Mon 11 Apr, 2022 08:40 am
I am depending upon the sagacity of Able2Know's upper echelon in order to acquire a definitive answer to this matter. My essay follows:
The Mother of All Cover Letters for Older Job Applicants
Etymologies provide us with a foundation which anchors the continuum of transitional word meanings, but this record does not necessarily lend to us an understanding as to ‘why’ or ‘how’ those verbal modifications came to be. For example, ’qualify’ derives from the Latin qualis (of what sort?); however, its Medieval form, qualificare (attribute a quality to) seems to be more in line with what we would expect with modern English. Indeed, a current sense: ‘to be fit for a job’, built upon (even transcending) the Medieval, emanates from the late 16th Century.
When I was born in 1950, ‘qualified applicant’ referred to an applicant who knew how to do the required work. Today, many decades later, its meaning has been customized to include (presumptively) a chronological restriction, in that an applicant dares not have achieved the age of 40 if (s)he wishes to be considered for employment. Though not openly touted (perhaps because of legal mandate) this subliminally enforced restriction has nothing to do with ability, civility, or applicability in terms of being either appropriate or relevant. Instead, simply being over 40 now categorizes the job applicant as being de facto ‘unqualified’.
This implicit age restriction is usually implemented in order to placate a chronologically homogeneous staff, so as to promote, at all cost, a circumscribed environmental interface of youthfulness. Though not wanting to be perceived as prejudicial, today’s recruiting mindset self-exonerates, through deflection, by embracing both sexes, all races, diverse body types (including the disabled). Yet, does this satisfy all attempts at achieving fairness? Or is there a lingering bias that is handily kept under wraps? While laudatory with much ostensible inclusiveness, ageism nevertheless fails to retreat from tacit opprobrium, and remains the obdurate outcast, albeit sufficiently sequestered so as not to challenge, thus disquieting (and discrediting), an otherwise progressive mindset.
One of the more compelling aspects of this restriction is the absence thereof within the professions. For example, who would prefer a younger lawyer, doctor, or professor rather than a more experienced, mature one? Few. For this aspect, there is no sense of intrinsic inferiority which attaches to the mature age and, indeed, there is often an uplifting sense of ‘seasoned superiority’ which transforms any deemed negative into a net positive. Why, then, is this unyielding need to keep older workers out of the workplace so steadfastly retained by companies purportedly striving towards inclusiveness and transparency?
From years of objective observation, this oxymoron seems to have emanated more from politics than from reason. Today, youth are treated much differently than they were when I was being brought up. Currently, young people are at the very center of societal importance, while wisdom, that hard-won accretion of knowledge, understanding, and tool for resolution, is considered but a clumsy albatross standing in the way of an adulated, self-serving springtide culture which stops at nothing in its quest for prime-time recognition. In a way, we are often lost and confused within a clueless sea of misdirection through workplace homogeneity and, too often, fail to acknowledge that seasoned thinking can sometimes trump even new blood. Deep down, we know this, but are uncomfortable with admitting this reality as being genuine and substantive because of the predictable repercussions and handy ability to allow this prejudice to fester without penalty. Here, there are no traffic cops.
Nature has provided for us the synergized advantage of both new and old mindsets, by imposing death and creating new life. While also giving to the mature mind a greater capacity to foretell conflict and implement resolved outcomes, it has also guaranteed, through youth, new ways of exploring established wisdom so that structural weaknesses can readily be addressed. Thus, nature has maintained that mental maturity must co-exist not only with fresh thinking, but with certain bold risks that may, or may not, add up to a net gain. We all benefit from this generous largess of perspective and intellect because, even if failure results, that deficiency adds to our collective arsenal of dimensionality which broadens not only our objective knowledge, but also the very ethos which provides an underpinning for creativity. Nature has not failed us; the workplace has. – David Lyga