Yet Another Ism by Lois Hewitt


Today the talk is all about racism and sexism.  There are marches to show the injustices.  There is looting and destruction in the streets to show the injustices. Speech after speech is being made to help the uninformed understand the injustices.  Violence seems to be the answer for many people.  Believe me, I do understand that things are not fair and I wish life was more equatable.    But there is a silent ism that I haven’t heard anyone talk much about.

The people, including myself, involved in this ism do not generally protest, loot or create havoc.  Basically we are just too tired and too beat down.  The ism I speak of is ageism. In my travels, I have met hundreds of over 50 people working minimum wage or a little higher.  They cannot find jobs in their fields.  We have experience that no one wants to pay for.  Now I’m not saying if I got an office job doing many multiple duties that I should get $18 an hour. But I think the experience and work ethic are worth more than minimum wage.

My resume does not state my age nor are prospective employers allowed to ask. But if I have 25 years of experience, you can guess I’m not 25 years old.  I’m currently looking for work that will allow me to pay my bills and put some aside for more travel. Of the hundred or so resumes I have sent out, I have only gotten interest from minimum wage positions that are part time with no benefits.  At this point, I have given up any chance for health insurance.  Most older people I have talked to are in the same predicament.  Every day hoping that this is not the day you get really sick.

I’m also finding how difficult it is to find affordable housing.  In the city I am currently in, rents start at over $1,000 a month.  How can I make that and pay my other bills?  I cannot. I worked with an older woman who resorted to living in an RV because she and her husband could no longer afford their home after they lost their jobs. All they could do is wait until they were eligible for SSI.  

I know what you are thinking….well, Lois, if you had been more fiscally aware in your younger days, things may be different.  That is an absolute correct response. I do not try to hide the fact that I was a shopaholic for many years.  Those years I made extremely good wages and I blew it. Many people have similar experiences or maybe an unexpected catastrophe made them lose it all.  Lots of things can happen. Most people are not looking for a handout, just a decent paying job.  Is that too much to ask?

My skin isn’t as tight as it used to be.  I don’t have a cute, tiny figure.  I do, however, have job experiences and a strong work ethic.  I tend to tolerate less drama than my younger counterparts, but they get the interviews not me.  Does it come down to youth and looks?  I hope not, but you think it.  Some jobs I apply for I just know they want a younger person to be the face of the company.  I could be off base, I just don’t know for sure. No one ever mentions age.  Most of my rejection emails say they found someone more qualified.  I am pretty sure I was qualified.

My journey has been about finding the authentic me and empowerment.  But, and I hate to admit this, a lot of times I feel discouraged and disenfranchised.  I assumed that once “they” saw my credentials, a job would not be far behind.  I fooled myself with this type of thinking.  I based an entire lifestyle change on a lie.  The lie that no matter what, I could support myself.  I could work for minimum wage but I could not support myself.  There is a difference. It has nothing to do with a job being beneath me either.  If only I had been born rich instead of beautiful (LOL)!

I’m not trying to complain but I think it is time to think of the realities that my age brings. I still think that I am a young person but my body show the truth.  I’m slower than I used to be.  Some jobs I have had of late were very physically hard on my body and my mind.  I am not as resilient as I used to be.  I run the risk of being sicker than the young ones vying for the same jobs.  Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

I want to end this post on a positive note, but today I do not have one.  My bank balance is as low as I am right now.  Job prospects are not in my sight.  This is a tough time in history to be older.  My advise to young people, plan for getting older.  It’s easier stocking shelves at 25 rather than 55.  I do believe there is a greater plan.  Today I’m too tired to look for it.  

There will be no marches for us today.

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