Age discrimination in the techie world

<p>This story is for you, turbo. </p>

<p>When DS was looking almost a year ago, he had a whirlwind courtship with a big consumer electronics company. They knew he had another job lined up, but they flew him out next day for a bottom-top interview, except for the final decision maker. He gave them a deadline of 5 days since he was scheduled to report to work at a new job in 3 days. </p>

<p>He pretty much decided after the interviews that he didn't want to move from Seattle. But the only question was what was the salary offer? They didn't reply until the 10th day. Very good offer. ...</p>

<p>"Too many old guys in the HCI group. 40-50 yo's." :)</p>

<p>Maybe he interviewed with us :) :)</p>



<p>Maybe you need one of the relatively new grad hires to be part of the interview process.</p>

<p>One place that my son interviewed at had a gaming room. Ping Pong, Foosball and a cooler. With beer in it. I don't know how that would work out but it might be useful in attracting new grads.</p>

<p>Another place that I did some work at had a very nice party for a week in an exotic location. There were lots of interns there and there was a huge game room. They had one of those guitar hero setups, a ping-pong table, a poker table, and a few other game and game machine setups. Alcohol wasn't too hard to get (it was held in a country with a lower drinking age compared to the US) and there was lots of food and drink. I'm sure that the getaway left an impression on the interns.</p>

<p>"We're an engineering company. The last thing we need is engineers making the important decisions."</p>

<p>I agree that fit is everything. I've worked where fit was great ... and where it was terrible. (See above quote from one of the latter examples.) At one of these companies the VP of Engineering was named Ron. We called him 'Non' ... short for "Never make a decision rON." Turnover was too high to maintain continuity, and the place folded. I worked at another place the pace where was measured and turnover was essentially zero ... as was the opportunity for promotion.</p>

<p>All I'm saying is that the working world is an imperfect place. There are times when an imperfect screening process prevents an excellent techie from getting the chance to show s/he belongs. Does "works well with a team" mean "thrives in a team environment?" Or does it mean "willing to take on any assigned role without complaint."</p>

<p>I hear all these stories of ageism and age-discrimination but. (..and this could all be true), my own experience so far has been otherwise (touch wood). I am in my 50s and I have changed jobs a lot since end of 2008 (3 jobs since 2008; all of them I left myself because something did not work out, the commute, the job itself, etc). I am a programmer, always have been. I was a lead programmer before, I am not now. Unix, c++, Java, perl, python, sql, high performance database, complex event processing and a lot of stuff like that. Mostly c++ but the perl/python also there. Work for a really small firm now. They've laid off people at the slight whiff of incompetence - what I mean is, if you are even slightly incompetent, they'll throw you out. Their tolerance level is very low. Some of the laid-off were young - 30, some older. Clearly not age related.</p>

<p>That said, this profession is not easy and one has got to keep up, no matter how much you are inclined not to. I can't vouch for the fact that there isn't age discrimination. There must be. There is a lot of stress but in my case it is because I work for a small firm. On the other hand, it is gratifying working for a small firm because I know it matters to the firm's bottom line, what I do. </p>

<p>The way I keep up is MIT open courseware, Stanford open courseware etc. Taking courses at other places.</p>

<p>Well here's the age discrimination acid test question: With your existing knowledge, experience, and work ethic ... would it be easier to get a job if you were 35 instead of 55?</p>

<p>What's truly maddening for the capable older techies is that many get screened out despite the reality that every tech job is a short-term gig. (A lucky few can string together a number of short-term gigs into a career with a single company.)</p>

<p>PS, I'm perfectly comfortable with a "Pay a lot, expect a lot" mentality. And IMHO a "quick trigger" serves both the employer and the employee well ... provided of course that trigger activation is based on performance rather than age.</p>

Well here's the age discrimination acid test question: With your existing knowledge, experience, and work ethic ... would it be easier to get a job if you were 35 instead of 55?


<p>Very good question. I don't know. That's why I qualified my post by saying I don't know, really. The quick trigger at least at my company is definitely not age related. But I can't tell at other companies.</p>

<p>I'm also hoping that the short-term gig works out for me until I retire - in say 5 more years. :)</p>

<p>I agree, every job is a short term gig. I haven't worked anywhere for more than 7 years and lately, it's been 2 years on average.</p>

<p>H has worked at his federal job now for 40+ years. He & many of his colleagues are likely retiring in the near future and will likely leave a big gap in knowledge, since there is no one to mentor and most of them are currently doing the work of 4+ people. H is an accountant by background but has worked alongside and supervised engineers most of his career. H has been recruited several times but not tempted to leave his federal job which he mostly likes but has to learn a ton on his own time.</p>

<p>S when he was interviewing was seen as a top applicant for many jobs because he had 2summers of internships & worked during the school year for both JR & SR years. Do not believe his job involves any programming, as his field is EE & tho he enjoys & finds programming easy, he wasn't interested in that as a focus of his work. He received 3 very good job offers in his field by Feb 2010, even tho he wasn't top of his class, nor did he attend an ivy.</p>

actually, ds didn't like their expatiate manager.
I had hopes that the older people have DDs.</p>