News24

'Over the hill' at 53

2010-07-27 12:16

Dear Editor,

Why do employers regard me as “too old” when I have 35 years of working experience in my field in SA, West and East Africa as well as the UK.

An employer would have to search far and wide to find someone like me. Apart from my vast experience, I am pleasant, attractive enough, well spoken and ready to commit and share my knowledge.

My references are impeccable and contactable, yet to no avail, most times I am not even granted an interview.

I have missed out on many positions as I am not a BEE applicant, and so many I do not even apply for because the job spec is BEE, so that of course narrows the number of positions I can apply for. Not to mention the interviews I have been granted only to be told that although I was a superb candidate they have chosen a BEE applicant, so why did they interview me in the first place?

Then there are the positions that state “Young and energetic” so of course I cannot apply for those as my youth has passed me by, although the energy is there but I do not even get a response to any mails sent.

Surely in this day and age to specify young should be against the law as it is so highly discriminatory? Besides, youth is wasted on the young!

So where does that leave me then? Do I scout for geriatric positions? At what age did I become unemployable?

Some enterprising recruitment agency would surely make a mint in commissions by capturing the “Oldies” market.

Casey Gee

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

Comments
  • mike webber - 2010-07-27 12:22

    53 with a wealth of experience is a good age. Also depends which companies and industries you're targeting for employment. Some try to keep everything youthful - "young and vibey" as they say.

    I do agree though that we're losing A LOT of experienced talent by failing to employ the over 50's generation.

    A pity about all the AA and BEE stuff as well. All the talent lost. Very sad African story ...

  • Kwaai - 2010-07-27 12:25

    Get on a plane and leave...pleanty of opportunities and jobs abroad for you :)...the world is ur oyster!

  • Juan - 2010-07-27 12:29

    Keep plugging, Casey. You'll be sure to get something and I think you'd prefer to work at a company that appreciates your experience.
    BEE and AA is just there for those not intelligent enough to get the job on merit.

  • Me - 2010-07-27 12:30

    You answered your own question. You are not BEE-complaint. This country doesn't give a rats ass about experience and knowledge. As long as some poor previously disadvantaged schmuck can get his ass in the position and all BEE figures tie up, all is ok. And until the country stops being a welfare association, all decent service will go out the window. I have no problem with BEE, as long as the applicant can DO the job, not sit on his ass and collect a pay check every month.

  • erewhon - 2010-07-27 12:30

    Join the A.N.C. and with a few judicious bribes, become a cadre

  • Thobi - 2010-07-27 12:32

    Maybe it's your attitude, or you suck at interviews.... maybe you are not attractive enough as you claim. These are all the things they will never tell you on that "regret" letter...

  • alec - 2010-07-27 12:32

    53 seems a bit old...

  • Peacocak - 2010-07-27 12:35

    I am in the same situation and have came across the same situation. So I am stuck in a position which offers no advancement

  • Jurgens Van Der Westhuizen - 2010-07-27 12:35

    There is more to finding a job at 53 than when you are younger. Questions you need to ask yourself are: What does my cv say about me? Did I specialize in any direction? Did I complete my studies? Did I jump from job to job? What were my reasons for leaving permanent employment? I have clients that are happy to employ candidates in their 50s as long as they were stable, focused and know what they want. Send me your cv and I will comment on it for your benifit.

  • Cynical@author - 2010-07-27 12:38

    Your story is an unfortunate one but is not uncommon. 53 is not old and everyone knows it. But in the final analysis your skin is the wrong colour in our waanderful caantry. Full stop. But hey look on the bright side, prosperity will soon be in abundance as the tide of wellbeing as a result of the Weld Caap sweeps through the land.....ha ha ha ha

  • tellytebby - 2010-07-27 12:41

    Old people (over 45) aren't too welcome in the workforce. Solution is for Government to get everyone to retire at 45, and then pay them a full pension.

  • Bob - 2010-07-27 12:42

    I'll have to take your word on the experience, but simply looking at the fact that you can write an article without spelling or grammatical catastrophes puts you head and shoulders above 95% of the general population.

  • womble - 2010-07-27 12:45

    Its sad but true.

    If you are retrenched / resign in your 50's you need to accept that the odds are against you in securing a new position. Unless you are a high flyer you will be subjected to the adage that its a "young man's (not gender specific) world".

    BEE and AA are problems that all white males face, irrespective of age.

  • Anti - 2010-07-27 12:48

    Isn't it very strange how in commerce you're considered over the hill at 55, but if you were a football team manager earning 9 million pounds per annum, you'd be the youngest guy out there?

  • Johan Potgieter @author and kwaai - 2010-07-27 12:49

    Take whatever kwaai says with a pinch of salt. He claims to be in England, but is here on news24 each day talking nonsense. He also revealed that he has internet at home. Now the question is: when does he ever work if he is employed because he spends his time sitting at home on the internet.

    Kwaai come back home. All is forgiven

  • @Kwaai - 2010-07-27 12:49

    Kwaai you should rather leave. SA doesn't need twats like you.

  • Age Guru@Old Guy - 2010-07-27 12:50

    YOU ARE TOO OLD...

  • harry - 2010-07-27 12:50

    yes Casey, employers do not know what they are losing when they do not employ "old age" people. i, and 4 others,were retrenched recently and the company "lost" 200 years of experience!!

  • Ray - 2010-07-27 12:53

    I think at that age your salary expectations would be far higher than a younger BEE candidate (and rightfully so). Maybe that too is a contributing factor to your current predicament?

  • Themba Thwala - 2010-07-27 12:54

    How can the job spec be BEE ("Black Economic Empowerment"), a requirement which the government places on private companies if they want to do business with it?

    What other lies are you telling? Just admit that you are an incompetent sod and that's why you are not being hired. I see many grey haired men in their german sedans and 4x4 driving to work everyday in my neck of the woods

  • Darryl D @ Kwaai - 2010-07-27 12:55

    Hey Kwaai. Why don't you leave. Emigrate back to North Africa where your bantu clans comes from.

  • Noko YA mosebe - 2010-07-27 12:59

    maybe is bcos of these recruitment agency,that keeps us running up and down for NO LUCK.I am tired of being a job seeker.I rather hold ON TO MY CURRENT K@K job,Until i open my small business .Selling Tomatoes in the Taxi rank is far more better than keeping driver up and down to these recruitment angency IT COST A LOT.

  • EE - 2010-07-27 13:02

    I just employed a 54 old White female because she is good at what she does
    95% of my team is EE compliant but I have been labelled as Culturally Biased by management for reprimanding a lazy intern…..

  • Piet - 2010-07-27 13:02

    Me - same predicament. Try consulting or contracting.

  • Chris - 2010-07-27 13:03

    I think the majority of HR managers have that point, to be honest, I think they are just being stupid !!, My company, (not a listed company I might add) just appointed a 53 year old as a marketing manager, after two months we are already reaping the rewards. HR Manager..take off the blinkers !!

  • @43 - 2010-07-27 13:09

    I came back a year ago after the economic recession sinked the company I was working for. They paid me a very good salary with good future prospects. Back in SA I had to beg to be employed by a former employer. Although I made it the mantra in the organization is to employ young people below the age of 30 and get rid of them after 10 years. Not only does SA have the crappiest unitary state regime dressed as a democracy but the companies in this cuntry deserve everything they get in terms of the costs that are spiralling out of control in nearly every sector due to idiots in positions that they should not be in. The SA companies and SA government deserve each other but rest assured sooner or later they (the companies) will loose everything when nationalization becomes the norm.

  • jeremy - 2010-07-27 13:12

    Hi Casey, you and every other correspondent are missing one very important point. Your age and experience have to be commensurate with the position for which you're applying. And if you're applying for a job at 53, it has to be a very senior or very unique position. The fact is that your boss is likely to be younger and probably less experienced than you - and that means he/she would feel uneasy about appointing someone probably more capable than they. And that means someone younger will get the job. Younger people are more easily manipulated and amenable to to bowing to "authority." It's not about how much experience you've got - or even whether you're BEE compliant. It's about the pecking order, pure and simple.

  • @Casey - 2010-07-27 13:13

    Casey forget SA. This cuntry will sink before too long. Nowhere can 5-6 million keep a welfare state running of 50 m people. Take off to Europe or elsewhere where they'll welcome you with open arms I'm sure and leave this once beautiful country to become the cesspool of "young" people. Let them burn in their own sh*t.

  • Lucky - 2010-07-27 13:13

    I wonder how you managed to reach 53 in this dangerous country, consider yourself blessed. Life expectancy in these shores is 35!

  • dewet - 2010-07-27 13:17

    go to china and be trained to be a saboteur - when u are arrested spend some time in prison and then you will be qualified to become a politician in africa - then u can make ur own rulz

  • Suzie@Themba - 2010-07-27 13:20

    Themba a lot of companies incorrenctly advertise as BEE where they should have said AA candidate. He is white, male and pale...and that is the problem. Have sympathy with him. Government take NO whites any more

  • Ian - 2010-07-27 13:24

    I feel for you my friend - I am a 1956 case. The only way out is to try and start something yourself.
    I agree with BEE but I beleive that affirmative action has cost this country billions. The skills transfer has occured, unfortunately other countries are reaping the benefits while we get stuck with people who could have done the job if they had received the skills. Instead we get people promoted far beyond their qualifications and we end up with Eskom scenarios.
    Good luck

  • MarkH - 2010-07-27 13:26

    The fact of the matter is that the age of grammer, punctuation and spelling is over thanks to instant messaging and experience is no longer wanted. The last thing the young managers of today - the spreadsheet gang - want is some oldie working for them who does things properly, meticulously and carefully. Now it's all about speed, living life - even in the office - to the full and roaring along. Possibly that in itself is because they too realise, perhaps even unconsciously, that they are not going to last long and, like politicos, must reap whilst they can.
    The answer my friend is either to go contracting where your skills are needed short-term or start your own business. Unfortunately the future is now here and we are merely hindrances slowing things down. Times change and so must we but nobody can take away your experience so use it for profit and sell either yourself or a product to the masses of illiterates out there. The majority of them are so busy speeding along that they'll buy anything as long as it doesn't slow them down on their highway to nowhere.......

  • Over 50's - 2010-07-27 13:32

    Hey there Jurgens van der Westhuizen. What's your e-mail address to send you an over 50's CV? regards

  • @Themba Thwala - 2010-07-27 13:42

    Thats it blame the individual not the real reason. AA is the problem.
    Those grey haired old men you see are probably consultants hired to put right what has been stuffed up by someone given a job but unqualified for it.

  • Kwaai - 2010-07-27 13:43

    :)...once again u bring a smile to my face u lot....stop focusing on me and help the poor author. Seeing as u all so interested in me and seem to have the wrong end of the stick... I left SA 10 years ago...I used to live PE, but now live in Brighton UK....I have a lovely job where I am able to work and have time to myself....50 days leave a year! and I feel like I make a difference to the country I live in as I work for the government. I recently bought a house on the beach own a nice car and get to write and produce music which I play all over Europe and the rest of the world. When I left SA I flew out with ONE bag of clothes and some music, even though I miss my family and the beauty of SA I think I am a good example of what can be achieved by trying something new and realising that there other places in the world to live….so my advice to the author as before, would be to do what I did and 100 000's of other South African have done…and leave, not because SA is rubbish but because there are other opportunities out there. The UK has no forced retirement age and they welcome people such as urself …experienced and up for a change:) all the best Casey.

  • Mark - 2010-07-27 13:44

    Start you own business and make sure that you only hire whites, simple....

  • godfrey - 2010-07-27 13:46

    It has nothing to do with BEE. I am 44 and the same position as you.I don't even get the so-called BEE positions. It has to do with age.

  • Jo@jeremy - 2010-07-27 13:54

    And we all know that they key to a successful enterprise is making middle-management "feel" good - not actual production and proper business practice, right? I have managed people older and younger than myself, and I've learnt something from all of them.

  • Pleb - 2010-07-27 14:06

    To fill their affirmative action quota's no matter whether there is quality or not - why do you think that the sevice levels and state of organistions in this country is such a mess

  • Cookie - 2010-07-27 14:07

    Maybe you just forward your CV...covering letter is most important!If you have been called for interviews that means your age is not the problem, I agree with Jurgens ask yourself questions, who knows if you have an attitude, too confident, jack of all trades or asking too much money.

  • Themba Thwala @suzie - 2010-07-27 14:12

    Whenever one tries to correct the deliberate misunderstanding of AA, news24 applies censorship witnessed only during the apartheid era. I am going to try anyway:

    AA legislation requires companies to employ AA candidates (Africans, Indians, Coloureds and women of all racial groups) ONLY after such companies have already appointed at least 50 whites. As a result, companies which do not want to employe AA candidates keep their numbers at 50 in order to remain white. Why is the author not one of the 50 people in so many lilly white companies? And why is he unemployed when the retirement age is at 60 or 65 unless one has taken early retirement? While I sympathise with him, he must resisit the easy way out of blaming darkies for being unemployable in the face of many white companies that remain lilly white because they stop employing at white employee number 50 and keep setting up others and do the same

  • ross - 2010-07-27 14:14

    well its cheaper to emply someone who has less experiance, as you dont have to pay them for all the knowledge they can bring into the comapny. With regard to BEE there is just no hope. Good luck

  • Kwaai - 2010-07-27 14:15

    :)...once again u bring a smile to my face u lot....stop focusing on me and help the poor author. Seeing as u all so interested in me and seem to have the wrong end of the stick... I left SA 10 years ago...I used to live PE, but now live in Brighton UK....I have a lovely job where I am able to work and have time to myself....50 days leave a year! and I feel like I make a difference to the country I live in as I work for the government. I recently bought a house on the beach own a nice car and get to write and produce music which I play all over Europe and the rest of the world. When I left SA I flew out with ONE bag of clothes and some music, even though I miss my family and the beauty of SA I think I am a good example of what can be achieved by trying something new and realising that there other places in the world to live….so my advice to the author as before, would be to do what I did and 100 000's of other South African have done…and leave, not because SA is rubbish but because there are other opportunities out there. The UK has no forced retirement age and they welcome people such as urself …experienced and up for a change:) all the best Casey.

  • P - 2010-07-27 14:15

    Maybe its because you only have 1 year experience of doing the same thing over 35 years.... Who knows??

  • MarkH@Themba Thwala - 2010-07-27 14:15

    There, there, fella I don't think you should take things so personal in "your neck of the woods." And I'm pretty sure the author isn't after your particular job, he's probably isn't that desperate........

  • Adk - 2010-07-27 14:17

    If You're White, it's a disability, and the companies do not like to employ the disabled.

  • DeonL@startownbusiness - 2010-07-27 14:29

    Hi, if no one wants you, you can start your own business in your field! A lot of companies also take on people to do sales or MLM business like Herbalife or Avon etc. The best in SA if you are non black to be your own boss. The first year or 2 in your own business you don't make much money, luckily also then do not pay much if any income tax or Paye.

  • Myself@juan - 2010-07-27 14:30

    You sucks juan, just like apartheid which benefitted the minority for so many decades at the expense of the African massess.As Africans we endured for that long, but the curtain came down.So you and your folk can not endure for only fifteen years while the government of the majority is reversing the imbalances of the past? Come on boy, I am sure you can endure a little while longer until a balance is reached and the wealth of this country is equally shared by all the citizens of the republic.To say we that BEE and AA is for the intelligent people is an insult to the massess who were deprived the opportunities in the past, it also mean that the so called white were not intelligent for benefitting while they see the people suffering.

  • Aaron - 2010-07-27 14:30

    That is why I am starting my own business at the age of 41 - to be in control of my own career & destiny. We are basically voluntary slaves - your employer decides who you work with, how much you earn, when you can take leave and how many days you can be sick. Think about it!!! Get out of your comfort zone and stop making that monthly cheque, pension, medical aid & perks stop your dreams. It is but a dangling carrot infront of u.

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