Saturday, March 27, 2010

One Hundred Things My Mother Taught Me A Million Times – Chapter 31

#31 – “Don't ever admit your age or that you have children because people will automatically categorize you and deprive you of opportunities.”
(Mom and my Brother JS)

When I was young and had children this one of one hundred things my mother taught me a million times really made me angry. I told her that was outdated thinking, old fashioned. My generation was a lot more sophisticated. Employers wouldn’t dare discriminate against a woman because of her age or the fact that she had children. That was before I became an employer, blinded by a misguided sense of duty and the bottom line. Click on Read More...

Me, a seemingly progressive woman who held herself up as a paragon of equal rights discriminated. Yep, I did.  If I could, I purposely avoided hiring women of childbearing age, because I knew they would want maternity leave, and to stay home with sick kids. I avoided hiring older employees who to me seemed pessimistic, cynical and cranky. I’m embarrassed to say this and I eventually matured and learned that good employees were more about how smart they were, and if they were a team player, than anything else, and I hired lots of exceptional mothers and older people.

And now that I’m older, I must admit, that although I’m very open about my age with my clients, I don’t divulge too much until I have established a pretty secure relationship. Since I engage many of my contracts via email and phone, this leaves the question of age pretty open. In my resume I don’t list the date of my college degree and I don’t go back more than 25 years in my work history. If they ask, I’ll tell, but I don’t if they don’t.

Does this make a difference with the current generation of employers’? I don’t know, and I doubt that anyone would readily admit that they would discriminate against anyone for any reason. But I do know that some people make snap decisions everyday based upon where someone lives, what they drive, how they dress. And I think that in my mom’s generation, it probably was unwise to admit you had children or your age, especially if you were seeking employment. Since my mom didn’t graduate from high school until she was over 40-years old and had four kids, I suspect that the issue of age and children was particularly hard for her.

There are so many working mom’s now, and predictions are that many people will continue to work well into their 70’s, both of which are probably as  much a function of necessity as opportunity. So perhaps mom was right about this one of one hundred things, for her and her generation, and even for my generation, but I’m not so sure it is going forward. What do you think?


  1. Great picture of your Mom and Jesse...

  2. Yep - the bro has always been a pretty good looking guy.

  3. of course they can't ask your age but believe me if you are over 40 they are thinking of how much the group insurance is going up should you have the big one or the big C. Yep the job goes to the younger guy/gal. Linda Sue
    P.S. I had forgot how nice looking your brother was--great pic with your mom.