RE: "Age-old" question

Subject: RE: "Age-old" question
From: "Wright, Lynne" <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com>
To: Ken Poshedly <poshedly -at- bellsouth -dot- net>, TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2016 18:04:07 +0000

I hear ya.

I think its even worse if you are a woman who is past her youthful prime.

I recently went through an interview process at a hip software company -- you know, open-concept loft, free snacks, progressive perques like subsidized transit passes. I am 56, but am often told I look like I'm in my 40s, and in terms of how I dress, keep up on slang and popular culture, music, etc. ...well, let's say I can converse with youth without completely embarrassing myself or seemingly like a clueless dinosaur (or so I hope). So although I was worried that my age might be a factor on paper, I felt pretty confident about demonstrating during the interview that if they hired me, I would not stand out as some boring old fart.

First interview was with the HR rep, the QA manager (both of whom were women in their mid-to-late 20s); and the woman who would be my immediate supervisor (who was maybe in her early 40s). All smart, capable people who also happened to be reasonably good-looking. Given that I made it to the second-interview phase and got a waiver on having to do a practical tech-writing test on the strength of the design/writing samples I'd provided, I figured that I was in a comfortable position on the short list.

Second interview was with the VP of engineering or something, who was tasked with determining my "fit"ability. I was initially relieved to see that he was my age; I thought: Ok, I'm dealing with a peer here, not some 20-something who might be a little put off by a job candidate old enough to be their mother. Well, it went south pretty fast. I really struggled to answer his questions, because frankly, they were stupid and clichéd: stuff like "What inspires you?" and "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" I wanted to say: "come on... I'm a middle-aged, not some kid just out of college starting their career with stars in their eyes. In 5 years, I hope to still be continent and not crippled by arthritis; and what inspires me is the possibility of my hormones finally settling down one day so I can get a decent night's sleep on the regular."

At one point he asked how I thought I'd done in the first interview. My reply was that I must have done ok, given that I'd made it to the second interview; and added that the three interviewers from the first round had given me a good impression of the company because they had asked tough questions and seemed really good at their jobs. His reply was: "Yes... they're all great girls."

GIRLS?!?! Maybe it was an innocent slip, but having an older man refer to his grown-up female employees as "girls" really took me aback. And so when I found out I didn't get the job, I couldn't help but wonder; given that I seemed to pass the basic requirements in terms of skills and qualifications, would I have gotten the job if I were 25 years younger?

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Ken Poshedly
Sent: September-12-16 12:46 PM
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Subject: "Age-old" question

As some of you may recall from my occasional vents, my current employment situation is 7 1/2 years with a humongous, international, China-based manufacturing company with its only U.S. office here in metro Atlanta. Operations are performed as if they are right in China. They're absolutely SUPER people to work _with_, but the corporate environment stinks. (Contact me off-list for that.)

I'm now 66 and had planned to work here until age 71, but it's just not getting any better here. Rock-bottom salary, no or miniscule pay raises (I was told raises are not that common in China), being supervised by those from the home office who have no idea what they are supposed to do and what I do, etc. (I had to take this job after being out for three months in 2009 due to the recession in late 2008 and had no leverage with which to negotiate even a bare-bones respectable salary.)

And with absolutely no telecommuting allowed (my daily round trip drive is 122 miles), something finally needs to change. So I've decided that it's finally me. I'll be 67 at the end of next month and have had great job interviews over the past 5 years for full-time tech writing positions closer to home, but no takers (let's see. . . I'm over 60. Maybe that's it!). So in November, I plan to draw Social Security AND seek contract work closer to home (even with two kids in college.). I've manage to narrowly avoid several would-have-been fatal collisions on Atlanta interstates (quite honestly, perhaps, due to my quick reflexes developed years ago as a parking attendant and even a taxicab driver in Cleveland, Ohio, while I was in college). But now I look at every trip to and from work as me trying to avoid the unknown driver with my name on his front bumper. So far, so good, but how long can this last?

I keep trying for full-time permanent but it just ain't gonna happen. I did two contract writing things before (one from late 2005 to mid-2007 and another from mid-2007 through end of 2008, when the Great Recession kicked in) and loved doing that. But I was not yet age 60.

So my question to those on this list who are around my age, what success have you had in getting contract tech writing assignments, respectable pay rates, etc., at your elevated age? Details please, and off-list comments are fine.
-- Old Man Ken in Atlanta(but I still play drums!) ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com

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Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com

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"Age-old" question: From: Ken Poshedly

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