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Ageism in Medicine while looking for a job...Anyone else?


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I have a very simple question.  Has anyone experienced ageism while looking for a job?

 

Let me be very clear....I HATE HATE HATE excuses for why something doesn't work out in life for someone.  Although I believe that racism, sexism and even sexual orientation can affect a job interview, I have never experienced it.  As a 50 something white male I have never really thought about or worried about any form of discrimination while applying for jobs.  Then....I turned 50.  I have had several interviews for jobs recently and I have had multiple people allude to my age as "a concern".  It has really left me stunned to be honest.  Forgetting about my lot in professional life right now, it makes me feel terrible for others who have spent a lifetime being discriminated against because of their race, sex, or sexual orientation.  I have found this to be a real eye opener.  As most here know, I am a center/center left Independent voter, but I have never experienced any discrimination.  I would just say....it sucks.  Really and really sucks.  

Anyway, has anyone else experience a real or perceived discrimination for a job opportunity because of your age?  I would love to know.

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Personally? Never.  But then, I came from IT.  I honestly think that my graying temples when I entered practice in my early 40s kept me from being ever asked when the real doctor was showing up.  Patients seem to like me just as much or more as I age.  But yeah, young fresh PAs with lots of student debt will put up with nonsense that I will not.  For places with small-minded admins who want to keep turnover lower by fear and coercion, that might be a plus.

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5 minutes ago, rev ronin said:

Personally? Never.  But then, I came from IT.  I honestly think that my graying temples when I entered practice in my early 40s kept me from being ever asked when the real doctor was showing up.  Patients seem to like me just as much or more as I age.  But yeah, young fresh PAs with lots of student debt will put up with nonsense that I will not.  For places with small-minded admins who want to keep turnover lower by fear and coercion, that might be a plus.

Patients love me Rev.  I consistently had the highest  reviews of any provider in my organization.   I have a squeakily clean CV, great reviews and a solid work history.  However, 5 out of 5 of my last interviews have been with people in their 30's.  I have walked away from each one with a VERY STRONG vibe that my age concerned them.  Again, I am in my early 50's?  Dunno, it is just really depressing.

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When I interviewed for my 1st job after PA school @ age 55 the ED medical director asked me if I was really willing to work nights and weekends with an implication of "at my age".  I told him that it beat doing a 48 every weekend like did at the FD while doing my pre-reqs.  Interestingly enough, he's 2 years older than me.  But being the director he did no nights.

But, as Rev described, grey hair & white coat tends to give you creditability, whether you deserve it or not.

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During a few of my residency interviews, I was asked how I thought residents would relate to me or how I'd get along with them and the faculty due to my age.  It was kind of annoying to be honest....and felt a little like age discrimination.  

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4 minutes ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

When I interviewed for my 1st job after PA school @ age 55 the ED medical director asked me if I was really willing to work nights and weekends with an implication of "at my age".  I told him that it beat doing a 48 every weekend like did at the FD while doing my pre-reqs.  Interestingly enough, he's 2 years older than me.  But being the director he did no nights.

But, as Rev described, grey hair & white coat tends to give you creditability, whether you deserve it or not.

I got that same question as well.  I laughed and told them I worked exclusively nights, 55+ hours a week in my PA days because it paid better, less providers so I got my pick of more interesting cases, and lastly, no nosey admin folks around telling me I couldn't have a drink at my work station.  That made them laugh. 

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2 hours ago, Cideous said:

I have a very simple question.  Has anyone experienced ageism while looking for a job?

 

Let me be very clear....I HATE HATE HATE excuses for why something doesn't work out in life for someone.  Although I believe that racism, sexism and even sexual orientation can affect a job interview, I have never experienced it.  As a 50 something white male I have never really thought about or worried about any form of discrimination while applying for jobs.  Then....I turned 50.  I have had several interviews for jobs recently and I have had multiple people allude to my age as "a concern".  It has really left me stunned to be honest.  Forgetting about my lot in professional life right now, it makes me feel terrible for others who have spent a lifetime being discriminated against because of their race, sex, or sexual orientation.  I have found this to be a real eye opener.  As most here know, I am a center/center left Independent voter, but I have never experienced any discrimination.  I would just say....it sucks.  Really and really sucks.  

Anyway, has anyone else experience a real or perceived discrimination for a job opportunity because of your age?  I would love to know.

Honestly man you're in a protected class now. If you feel that age discrimination has played a part in the decision to hire you may have a case.

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1 hour ago, MediMike said:

Honestly man you're in a protected class now. If you feel that age discrimination has played a part in the decision to hire you may have a case.

Yeah, right.  If you're a white male, good luck getting EEOC to look at it, no matter how old you may be.  The thing about being a protected class is that, well, many folks in protected classes actually need the protection.

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2 hours ago, MediMike said:

Honestly man you're in a protected class now. If you feel that age discrimination has played a part in the decision to hire you may have a case.

Thanks, but I'm not looking for a case, just a job.  I know how hard it is to prove age discrimination.  I know they are key words or phrases that get people in trouble and they didn't use them.  Like, "wow you are old..." LOL.  I have just left these interviews with an overwhelming sense of "age concern".  If anything, I am the guy you want.  My kids are grown, I've missed one day of work in 10 years etc etc etc.  Ah well, I guess it just is what it is...

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I get the sense in my world it is not the age, it is that we demand a higher salary and approach/surpass some doc's in knowledge/skills.   Have had a few encounters that I did not appreciate in the past 3 years where doc's want to treat me more like a 25yr newbie then a 20 yr PA with my own brain and the evidence to back it up.  I am all about team decisions, but not being told what to do....  This I think is threatening to some docs.  Then you add in that I feel like 150k is about the salary point and they seem to not appreciate the fact I am fully independent in day to day practice.  Course they don't mind that I generate 3+ times my salary.....   The bean counters do not appreciate a higher cost, even if it is a higher revenue (cause they only minimize costs)

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Ageism is very real and existent in the job market. It's all about power and control from the hiring powers. Younger folks tend to put up with more crap. I left my previous job after 10 years due to burn out, over use and politics. I traveled for 9 months after which I returned to the job market Jan 2020.

The NP/PA that interviewed me were mostly younger/ early career.  I know that they saw me as  "too experienced".  I also learnt that companies use that word "diversity" but it doesn't actually exist. Folks tend to gravitate to folks that are similar to them. i.e a 30 year old boss would rather hire a 25-35 year old as opposed to mid 40-50's.

Based on my resume I went on lots of interviews but no offers. That was when I knew the only thing at play was ageism. I see a lot of older nurses and don't know if it same in their turf. 

It was interesting to find out that employment gaps are frowned at. Which I believe is absurd. Is one not allowed to take a sabbatical? Does one have to work all the time. I took a break to travel for 9 months was an issue. How do women who take time out from work to raise their kids return back to the work force? Or folks that are out for medical issues return to the work force? 

It's a real thing and it sucks. It made me question myself. Finally landed a night gig - nobody wants to work nights. Try the VA- I think they appreciate seasoned folks. Pay will likely be on the lower end. 

Unfortunately the PA world is now who you know and not what you know. I became a PA because it was a opportunity was merit based. Now jobs are scarce and connections are how you get positions. 

Best of luck and keep your chin up. 

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2 hours ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

Don't give me too much credit.  I'm a PA because I got totally burnt out doing corporate IT.

You don't have to be totally burned out to leave corporate IT for the PA world.  I tell people that looking at 40, I took stock: I love my wife, liked my car, so the career had to change for my midlife crisis on my own terms. 🙂

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40 minutes ago, GetMeOuttaThisMess said:

My local Taco Casa has a "Job Openings" sign posted.  I wonder if they'd turn me away at 61?  Krogers' seem to love the older folks.  Alas, they'd probably tell me that I'm not qualified there either because I'm only a B.S., and not an M.S.

Gawd I love Taco Casa sauce....lol

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