Gransnet forums

Everyday Ageism


(21 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 27-Jun-18 22:40:32

We've been asked to take part in a panel discussion on ageism and wondered if you could share your views.

Do you encounter ageism? What's the worst experience you've had? Do you call people up on it or ignore it? What can employers do to promote age diversity in the workplace? How can we encourage more intergenerational mixing?

Would love to hear your thoughts on these or on ageism more generally? thanks

stella1949 Thu 28-Jun-18 04:48:15

The worst experience of ageism, for me, was the eventual reason why I retired when I did.

I was a registered nurse, and for the last few years of my working life I working in an aged care facility. I really enjoyed the more relaxed format, and thought that I could stay there until I was 65.

When I had been there for a couple of years, a new boss came on the scene - a 40-something with ideas of making her way up the corporate ladder. For her own reasons, she decided that the three over-60's on the staff were too old to be safe or reliable.

All three of us then found that life was not worth living - we were blamed for everything bad that happened. More than once I was dragged onto the carpet for things that had nothing to do with me at all . Even mild comments that I had made ( once I'd said that I didn't like the singer at a concert) somehow got back to the boss, and I was accused of undermining the morale of the place ! The fact that I'd been the Union representative on site made it worse - you'd have thought I was an enemy of the State, working to bring the company down with my activities.

In the end I couldn't stand it any more. I didn't call her out on it, I felt old and vulnerable by that point. I was due for some leave so I took it, and while I was away I sent my resignation to take effect immediately. I've never regretted leaving, but it left a bad taste at the end of what had previously been a successful career.

I don't know what can be done about this attitude. Often it is just something which happens insidiously, you don't see it coming and suddenly "whammo !" you're being accused of incompetence simply because of your age. Good luck to those still in the workforce. I hope it doesn't happen to you.

TwiceAsNice Thu 28-Jun-18 08:33:43

I haven't encountered it in the workplace at all. I relocated to another part of the country 18 months ago and got a new job at the age of 62 with no problem. I'm leaving that of my own choice and started another in February at the age of 64 . I intend to stay in it as long as I like its a permanent contract.

My SIL made a (half) jokey comment recently about my age ( 65 in 2 weeks) and I said " less of the old you're only 6 years younger than me" no further comment! I hope if you make nothing of your age neither will other people. Not always true I know, perhaps I have been lucky. I would call someone out on it ageism is unacceptable.

mcem Thu 28-Jun-18 08:51:53

I agree twice that 'if you make nothing of your age neither will other people'.

The last month has made me aware that I do have to rely on others at times (due to broken leg - not old age).

I warned 7 year-old DGD before a visit that I was tottering around like an old lady.
She replied, "Don't worry,Gran. You're not a real old lady!"

We're off to Disneyland Paris on the 10th so here ended the tottering around!!

downtoearth Thu 28-Jun-18 09:39:49

Returning to work at age 60,taking on a job I had previously trained for,I retrained on the job gained a qualification,but myself and a same age colleague where not favoured by female manager,who lay every blame on us that she could think of 15months further on I overheard her talking to another colleague about my alleged shortcomings ,...I resigned over the phone next morning,after telling her why and exactly where she could put her job.
Young members of staff where allowed liberties and all help given to aid their advancement,totally ageist environment.

Bellanonna Thu 28-Jun-18 09:43:39

I worked till I was 71 and have never come across ageism. I left of my own choice but was asked back occasionally to fill in. Nearing 78 now I have no desire to work as I enjoy my retirement. I have noticed, however, if I’m buying something with one of my daughters in tow, the (always male) salesperson tends to address my daughter if something needs explaining as clearly I wouldn’t be able to understand!

shysal Thu 28-Jun-18 10:01:08

I went out for a meal with DD and GCs a while ago. As I was paying the bill the waitress turned to my GD to ask if she would fill in a feedback form on line. I announced that I was quite capable of using the internet and that I would do it. I didn't report ageism on the questionnaire as our service had been excellent and she had apologised and promised not to insult grandparents in future!

NfkDumpling Thu 28-Jun-18 10:45:15

I’m 70 now and, until my nice new knee beds in, I walk with a stick. I still can’t say I’ve encounter any serious ageism. A bit of teasing occasionally but I’m still quite capable of giving as good as I get.

When I left my last job (receptionist at a mental health charity) they said they were sorry to see me go as I had more empathy and understanding than younger staff - reverse ageism?

Alexa Thu 28-Jun-18 10:53:04

Regarding Stella's story of ageism in the work place.

Is there a complaints procedure that addresses institutional ageism? I notice that 'institutional ageism' usually refers to old people in care versus care-givers. That aspect of ageism must be repeated in selection of employees. Stella, are you not inclined to blame whoever selected this 40 year old person for the post . Was it a NHS trust?

Alexa Thu 28-Jun-18 10:56:32

PS (apologies).

If it was an NHS trust who selected this trouble maker for her post, then there is something rotten about their selection criteria which must include ageist attitude towards patients as well as towards employees. This is serious cause for concern over and above any personal injustice.

Liz46 Thu 28-Jun-18 11:04:03

I changed my job when I was 56. I had been working for one of the big banks for 19 years and had become very unhappy there because the sales targets had become impossible. To be honest, I think I may have been taken on by the new company because it was a small business which would have been badly affected if someone wanted maternity leave!

annep Thu 28-Jun-18 11:36:44

My son once asked my husband if I had driven the whole way as I was getting out of the driver's seat. Husband said yes and son asked Was she ok? I thought , Excuse me I am standing here!

annodomini Thu 28-Jun-18 11:49:33

I've mentioned this before but for the benefit of your panel discussion: I couldn't find the item I wanted in M&S and asked an assistant about it. She responded that if someone could look it up for me, it might be available on line. I'm afraid she got quite an earful from me more or less to the effect that I had been using computers since before she was born! Maybe a slight exaggeration, but she did seem very wet behind the ears.

eazybee Thu 28-Jun-18 12:43:58

I experienced ageism in Teaching.
In my sixty-fifth year, intending to retire at the end of the school year, I was told I had to retire the day after my sixty-fifth birthday, mid week, mid term and mid year. I wrote asking to retire at the end of the school year, sixth months later. My application was refused; I went to Appeal, which was postponed three times, but I won my case.
The Governing Body was completely wrong in its interpretation of the established rules and Code of Practice, and had made numerous mistakes, even getting my date of birth wrong, and the date of the year I was due to retire. I was pleased that most of the Governors refused to have anything to do with it, but there was a new Chairman who was intent on running the school his way.

My union was brilliant; after we won our case the Rep threatened to report them to the Education Office for their unnecessary action, incompetence and distress caused, which would have resulted in the entire body being replaced. (The Chairman didn't last long.)
I retired in July as I wished, but it spoiled my last year of teaching, and hurts even now, several years later.
But I am so glad that I didn't give in to bullying.

Alexa Thu 28-Jun-18 16:11:36

Good for you Eazybee. Thanks for telling this. I think that you yourself would be a good school governor.

blossom14 Thu 28-Jun-18 16:52:58

I very swiftly pulled up some of the senior managers, who were around five years my juniors in my last job running an administrative support team in Local Government when they tried to refer to me as 'Auntie'.

No one ever, not in my hearing, suggested I needed to go on an assertiveness course either.

grandma60 Thu 28-Jun-18 20:41:48

So much of this rings a bell with me. I worked in an office for fourteen years where I was happy and felt well respected. I was often given the responsibility of training new starters especially the younger ones who had come from school or college.
Then things changed. The company was restructured and a much younger management team was brought. Myself and other people in their 60s were undermined and criticised constantly. All our responsibilities were taken away from us and given to young less experienced staff.
We had no union and the stress started to make me ill. I developed health problems for which I was given no support although the younger members were given endless sympathy even for suffering with a hangover.
In the end I retired due to the impact on my health, as did four other older members of staff.
I am enjoying my retirement and feel much better but I am sad that a job I enjoyed ended like that.

OldMeg Fri 29-Jun-18 05:58:52

I (voluntarily) took retirement at 59 when my work pension had reached a certain level so didn’t have chance to experience ageism in the workplace, but I don’t think such attitudes existed in my profession anyway.

I can’t think offhand of any ageism except from certain kind of young mums towards grandmothers/older women. I think these must be the sort we read about in this forum who have either caused rifts in their own families, especially with MiLs or been subjected to interference by MiLs.

I sometimes wish my own family would remember my age as they seem to expect me to still function like a spring lamb.

M0nica Fri 29-Jun-18 08:52:15

In my last job I was the oldest member of staff, I know because, in my work, I saw lists with staff names and dates of birth. I suffered no prejudice as a result of this. The majority of people in the company neither knew, nor cared and I was over 50 when appointed to the job.

My employer was a division of a large company that a few years later announced many of thousands of redundancies were necessary. The redundancy terms were very generous. As usual, based on years of service, but with enhanced terms the older you were - reverse ageism. I decided the offer was too good to refuse and went.

I have never experienced any direct ageism, but feel the real problem is, what I call institutionalised ageism. General talk about older people being gaga, sliding into dementia, unable to cope with new technology. Over reaction when an elderly driver is in an accident that suggests older drivers are inherently accident prone, when in fact they are much safer than 18- 25 year olds

Alexa Sat 30-Jun-18 09:23:13

A good application of that statistic, MOnica.

annodomini Sat 30-Jun-18 10:42:28

When I was 59, hoping to retire at 60, but leaving my options open if I felt like going on till 65, the college asked for voluntary redundancies. We knew that terms for compulsory redundancy would be better, so no-one volunteered. Then the axe fell. I was told my job could be absorbed by other members of staff. I appealed of course, but the Union was absolutely useless - so left wing that it was more concerned with dockers in London than it was with its own members in the college. The reason for redundancy - the job being absorbed - was a pack of lies. I was clearly the oldest full-time member of the department so who were they kidding? This was 19 years ago and I still feel resentment towards the management and cross that my experience and my rapport with students were immaterial as opposed to my great age!