Several years into my retirement and several months into
my husband’s I am reminded of the admonishment by Samuel Johnson who said that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
I am in London.
And although I am too busy to be bored, I do find myself a bit adrift.
So I have decided to find a job.
I went onto GUMTREE which is an on-line British career site.
Almost immediately I saw a posting for a journalist/writer to
“interview architects and designers about their careers.”
And it got better.
“You will have a curious passion for people and interest in people’s journey’s (sic) and stories. Articles can be feature or Q&A with a strong focus sharing useful employment news and
advice, “ the ad read. What’s more, as it is an on line position the work can be done from anywhere.
I started filling out the application right away, but stopped short when it asked for a CV.
Haven’t had one of those in awhile. Then it asked for the actual dates of previous employment.
Right. I have been working in the journalism business for over 25 years. I, no doubt,
would be oldest person applying for this position.
For the first time ever, I felt foolish even trying to compete in the job market.
At that moment I was reminded of those tiresome interview queries some managers, who fancied themselves very clever, would indulge in.
“What would you say your
greatest weakness was?”
“My age,” is how I would respond now.
And not because I feel old. But compared with an enthusiastic newbie right out of university
I am old. Or at least older. Very much older. I have reached the age when many people do retire.
Which is a shame because although many jobs advertise for people with “experience” they
actually mean “just a little experience.” The kind of you might accumulate just before turning 30.
The UK’s government website says the
“Default retirement age (formerly 65) has been phased out – most people can now work for as long as they want to.”
Heaps of time left then.
The government site adds, “If an employee chooses to work longer they can’t be discriminated against.”
I wondered if the discrimination clause applied only to current employees or potential
ones as well.
Nonetheless, I persevered with the application process. But, instead of supplying a traditional CV I included a short biography. It detailed my work experience- as required, but omitted dates -also required, but a request I perceived as a sneaky route to age revelation. I don’t want to hide my age. I just don’t want it used against me. Who cares how old you are? Unless, of course, the position requires giving birth which, I confess, would be a real deal breaker.
The application made mandatory a cover letter as well:
Attached is a sample of my work, a re-design story. And below is my bio. I am submitting both for your review and in hopes of securing freelance writing work with you.
Thank you and all the best,
I had wanted to start off the cover letter with a question of my own.
“ Do you suffer from ageism?” would have done nicely and immediately addressed and dispelled with the elephant in the room so that the important issue, that is, finding the right person for a job that required vast experience, extreme maturity and perhaps just the right amount of temerity to even apply for it could be attended to.
I emailed the application.
Not to be put off.
I sent it again.
“Success,” the site claimed.
That remains to be seen.