Aging in the Workplace

39 days to 50.

I was pulled aside twice this morning by people I work with to hear their sad sad stories about aging in the workplace. I have always had people come to me with their sad sad stories, this is one of the reasons I ended up taking teacher training for Kundalini Yoga. Now that I am certified to teach yoga I find more and more people coming to me. Searching my eyes for some kind of a sign, an answer, acknowledgement. The company I work for isn’t very corporate, but the people at the top are trying to become more corporate. The company has grown dramatically since I’ve been there and they’re trying to figure out how to manage their growth.

There is a lot of talk going around the company about our “aging workforce”. Our COO is wondering what we can do to get the young hip kids to come work for us. This literally has everyone running scared. “What about me, I’ve been here 18 years”? “I can’t believe this, I have a kid in college”. This has brought up a lot of fear in me as well. No matter how much I FEEL like a young hip kid, 49 is not young. What would I do if they started letting people go who were of a certain age? What would I do if they let ME go? I’ve spent a good portion of my day ruminating over this. I do realize, of course, that I had these same fears at 25 and 30 and 40. But now it seems different. I am not in a position to retire. I honestly don’t know how I will ever be in a strong enough financial position to retire. In addition to forgetting to have children I also forgot to marry a provider who would take care of me forever. I am solely responsible for my future and now it seems threatened.

A few months ago my landlord and friend suggested I start to look for a new apartment. I’m paying less than market value and she feels she needs to get someone in my unit to pay top rate. I talked about this with a coworker and he rather violently told me I need to buy a place. I quote-

How can you be your age and have to deal with being kicked out of your apartment?”

He doesn’t realize that buying a house on your own in LA is nearly impossible. I sulked about this for a few days until another friend said that they wouldn’t trade the peace and tranquility they found by working on themselves for any amount of financial security.

In my parent’s generation companies took care of their employees. There were retirement plans. Social Security meant something. My generation is going to be wholly unprepared for what happens when a company decides that their workforce is aging and starts making changes.

The two people I spoke with this morning are Shaken. Scared. Fearful. I will be Brave. Prepared. Fine.

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