For American workers, 50 Is the New 65

I stole that line from Lynn Parramore, whose excellent piece about age discrimination in the workplace just came out on Alternet. According to Parramore, ageism may be more common than other forms of bias, like ethnic discrimination, and job insecurity is the number-one source of financial stress for Americans over age 50. 


I’m quoted at length, and it was handy to be able to dip into my book-in-progress and speedily debunk a bunch of stereotypes about older workers, though I lost my cool by the time we got to “What about older people not using technology?” and blurted “Show me the evidence that they don’t!” After all, a mountain of data attests to the value of experienced workers, including their ability to master new skills. Take it from Peter Cappelli, a Wharton professor and co-author of Managing the Older Worker. “Every aspect of job performance gets better as we age,” he declares. “I thought the picture might be more mixed, but it isn’t. The juxtaposition between the superior performance of older workers and the discrimination against them in the workplace just really makes no sense.” 


Speaking of aggravating, the article in AARP: The Magazine describing his findings was titled “The Surprising Truth About Older Workers.”  Why surprising, and why to AARP, of all organizations?

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