When I was 17-years old anyone who was 32 was old, old, old. My grandparents were incredibly ancient (although in those days that was considered a good thing). And I was convinced that I'd never get old – somehow by some magic I'd maintain a firm grasp of youth and innocence forever..
Well, now I've joined the ranks of what some call "ancient" – My grand parents are long gone, but I've responsibly been walking in their shoes – and, hopefully, living up to their incredible example of industriousness and honorable stewardship of this place we call home.
Now, I've not been particularly concerned about age. Young and old all had a place in my heart. Although, to be perfectly honest, I found I had a lot more in common and a whole lot more respect for anyone older than myself. Kids my own age were just that – kids.
Well, I've had age discrimination shoved in my face so often in the last several years that I've gotten quite cantankerous about it. No I will NOT dye my hair to cover up the gray and I'm perfectly happy with the texture of my skin – no need to cover it up. Really, it's fine.
But there's a petition circulating the internet right now that has me really, really riled up. It proposes and supports all sorts of nonsense under the guise of advocating fairness in the workplace; but, the paragraph that haunts me to this day is this:
"Such a law would mandate companies with 40 or more employees implement numerical, documented verification standards requiring that a set number (1 in 5) employees in their work force is comprised of individuals between the age of forty and sixty five years of age.”
The individual wanted me to endorse this___?
First off, the ratios set here are questionable. Can we assume that only 1 in 5 individuals fall into this magic protected circle of 40-65? Oh, but wait, the baby boomers are pushing forward….will they swell the ratio to more like 1 in 3 or 1 in 2? Or are they going to graciously drop out of the game to keep the numbers consistent?
No really is this a fair mirror representation of the workforce in the US? What happened to the rest of the able bodied workers over 65? I'm not a mathematician or a statistics geek so I have to ask. I keep hearing that we are a rapidly aging society. and I keep hearing that it's probable that upcoming generations may be expected to work well into their 70s. Who does this proposed mandate protect then?
The real problem here as I see it is that this proposal simply pushes numbers around. Ok, so you want to require employers to hire a certain percentage of 40-65-year-olds. Isn't that age discrimination – with just slightly higher numbers? What exactly happens to me and the 35-million or so others who are more than 65 years old who are educated, healthy, able and willing – and need – to work?
This says that it's not OK to discriminate against anyone under 65 years of age. Hurray!! But once you're 66 anything goes?
A word to the wise: If you're pushing this agenda – be very careful. You, too, are heading for the ripe old age of (Gulp) 66!! That's ok. Just look ahead. I'll be watching out for you from the other side of 70….and waiting with baited breath for what new ideas come up with then. 🙂