Sunday, 29 March 2009

Old is gold

A 47-year-old man wrote in to the newspapers today lamenting about how older workers are being rejected by companies in Singapore. After working in Shanghai for 18 years, he returned to Singapore to find himself being treated shabbily and facing nothing but rejection during 6 months of job hunting. It's disappointing for someone who had been away for so long to return to see our society in such a state.

"It is sad that some employers consider being 40 to be over the hill", he said. Given a chance, he would like to open an affordable, no-frills restaurant and employ retirees who want to work again.

I completely understand his plight and wish I had a bigger business so I could employ more people like him. When I was in my 20s, I was in charge of hiring and must have scanned through thousands of resumes of designers, art directors, programmers, sales and marketing executives and clerks in one decade.

To be honest, I plead guilty to shunning the older candidates during those years. Maybe it had something to do with my youth or simply because we were in the creative field, I always picked the younger candidates. In our advertisements, our keywords were "Young, energetic, dynamic and independent".

I made the mistake of employing a fresh graduate simply because he impressed me with his perfect results. The straight As student promptly disappointed me with his poor work attitude and cockiness. He left the company within days citing unstimulating environment and boredom.

Now that I'm older, I see the value in matured workers. They're mostly sensible, down to earth and responsible. Of course there are exceptions but I am speaking from experience. I used to be impulsive and hot-headed but I've mellowed as I age. Another good role model is my staff who's in her mid-40s. She the no-nonsense type who always has the company's interest at heart and even shows concern for me and my kids.

For our new venture, I have been emphasising to my partner that if we need someone to work in the farm, we should employ a retired gardener/farmer because I know he will bring with him, years of experience and wisdom to the company. I truly believe 'old is gold'.

6 comments:

Nick Phillips said...

I guess people over 40 (like me) are considered over the hill. But I have to agree with you that sometimes older people tend to be more responsible ...

auntielucia said...

There are older people and older people. Personally, I think it isn't the age that matters but the person. If he has worked 18 years in SHG, surely he must have something to bring to the table? Is he looking for work compatible with his skill set and experience or is he trying to look for something out of his league? Instead of trying to open a restaurant, he should consider something much smaller first, like a food stall?

Blur Ting said...

Nick - No lah, you're not over the hill lah.

Blur Ting said...

Auntie Lucia - Apparently he even told employers that he is willing to work for much lower pay despite his experience but still no success. He also wrote about the poor ethics of a potential employer. Well, there are good and bad employers too.

The Real Mother Hen said...

Timing is bad, as it's hard to get a job given the current situation. If it is in good time, he will probably find something quite fast.

auntielucia said...

Yes Blur, I did read abt how he went for an interview but was told someone with an apptment was scheduled first. Then they said they wld SMS and call him when they are done. He went wondering around Isetan and Tangs for 90 minutes and no call, so he went off, pissed off. Well, I think his strategy not very good. Should have either hung around (after all, how long can one interviewee last?) or come back again in 10, 20 minutes to check? Perhaps employer HR had really overlooked to call or waited for him to come back. To show his keeness? Sori, ah, I'm not very sympathetic, becos I don't think one shld be given a job simply becos one is old, has a mortgage, has a family to feed etc. One shld get a job only if he/she can value add. The rest is charity.