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The Forum > Article Comments > ‘The land of faery … where nobody gets old’ > Comments

‘The land of faery … where nobody gets old’ : Comments

By Kath Brewster, published 30/9/2008

We need to challenge the way older people are defined, treated and considered (or not) by our society.

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I am a 72 year old male consultant who says 'hear hear'to this article. I wish to add to it by talking about my own experience.
The follow up question is: why do people discriminate against older people? It is not cultural - I am accepted easily by non-anglo cultures. It is not my advice or naterial - this is stolen outrageously by less qualified competitors and presented as their own. It does however appear to be sexist - I am invariably rejected by female 'executives' aged 25-35 when I tender for new work, on the blatantly spurious grounds that someone else (a female consultant) was a 'better fit.'These are weasel words which probably translate as discrimination on the grounds of both age and sex, but this, of course, remains unspoken.
I am left wondering what an older male represents to these younger women, and ask what kind of unfinished business exists with the older males in their life, such as fathers and ex husbands.
With the higher levels of females gaining tertiary qualifications, and therefore and management and consulting jobs, this problem will get worse before it gets better.
Posted by analyst, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 10:31:49 AM
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Hi Analyst. I hear what you are saying about the bias in female managers. Any critisism in this area is *very* dangerous as it will be taken as sexism, so people tend to tread lightly around the female managers you mention.
It is not just older males that are passed over, it is males that do not display the required "soft skills". As you are over 30 and probably have a professional opinion, you don't have them.
When dealing with powerful women you must network *their* way. There is little to no respect for any other approach. In IT this means more meetings, more shared responsibility, more communication for communications's sake and more dressing up. This is confusing for many skilled workers because what management classes as "professional", we class as "wank". It pays to brush up on your basic primate politics: power, grooming, body language. the modern office is not friendly to blokey technical types anymore!
Back to article. Good points made. I've met some 20 year olds with the mental approach of a 60 year old, and I've met some 60 year olds who are more active, caring, growing than the 20 somethings. Some never retire, some chase it from the day they leave school.
It comes down to wealth distribution. More wealth = more choice.
Posted by Ozandy, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 12:18:06 PM
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I think the vast amount of volunteer/community work done by older people is often under-rated. In my parish experience, the number of stay at home spouses has plummeted with the change in our economic structures. So too has the ability of many others to do after hours or weekend work in their parish or community organisation. It often seems to me that the social fabric of our country outside of the shops is run and held together by "the old people." Andrew Prior -
Posted by Andrew Prior, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 3:21:10 PM
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Kath, you "want" an awful lot of things which are outside your control. Life doesn't work that way - all we can control (if we work at it) are our own reactions; our own volition is far more important to our well-being than the actions/reactions of others. I didn't want to be seriously ill for eight years; I didn't want to have my career ended because corrupt "superiors" felt threatened by my honesty, integrity, intellect and analytical rigour. But that's outside my control; my part is whether I react with loathing and anger to these external events - increasing my suffering - or with wisdom, acceptance, non-attachment - non-suffering. Development of one's own wisdom is far more important than the factors which concern you.

And, of course, by definition, age is "a chronological phenomenon." The fact that people age differently and have different attitudes doesn't change that. Redefining established meanings to meet your own perception/agenda is not helpful, others may seek to redefine words differently.

Am I old? Well, I'm over 65, I'm probably one of the people you want to help, but, thank you, I'll manage. I seem generally regarded as much younger, a "child at heart" in some ways. I love children, they are more natural, less moulded and conditioned than most adults, and hopefully I've escaped some of that conditioning. Meanwhile, my 96-year-old neighbour has been making a cement path today. Is he old? Does he seek help? No, like me, he volunteers and grows old disgracefully.
Posted by Faustino, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 6:25:52 PM
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On the 1st of October 2008, the International Day of Older Persons came and went but still it was a case of the 'same old, same old' for Australia's older people: speaking occasions for pollies and damn little else.

A visitor to the nation's nursing homes would no doubt be able to uncover cases of bed sores and patients starving through lack of food, as has been found in audits over the years by the government's own auditor, the Australian National audit Office.

There are reports in the media about the pitiful inadequacy of pensions. One side stalls while the other tries to make political capital, but no money is forthcoming. It has always been thus, or at least it has been that way for thirty plus years.

A new large rump of 'retirees', mainly men who twenty years ago were regarded as middle-aged are on the redundancy scrap heap while twenty year old HR managers make up frivolous excuses why they cannot be re-employed. They are exhorted to do voluntary busywork (because they are not worth a wage?!) or told to sell their homes to put bread on the table and pay for the endless range of government services that are now 'user pays'.

Meanwhile intergenerational jealousy blooms as a result of pragmatic politics and sledging of 'old' people by both sides of politics.

Fact is, if older people continue to do the same old thing and not assert themselves through being swinging voters or electing independents, they will always get the 'same old, same old' from government - which is absolutely nothing of course.

Some things will never change unless you do something different: be assertive, scream loudly and embarrass bureaucrat and politician alike. That is all they understand these days, because there is not a statesman or stateswoman among them. Sad, isn't it?
Posted by Cornflower, Saturday, 4 October 2008 3:02:27 PM
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