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I'm Older, Not Deaf!

July 12, 2012

I’m in my early 70s and work as an administrative assistant. While I’m very active with my family, including my children and grandchildren, I also love to work. But in the last few years, I’ve heard some offhanded and even direct comments about why I should retire (the economy’s bad, younger people should get to work). But I can’t afford to retire nor do I want to – I am grateful to have a job to go to every day, and I just want to work.

Do you have any advice on how to cope with this environment?

— Not Done Yet!, Maryland

Answer:

Next, they’ll suggest we kill off everyone who hits the age of 65 so we can keep Medicare costs down!

If you think you are dealing with an age discrimination issue, checkout these EEOC resources but this may instead be a callous nattering of the young and the clueless. You might lead the move toward inter-generational insight by treating them like peers; tell them what impact their remarks have on you, and what your reality is. Or, if this is symptomatic of a larger problem in office culture, why not help organize a conversation on building a workplace friendly to all generations?

Honestly, though, the state of the economy is giving this nation a bad case of the meanies. Unemployment rates at more than 8 percent, college grads with mountains of debt, seniors with half the retirement savings they had five years ago.  But let’s not blame each other, for gosh sakes, let’s take on the real culprits! Like Wall Street. Like corporations lounging on their mega-profits instead of creating jobs. That’s the real way to ease the tension of people in every generation trying to make ends meet.

One good campaign to sink your teeth into: Bring Jobs HomeThis campaign by unions and communities is demanding a change in the trade laws, so companies will have incentives to build things here and pay taxes here, rather than taking both their jobs and their monies overseas.