Recently I’ve found myself slathering lotion down the nape of my neck, freshening up my Botox and doubling down on my eye cream. Why, you ask?

I’m fifty years-old and looking for a new sales job.

I lost my job back in February and have been riding the hamster wheel of interviewing ever since. It’s a grueling process, between calls with Human Resources, Zoom meetings with managers, assessment tests, the STAR method of interviewing, and even sales presentations to CEO’s. I get major anxiety before each interaction. I sweat. I take deep breaths. I practice my answers for the sales questions that are inevitably asked.

Add to all that stress is the reality of my age.

During my first couple of interviews when asked, “What are you looking for in your next role?” I rattled off my criteria,  and then I said, “Being that I just turned fifty, I’m looking for a company I love and can retire with.”

Was that the kiss of death? What was I thinking? I was just being honest. And that’s what I kept telling myself. There’s no way my age is a factor, right?

I did not get those jobs. I’m not sure what impact, if any, that comment had on their decision to not move me forward in the process.

From a company aspect, they could want a candidate that’s going to be around a long time. Someone who’s not jaded from working in a male dominated industry, years of rejection from potential customers and just overall burn-out. A younger candidate may be more hungry, more aggressive, have fresh new ideas and even better, they don’t cost as much as more mature and experienced candidates.

But from my aspect, I have so much more knowledge and life experience than someone half my age. I won’t need as much training as a younger hire, I’m able to make more mature decisions based on past experiences, and I want to stay with a company for the long haul.

I can’t say for sure that this is purely an issue for women over fifty. I have a male friend who also lost his job and he was just two years from retirement. He feels absolutely defeated that he was so close to being done in the workplace, only to now have to find a company that will hire him.

Age discrimination is illegal, and an employer cannot ask your age during an interview. But, let’s be honest. Even with creams and lotions and injections in our faces, employers know that we are not twenty-five. They know not only by how we look, but how we react to things, our opinions, our actions.

We are constantly barraged with reminders of our age with constant medication commercials (Shingles doesn’t care!) AARP magazines that arrive the second you turn fifty, and incessant conversations about menopause. I wonder if these ads and marketing antics lend a false bias towards our age group? That we might have to take time off because we’re covered in lesions or having a hot flash?

I have an interview coming up next week with a skin care company. I really, really want this job. In my mind, what better way to promote the skin line if an older woman uses the products and looks great? I could be a walking billboard. Is it fair that as women we are constantly worried about our looks and so much so that it seeps into our careers?

There are more questions than answers on the subject of aging and job searching as well as workplace ageism. However, despite these uncertainties, what we can do is showcase our strengths and talents and trust that companies will recognize us as invaluable employees with a wealth of experience and skills to offer. By highlighting our capabilities and demonstrating our worth, we can challenge any preconceived notions about age and contribute to a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Now Hiring: 50 & Fabulous! was last modified: by

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