Getting old SUCKS!
For those of you who don’t know, I’m 48. I got married at 39, had my first child at 40, and my second just before I turned 44. I’ve done 8 years of post-secondary, graduating in from UBC in 2001. I’ve done a lot of different jobs indoors and out – customer service, clerical, tour guide, research, painting, inventory, restaurant work, etc. I have experience in a wide range of industries, and am quick to learn new jobs.
Last year I took a temp job working at a conference in Vancouver. I can’t say who, but it had to do with Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The job the temp agency gave me was in operations – I worked with a group of people setting up the conference site. We unloaded trucks, moved thousands of pounds of furniture, set up heavy displays, etc, etc. I was one of the oldest and smallest on the crew, but I worked my tail off trying to push 200 lb pallets over carpet and unloading truck after truck of furniture. There were times when I was struggling and exhausted, and young strapping men on the crew just walked by with a 5 lb sign. Huh.
But not one to give up, I forged ahead. By the end of the week, I was pooped. I would get home from work and the kids would jump on me, expecting tickle time and fun. I barely had the energy to smile and hug them before falling into bed in exhaustion! I was so happy when the job was over.
So this year, when they contacted me again and asked me if I wanted to work the conference, I thought long and hard about it. I replied to the e-mail carefully, stating that I would be happy to return as long as I did NOT get the same placement. Maybe I could help with the signage or gift bags or greeting guests or man the info booth or register guests or make name badges or work the events. They had oodles of other positions that needed to be filled!
Though they had invited many of last year’s crew back this year, there were many positions that needed new people – others had moved on, moved away, found other jobs, had other commitments. I thought for sure they would have no trouble placing me elsewhere! But when I showed up for training day on Saturday, I was told that I was once again on the Operations crew. Why would you put the oldest and smallest on manual labour?!
I’ll tell you why. Because I am one of the oldest and smallest! Apparently they could not fit me in anywhere else, even though they hired dozens of new people to fill the other jobs! Was I under qualified? Over qualified? Too old? Too frumpy? Too grumpy? Too friendly? What??? What was it?!
I told them that had I known, I would’ve declined the position long ago. They told me “just don’t lift anything over 50lbs!” Um… what?! These people clearly have never worked a manual job, and certainly not THIS job. You don’t accept a job and then refuse to DO the job! I asked them to place me elsewhere and they shrugged “sorry, everything else has been filled.” Huh. So that other, younger girl that worked with me last year who you placed in a different position this year deserved it more?
So yesterday, on International Women’s Day, I quit.
This is not a new story. I’m certain every job-searching woman over 45 has the same story. You have children, dedicate your life to raising responisible members of society, and this is the thanks you get – those same, snot-nosed little shits turn their noses up at you. Nice! I’ll bet their mothers are so proud.