At 95, Chicago writer Studs Terkel published a memoir. Sportscaster Vin Scully was 89 when he called his last Dodgers game at the end of the 2016 regular season — 67 seasons after he started. Christopher Plummer won a best supporting actor Oscar in 2012, at the age of 82.
Age is just a number, goes the cliché. Examples abound of people who continue working well past customary retirement age, sometimes for the money, often because the drive to work still burns strong and bright. That’s a message that needs to be heeded by several job-search companies that have recently been rapped by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Madigan sent letters to Chicago-based CareerBuilder and five other national job-search firms warning them that some of their online search functions could be in violation of age discrimination laws because they prevent older workers from creating accurate résumés and career profiles.
On one site, for example, a drop-down menu for education or previous employment had 1980 as the earliest possible start date; someone who started working in 1979 might still be in her 50s (and thus not quite fossilized). Other sites used cutoffs ranging from 1950 to 1970. The attorney general’s Civil Rights Bureau is looking further into the firms’ practices.
Yes, this is often said to be the Age of the Millennial. And virtually every discussion of generations quickly references baby boomers. But assigning stereotypes to different age groups isn’t just annoying. It’s often misleading.
Case in point: America’s concept of retirement has changed. Many people are working well into their 70s and 80s.
And workers with that depth of life and work experience bring to the table a wealth of institutional and subject knowledge about their fields. That’s a wellspring that millennials can tap into, and employers should covet.
Too often, they don’t. Ageism — that is, discrimination based on someone’s age — is rampant in today’s workplace. According to a study by AARP in 2013, three of every five older workers reported having seen or experienced age discrimination at work.
FROM AN EDITORIAL IN THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE