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A Twist on Aging & Interviewing

28 Nov

Recent Headlines:

“CALIFORNIA PLASTIC SURGEONS SEE A HIKE IN BUSINESSMEN INQUIRING ABOUT PLASTIC SURGERY PROCEDURES.”

“AGE DISCRIMINATION ON THE RISE, STARTING IN 40’s”

I know some of you are young, young, young.  So young that the last thing you’re concerned about is being, oh, 35, 40, 56, even 60 years old.  So young that you’re not even yet concerned with sagging body parts that used to be up HERE and are now down there.

Oh, but the day will surely come when age will be “all” you think about. Especially when it comes to working and aging. Being downsized. Age discrimination, being overlooked while companies hire the younger, perkier, cheaper candidate. Even though you have years of experience. While I’m right in the middle–not fresh out of college and nowhere near retirement–I can grasp both sides of the fence. So the following story is interesting.

This is Randy Adams.

He’s 60 years old.  

He has A LOT of experience working in the tech field.  He spent months if not years trying to secure a CEO level job in Silicon Valley.  He went on gobs of interviews encountering all kinds of strange looks, “don’t call me, I’ll call you” exhaustion with great frustration.

Then he got an idea.

He noticed that all of the techies were not only young but dressed a certain way, regardless of their level of professionalism/expertise. Not to mention in the Valley there are CEO’s who are not yet 30 years old.  So Randy Adams went hard: He shaved his head, got an eye lift and started wearing Converse sneakers instead of stuffy loafers and t-shirts instead of button-downs.

This is Randy Adams now:

A funny thing happened next.   He got hired. Not only hired but hired at a booming tech company,  SocialDial, as their CEO.  He especially credits his shaved head as the hem that got him in the door.  In what he calls a “youth obsessed tech hub” (agreed) he’s now got a list of rules for any “geezer” attempting to break the age line.

  • Please don’t have an AOL e-mail. It reeks geriatrics.   G-mail is OK but even better is an address which incorporates your name in the domain is ‘cool.’
  • Nix the briefcase. What do you think this is, 1985? Instead get a backpack.
  • Avoid Blackberries and Dell laptops – Android phones and Apple products scream ‘youth!’

So I guess this means I should hold on to my backpack since I may need it in another 20 years or so.

Show Us a Photo: Maybe We’ll Hire You

5 Nov

A weird trend I’m starting to see in job listings are of potential employers requesting a photo of job applicants.

I know, RIGHT? 

There was a temporary job I spotted recently that I was applying for and the woman  e-mailed me asking for a recent photo to be sent in.

Um, WHAT?

WHY?

I wrote her back in a slightly scathing e-mail informing her that I have NO interest in ANY job that would require a photo of me before even interviewing me.

You’d think other than in the entertainment industry this would be illegal, right? I mean, that business is all about head shots and looks and the “right fit” cosmetically. I get it. But for the average job–particularly in an office setting–what gives?

I just knew that it had to be some sort of discriminatory act, this photo requesting. So I did some research and discovered that asking for a photo is not illegal at all. But there’s a catch…

From freeadvice.com the question was answered:

No, it’s not necessarily illegal to ask for a photo prior to an interview. And nor is it necessarily illegal discrimination to discriminate on the basis of looks. What’s forbidden is discriminating on several bases, such as gender; religion; race; age over 40; disability; etc. If you believe that you did not get  the job because of one of those characteristics–which are often revealed via a photo or appearance–you may have a discrimination case.

On the other hand, an employer could choose to hire a more attractive applicant, or to not hire because they don’t like how you look, as long as it’s not owing to one of the grounds above. Only the specifically prohibited discrimination is actually prohibited.

Legal tangles. Notice the wording, the twisted vernacular. So sneaky the powers that be. Come on, we all know that looks trump every single thing in this world. There have even been studies done that show babies gazing at the “prettier” or more attractive face when presented with a series of photos.

So why are my britches in a bunch? Because I think it’s ridiculous to:

1) ask for a photo for a job involving NOTHING to do with appearance

and

2) ask for a photo for a job involving NOTHING to do with appearance.

My fingers will be doing the typing. What if they’re not pretty?

My eyes will be doing the scanning of documents. What if they’re not pretty?

Cough. Is my brain attractive enough? Did you need a photo of that, too?

This is all dumb.

I was so tempted to send in a huge print-out photo of a gorilla along with my resume.

Here’s my picture, a-holes:

YOU HAPPY NOW? 

Workplace Privacy

9 Jul

Ahem, do you ever wonder if your boss or your boss’s boss or The H.R. Lady knows about your, um, utmost private conversations that you’ve snuck in while at work on their telephone?

Like the time you called your special doctor to make an appointment about your special problem?

Or the time you were fighting with your significant other and whispered as loud as you could–you were so angry at him/her that you were shaking when you got off of the telephone. Then you looked around your cubicle wondering if someone, anyone had heard you.

Increasingly employers are monitoring employees’ usage of their (the employer’s) own equipment: telephones, e-mail, etc.

Regarding e-mail, employers can use computer software that enables them to see what is on the screen or stored in the employees’ computer terminals and hard disks. They can also monitor internet usage such as web-surfing and e-mail.

This makes me nervous.

What about social networking? Can a person be fired for questionable stuff they posted on their personal social networking pages? A new report predicts that by 2015, 60 percent of corporations are expected to put formal programs in place for “monitoring external social media for security breaches.”

This makes me not so nervous, as I’m SO not a social network head. I’m old school, meaning I don’t personally participate in social networking stuff. I believe personal pictures of me in two-piece bathing suits should remain in photo albums and that my hourly whereabouts (status) are not the general public’s (or friends’) business. I mean, I grew up using phone booths that cost a dime to make local calls from. I can live without much of social media.

Well, if you’re concerned about your company telephone whisperings, check out this site and know not only your rights but The Man’s rights. After all, you’re in his cubicle.

Whisper legally out there.

Workplace Discrimination: Looks Matter in CubicleVille

19 Apr

From HealthDay News — Obese Americans have smaller paychecks than those who aren’t overweight, and this difference is especially strong among women, a new study finds.

Wowza.

Shocking. 

But then not shocking really.

The analysis of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth revealed that in 2004, overall average annual incomes were $8,666 less for obese women and $4,772 less for obese men compared with normal weight workers.

What beyond annoys me is that what does a person’s filing, faxing, typing, management, etc., skills have to do with how wide they are?

This annoys me.

Really annoys me.

Oh, but there’s more…

In 2008, obese women made an average of $5,826 (15 percent) less than normal-weight females, George Washington University researchers said.

I’m so annoyed I may write a scathing letter to someone. Somewhere.

There’s more:

White women who were obese had lower wages in both 2004 and 2008 than normal-weight white women, while wages were lower for obese white men only in 2004.

See, the thing about discrimination is that it can be difficult to prove. I mean, it’s not very likely that an employer will state to you that your weight (or skin color or even physical disability) is why they didn’t hire you or promote you or give you a higher annual salary increase. Employers know that’s illegal.

Ah, and corporate America has attempted to cut healthcare costs by–ahem–“encouraging” the obese to slim down, even offering incentives to those who do.

Right now the only state that bans weight discrimination is Michigan.   In fact, that 1977  induced law has seldom been used but appears to be getting more and more recognition since the rise in weight discrimination.

My thing is this:  If a person’s weight/size doesn’t negatively affect their performance, STAY OUT OF THEIR BUSINESS. 

So what do obese workers do who feel they’re being/they’ve been discriminated against?

Write to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in your state. Name names.

Power to The People.

Sneakers in the Cubicle

28 Feb

Dress code policy.

Professional attire.

Business casual.

Casual Fridays.

Blah, blah, blah.

All of this is rhetoric. Rhetoric, I say!

Today I’m referring to what adorns our feet. Our walkers. Our stroll enablers. Our toes. Our heels. Our dawgs. I’ll rant about clothing another day but today it is the workplace rules of our feet that concerns me.

Tell me, why is it considered unprofessional to wear clean, neat, newish looking tennis shoes slash sneakers while perched in a cubicle typing, filing, fiddling with Excel charts, answering telephones, walking up and down hallways??

Why, I ask?

You mean to tell me that THESE

are more comfortable/sensible/practical/kinder than–than these:

Ok, ok. Those are a big much but…than these?!:

I mean, c’mon, at least the lattermost match my corporate slacks or suit or pencil skirt.

If we hadn’t been brainwashed  led to think that sneakers with skirts are professionally atrocious then maybe our dawgs wouldn’t hurt at the end of such days.

God knows I’ve put in my time in heels. I don’t want to be 80 with feet like tree branches, corn callouses the size of mountains or bunions that resemble whole onions.

And don’t even get me started on this information. Perish the thought.

[Click to enlarge]

Once I had plantar fasciitis, a painful bottom-of-foot issue. I got so tired of wearing heels, even low heels to work, that I scoured through the employee manual (you should try it sometime, it may work in your favor) and somewhere tucked in there in a really tiny font size I discovered that if I brought in an official physician’s note that I could ROCK the tennis shoes five days/week to the slight horror of The Evil H.R. Lady whose eyes zoomed in on my big, clunky, comfy tennis shoes each time I bee-bopped up the hall.

I love upsetting authority figures.

Signed

Cubicle Rebel

I Mean, It’s Your Butt

26 Nov

su·pe·ri·or

1. higher in station, rank, degree, importance
2. above the average in excellence, merit, intelligence
3. showing a consciousness or feeling of being better than or above others.
This is where “superior” people sit. People deemed more important than support staff. People who get paid gobs more than the staff beneath them. In a catalog it’s actually labeled “Executive Chair”:

Meanwhile this is the chair your butt must plop into while you handle a “superior’s” paperwork:

Is his butt more superior than yours?

So what, he’s put in twenty years longer than you have. Your butt is important to you. It is a vital part of your anatomy. I mean, after all, you’re the one who does all the dirty work.  In fact, you cover their butt all the time.  Why can’t your butt be held by a buttery soft comfy chair, too?

Gosh, do you have to wait twenty more years before you’re deemed important enough to have an “Executive” chair?

Twenty years is a long time to wait for your butt to be cushioned properly. Why, at 40 hours/week that’s a gazillion hours from now. What if you get pregnant in that time period? I mean, is there a Pregnant Woman chair to accomodate your wider frame, your swollen-ness? What if you gain thirty pounds from eating four million “treats” from the vending machine in those twenty more years?

I mean really, would you sit in this chair at your home for eight hours a day, perched facing in one direction?

I’m sorry. Did I upset you? Wait. I didn’t mean to ruin your weekend. I–I just wanted to awaken your inner rebel, your dormant confrontational equal rights self. Here’s a suggestion for Monday when you return to work after a refreshing three or four-day weekend:

Get the Staples (or Ben’s Office Furniture) catalog, march into aforementioned superior’s office with the “executive” chair of your choice circled boldly with a black Sharpie and demand ask for a new improved chair, one just like similar to the one his/her butt is resting comfortably on.

After all, your butt is very important to you.

I’m here 4 you.