Tuesday, November 27, 2012

That's funny, I don't feel tardy

Nerds are getting a lot of mixed messages these days about showing our age. We're encouraged to use cultural references from the '70s and '80s, but we're expected to cover gray hair and hide wrinkles to get jobs.

I have this shirt.

I have this movie.
"Silicon Valley's dirty secret: Age bias" in the San Jose Mercury News gives examples of people not getting jobs because they looked out of touch with fashion. I'm not sure it even matters. People just don't want me in high tech even though most of my friends are in their 20s, my wardrobe comes from ThinkGeek, I sold my watches years ago, and I am like a factory outlet of Apple products. It doesn't even matter that my latest college degree is only 4 years old. Managers want what they want and are not willing to look at a resumé any longer than what they expect.

Today I'm just getting back to my usual freedom after a couple of tough weeks outside my comfort zone. I took advantage of being unemployed to take my mother to the good hospital 160 miles away to have a radical hysterectomy on my 45th birthday. In the 6 days at the hospital interacting with the various nurses I was called her sister 4 times, her twin once, and her actual self twice when she left the room and I was in there by myself. Nobody ever guessed I was her daughter. That 25 year age difference has been erased from her face with prescription RetinA, $150/50ml serums applied 5 times daily, and packing tape on her forehead. She spends more time on personal maintenance than I do on home maintenance, which is a lot. If that's what it takes to look like 45 at 69 I can forget it.

My multiple chemical sensitivities made me puffy and wrinkled and overall very bad looking. My borderline autistic reaction to alarm sounds made me very jumpy and crabby the whole time. My acoustics professor called me on my birthday and reassured me that I'm just a trained critical listener, not autistic, but it was overwhelming and irritating to be in a hospital where everything beeps and nobody listens. I found the "silence" button on every piece of equipment in the room very quickly.

Also my mother's extreme stamina despite Stage III cancer has thrown me into a bout of un-funded hypochondria. I can't keep up with her. I must be at death's door, or next door to it.

I definitely do not have the energy to pretend to be young enough to get a job in high tech or the money to achieve the necessary face for it. There has to be an internet solution for us old people. Do I have to start a company called Telecommuting Dinosaurs? The logo designs itself.

1 comment:

  1. It reflects pretty poorly on the tech industry that employees are seen as such a disposable and easily replaced (poorly or not) asset. I noticed this early on when I worked IT that anyone over 35 who's tends to be either in management, totally burned out, taken advantage of, and bitter about their career path, quietly doing next to nothing and hoping no one notices they're still there, or they're replaced with people 10 years their junior or outsources for a fraction of their salary.

    It's an industry that's seen vast improvement in the quality and volume of it's products and output, but which holds little value for long-term experience in actual design, maintenance, and implementation roles. It's viewed as the norm of the career path that you'll "level up" to a management position at some point like getting into the job to do the job well and not to oversee others doing the job is some alien idea.

    I've seldom heard of a master carpenter or mason expecting or wanting to stop doing their craft in order to manage other people doing it 3 levels below them while they push paperwork for them. At least not before they get close to retirement and can't climb scaffolding well anymore.