

I don't think age discrimination is specific to high tech though.

Phibian
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

I think the discrimination against both the old and the young are the same thing.

Both stem from the attitude of not evaluating people on their merits.

The young are "too inexperienced" to know how to do something. Nobody bothers to see whether they can do the job, it's simply "they're too young, so it must be true".

The old are "has beens". They can't possibly still be up to date with modern trends in computing, I mean they have grey hair! Better get rid of them before they try to reprogram your system in COBOL!

It's the same attitude, and it comes from over-generalising and trying to reduce people to dot points on resumes.

The stupid thing is in an industry where the majority of people are at best borderline competent, trying to guess which ones are actually quality people by playing the experience game is futile. You may as well play whack a mole, because your odds of getting the better person using that metric are simply not in your favour.

And the horse you rode in on
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

>>>  I mean they have grey hair!  <<<

When did people start spelling gray with an "e"?

mackinac
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

+++That is the biggest pile of shit I've ever read.  Let me correct it....People with SHIT skills are relegated to Taco Bell, either at age 25, 35, 45, or 55.  However long it takes to be "found out".  +++

Well, maybe on the planet you come from.

Those of us who live on planet Earth and who have actually worked with people from this sphere (something you clearly cannot know anything about since your conversational mode indicates you can only communicate with people via notes passed through holes cut in blackened out polystytrene walls) know that in high-tech over 40s are automatically targeted for elimination.

+++In fact, let me blow your entire bullshit argument out of the water right here and now:  People with GREAT skills are EXPOENTIALLY in HIGHER demand as they age.  Yea, you read that right. +++

Well, you provide no data for your assumption, and the statement is rather silly in any event.  Most people don't have "great" skills.  Many people have "good" skills and may be competent and experienced yet not be "great."

This is a concept that you, a member of the UberGeek Elite, may not fully grasp, but there it is.

rick

rick chapman
Tuesday, August 05, 2003

>>> When did people start spelling gray with an "e"?  <<<

No idea, the dictionary doesn't say, just lists it as an acceptable variant.

And the horse you rode in on
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Yeh, but Phibian, you were the guy who's going to pay for the company to fix it's own car, are you not?

See, experience. You don't have it.


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Actually Bella, programmers aren't really opinion formers and aren't that important in terms of getting work.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Yes, there is age discrimination. I know. I practised it myself when I was younger and less experienced. I am very confident that others on this board could confess to the same.

When in my twenties and co-responsible for hiring  for programming positions on my team, I would put aside all the over fortyfives, regardsless of the merit of their CV's. I just could not imagine being in charge of someone approaching an age closer to my dad's than my own. Now I know that is bullshit, and that the real mistake was my insecurity with reagards to authority. But that does not change that it happened, and I am pretty my case is not that exceptional.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

BTW, sorry for the massive typos cropping up in my posts lately. less time -> compressed JOS break.
Maybe I should consider typing up replies in Word and copy/paste.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Now that this thread is in its 40's I presume it will be retired to wandering shopping malls and being excited by barely clad athletes of whichever gender preferred.

Simon Lucy
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

"Gray" is the American spelling of "Grey" (which is a british-ism).  Most of these variants in spelling (color vs colour) can be traced back to the Civil War.

Space: I was indeed the person who stated that if you cause damage to someone else's property, you are morally responsible for that damage, regardless of the circumstances.  If you weren't done with that discussion, (and have new arguments other than the less than creative "I disagree with you so you must be a moron" variety) feel free to start a new thread.  In any case, I fail to see how that relates to how much or little experience I may or may not have, nor how you came to any conclusions on my age or gender from either discussion. (And btw, "it's" means "it is" or "it has".  The possessive version is "its".)

Just me - I don't think I can also confess to age discrimination - especially not against the "aged" :)  Having begun a "management" career early, many of those who I've been responsible for were years older than I was.  Since I've been in widely mixed age-groups during my entire working career to date, the age thing has not been all that important to me, although I have run into some "ageism" myself (it didn't help that I have always looked younger than I actually am, with waitresses still providing me with the kid's menu even when I hit my twenties).  Probably as a result of people being wildly off in their estimations of my age has made me more wary of making assumptions about people and their age in general.

Unfortunately, I think that most people don't really get that experience (or it was so long ago and so brief that it didn't make an impact).  So it's an issue that they don't think about (and perhaps unwittingly contribute to) until it happens to them when they get past a certain age.

Phibian
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

+++In fact, let me blow your entire bullshit argument out of the water right here and now:  People with GREAT skills are EXPOENTIALLY in HIGHER demand as they age.  Yea, you read that right. +++

Let me explain to you....the obvious.  Do you work in IT ?  Have you ever hired a friend b/c you KNOW he's a great resource? 

The longer you work, the more people you work with.  The more people you've worked with, the most people who are out there who know FIRST HAND how good you are (or bad you are).  And the more people out there who know how good you are, the easier it is to find work, b/c they are dying to get you on their team, and you're the first one on their list....  This "network effect" is directly correlated to experience, which tends to be a function of age...

.... Age discrimination is a scapegoat for CUTTING DEAD WEIGHT....age 8 or age 80...

Bella
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Phibian, you continue to display your lack of experience. The reason I and others called you to account was the complete irrationality of your claim, which conflicts with all standard business procedure.

Second, the correction over the possessive apostrophe is inappropriate point-scoring. Again, the mark of someone with poor judgement. I know more about the posessive apostrophe than you ever will.

Third, your claims about managing multi-age groups sound increasingly hollow.


Wednesday, August 06, 2003

> Again, the mark of someone with poor judgement.
> I know more about the posessive apostrophe
> than you ever will.

Then why did you take the extra time and effort to type that apostrophe when you know it wasn't necessary? It's better to admit the simple mistake and move on than to attack your editor in self-defense.

This "it's" problem is spreading. I applaud any effort to slow it down, including public ridicule.

Steven E. Harris
Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Exponentially higher in demand, Bella?

Do you know what exponentially means?  What's its value in this case?

People networks do work yes, but only so long as you stay within the network.  People lose work for a host of reasons, most frequently it has nothing to do with their skills or their abilities.

If you lose work at a time when demand overall is low, and as you've said you've dropped out of this tawdry industry its difficult to see how much current knowledge you might draw upon, then its quite likely that the network as a whole is broken that people are more intent on keeping their own work than promoting the interests of another.

Its also true that those that are older are seen as costing more to do the same work, at times extra experience isn't seen as an asset but a liability.

There are also occasions where people with long experience, whatever their age, are not hired because they're perceived as being a possible difficulty that they might ask why and ask why cogently, rather than accept what might be a padded out gloppy mess.

Age does not qualify anyone for anything (other than a pension), however age can disqualify. 

Simon Lucy
Thursday, August 07, 2003

> Usually they’re blown off the carousel into jobs at Radio Shack or manning the chalupa station at Taco Bell

Not for nothing, but I actually know someone who is a top ranked salesman at Radio Shack.  He actually gets annual commission bonuses of almost $100k.  I swear I am not kidding.  But I think he is the freak exception, not the norm. 

> Do you know what exponentially means?  What's its value in this case?

It is analgous to exponential in the population growth sense.    The demand for a top worker is exponential, b/c as one ages, and has worked with more people, they in turn work with even more people.  The number of people who have directly or indirectly heard about this top workers prowess is therefore expoential as one's experience grows;.

Bella
Thursday, August 07, 2003

No that isn't exponential, it is a goodly amount but all it means is that you have a reputation.  It doesn't mean that just because you become available you are bound to find something, especially in a market when your peers of equal or greater reputation are also in the same boat.

Commissions of $100k or more aren't that unlikely in distributive companies, although the rate Radio Shack is shrinking year on year whether they can afford such successful sales people is moot.

In Finance up until the long crash of the last two years, it wasn't uncommon for bonuses to be in the order of a million pounds, something like $1.5 million.  On the whole these weren't university graduates but barrow boys, working class men, and women from  market trading families.  The average age on the floor, 25.

Age discrimination exists, sometimes because its naturally a young persons kind of job or one for an older person with life experiences.  But it is undeniable that there has been a cult of youth, not just in IT, but within most businesses since the Second World War.

Simon Lucy
Thursday, August 07, 2003

Simon,
I hope you find peace blaming your problems on age.  Do not confuse the overall IT market woes with age.  Not only OLD people are out of work.  Do you see unemployed 25 year olds blaming age discrimination for their joblessness?  No.

Bella
Friday, August 08, 2003

Bella,

Your pal who earns $100K/yr at Radio Shack had better watch his backside. Your anecdote proves nothing, it's simply a data blip. I'm not convinced that even direct responsibility for revenue creation is protection enough in the current climate.

Example: Circuit "Sh"ity has gone through several rounds of dumping salespeople who were outside certain parameters (code for "cost too much"), even though the "excessive" earnings were via performance incentive. The favored employee model in that chain is a low earning person who historically hasn't earned much in commissions. (Due to lower customer satisfaction, natch.)

Now, doesn't this shoot C.C. in the foot? Of course. But the apparently logic from the top appears to be "people will buy our crap anyway because every other big box retailer is just as bad."

*That's* in a business that values sales numbers.

So, look at other lines of work that don't so directly contribute to earnings and figure out how safe those jobs can possibly be.

The handwriting is on the wall:

- If you work for a big company, you have to be cheap, regardless what you do, in order to survive.
Otherwise....
- Work for a small company that needs your expertise.
Or...
- Be self employed.

Bored Bystander
Friday, August 08, 2003

Actually I don't blame any problems I may or may not have on my age, blame isn't something I'm looking to apportion nor am I looking for excuses.

I do recognise reality, however.

Simon Lucy
Sunday, August 10, 2003

Yes, I prefaced the Radio Shack example as a freakish aberration myself.  I think he is top 5 in the nation...It was just amusing when someone used a Radio Shack example, and I actally knew someone who makes $100k+ there...Yes, freak exception..not the norm, as I said...Just amusing anecdote....

Simon, the reality is that firms will pay you what you are worth to them.  and YOUR AGE (either too high or too low) DOESNT AFFECT your work, then age is irelevant...

.Again....skills discimination....Looks at all the people who you claim to be victims of Age discrimination.  Was even ONE of them a mision critical, irreplacable resource?  NO.  THAT is the reality.  Trim the fat...old or young....that is simply GOOD management.,..

Bella
Tuesday, August 12, 2003

http://www.nirvana-shop.com/ref.php?id=540976fcd6bb19

olap
Friday, May 14, 2004

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