Saturday, September 11, 2010

So, tell me, how old are you again?

Bikram Vohra (Between the lines) - 11 September 2010

I am getting pretty teed off.

Wherever I go I am met by evidence of this rather nasty conspiracy called age. Just the other day this young whippersnapper of about going onto thirty is telling my friend not to quit his job even if he isn’t happy because if he does he won’t get another one.

Oh, and why not?

That’s easy, you are nearly fifty, there is no job market for the forties, forget about the fifties.

I resent that. I resent the propulsion of this myth by young, callow green 
behind the ear thirty types and their smug ‘you are over the hill’ smirk on their faces.

Especially now that my colleague 
has shown me a survey that shows 
men and women are at their peak efficiency between 55 and 64. Ha, go smoke that.

And while we are talking resentment I actively resent all those advertisements telling me I need not apply if I was born before such and such date and that date is about 26 years plus and where do people get off dumping on us for our experience.

Let me tell you people something. When you are hitting fifty and sixty 
you have seen it all and then some. 
You have the style, the experience 
and the stamina to be at your most 
effective. You are no longer tilting at windmills, you stopped saving or changing the world long ago and you lead from the front rather than slither about on the slopes of expediency as much of the younger generation does as it tried to save itself never mind the others.

The fifty to sixty types are team players and a good company would thrive if it stopped seeing virtue in the vacuous and wet whizzkids and started filling in their frontline ranks with some whizzmiddleagers.

I have decided to go on the offensive and start the Sixties Club. My first 
target is all those employees who laugh in your face and tell you that you are overage...want to armwrestle, sunshine, I’ll show you overage?

But seriously, if people can object to being excluded on grounds of caste, colour, creed, sex or nationality why should age not be seen as an equally offensive prejudice.

This kid talking to my friend is genuinely sympathetic but insultingly so.

No way any company wants to invest in a fifty five year old, he says, no offense meant after which he cheerfully continues to be offensive, why would they, in another few years he is obsolete, ill, high medical bills, non effective, max a five year deal, not to the company’s advantage.

Is there a law that says you can bop someone on the nose if he is twenty years younger than you? It strikes me most forcefully that as we approach that magic number we become more sensitive to this diabolical plot to keep us down and out and am surprised at how widespread it is.

I have even met 60 year olds who kind of understand the syndrome, so deep is the prejudice against age.

I believe it is time we took a stand and showed our mettle.

Seventy. Yes, now that I can understand, you are getting on, you are 
slowing down, the old get and go 
has got up and gone but fifty, sixty 
that’s the prime of life.

Not that I mean anything offensive against forty-year olds, but would I 
give one of them a job, oh come on, 
I am running an office not a charitable institution, who’d give a forty year 
old a job, don’t make me laugh, 
how does it help the company, he is looking for the main chance, has a midlife crisis, is overweight, overindulgent, over the top and has no 
idea how to be stick it out over the long haul, what will he be at fifty, let alone sixty, the guys spent, burned out already.

Bikram Vohra is Editorial Adviser of 
Khaleej Times. Write to him at

No comments: