There’s a harsh reality I’m dealing with now. I have been for a while. It became clear to me yesterday during a phone interview for a job that I’m highly qualified for, but I’ve suspected all along.
My previous positions have been working mostly with men: young men right out of college, middle-aged men, older men. All of those men had job offers after they were laid off or found a position similar in pay and title to the one they left. Not me.
I knew leaving a career I’d been building for years would be difficult, but at 45, I knew I still had many years of good work and ambition to give. I made a choice. I was always somewhat naive about sexism despite my mother telling me over and over “it’s a man’s world.” I saw it and fought it and did well for myself (and my company) for as long as I could.
I’d worked extremely hard, giving up vacations, family time, and romance to prove myself and earn my keep in this “man’s world.” I decided that it wasn’t worth it at that company. I wanted to find another one where women were appreciated and respected. It wasn’t just about money or a job. I wanted to prove they were out there!
Smart, (I thought), me to save enough money to take my time finding somewhere new, I relaxed and thought about where I’d like to go and what I wanted to be when I grew up.
When I started looking for something new, I’d applied at 35 places and got two interviews. Of those two, I was offered one position in customer service at a 75% pay cut at what I previously made. I took it. I didn’t want to be on unemployment and I had savings to pick up the slack. I had a job and money coming in. I’d just keep looking for something that fits.
And now, savings is about gone and I had an interview yesterday with a 27 year old manager. He asked if I had any questions. I asked what the culture was like there. He said, “we’re a pretty young crew. We work hard and play hard. We get done at 4:30 and go have a drink and something to eat.”
I said, “that sounds great!”
And then he viewed my LinkedIn profile where he saw what year I graduated college and sent me the rejection email. And while, I’m sure there could have been other reasons, it’s that I’m too old.
And here I am, a middle aged woman with a college education and 25 years of professional experience, that can’t catch a break.
I guess this is why so many women my age end up going into business for themselves or running for office, because fuck that shit.