Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Am I Too Old To Get Hired?

As my job search enters the middle part of what seems to be another fruitless week, I find myself grasping at straws to try and explain away the sobering and frightening reality that may be to come. The one where I run out of unemployment insurance checks and still haven't found a job and need to seriously consider giving up my apartment of 20 years and moving back to Buffalo with my dog and my clothes to live with my now elderly parents.

I am also starting to wonder what exactly I am doing or not doing or what energy I am not creating or blocking that is preventing me from not only landing a job, but even getting interview calls. Which is not to say there haven't been any, just that they have been few and far between. 

I certainly feel like my age has something to do with it. While nobody has outright mentioned that as a factor, and indeed it would be illegal to do so, I did have one interviewer express surprise upon meeting me, expecting someone "out of college". I never bothered to ask how he inferred that from my resume, but it made me self-conscious for the rest of the interview.

On the one hand, I'm 47 years old, and I know I have at least 20 years if not more before I would be retirement age. Somewhere between 70 and 80 is more realistic, assuming I live that long. But to be honest and equally realistic, many people that work in bars and restaurants are younger, if not much younger than I am these days. I have interviewed with people obviously 20 years younger than I am. My last boss was 20 years younger. In that case, his complete lack of competence in running a business ultimately led me to my current unemployment. But that may have been because he is an idiot, not because he's young.

On the other, 47 is not particularly old to be in restuarant management. Unfortunately, that's only true of the "higher end" restaurants. Where age and experience count for something. Like it or not, I have most of my experience in high volume, turn and burn, slap the burger and the check on the table and move 'em up and out type venues. I work at music and live entertainment clubs with high tech computers and plasma screens and loud music and so my experience isn't "real". I supposedly can't do fine dining. Like I eat at home with my feet and don't know the first thing about what a nice meal or good service entails. But that's the perception I work against these days. And most of the people in my field are much younger. They stay up late and still do drungs and drink until dawn. I don't really fit in that world anymore either.

What's a not as young as he used to be recovering alcoholic supposed to do to earn a living in this town?

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