Just retrain, management says

Sound familiar? You lose your job and The Man, from his paneled office, says, don’t worry. There are plenty of jobs out there. Just retrain.

In my case, as in many, management was missing the point. I didn’t want to retrain. I had thirty years invested in printing and publishing and that’s where I wanted to stay. It hadn’t made me rich enough to move elsewhere for retraining and a new job. Besides, it was what I knew and loved.

As it turned out, all of that was moot anyway. I was forced to accept that nobody wanted to hire a 55-year-old, or a 56-year-old, or a 57-year old. Not that I didn’t already know it. I had been in on my employer’s side of the discussion when a highly qualified 57-year-old was applying for a position. The bottom line was his age; my organization didn’t want someone who “just wanted a place to park until his retirement.”

Nor, apparently, had my boss wanted to retain anyone in that age group. Experience didn’t matter. I was the only one in the organization who knew anything about publishing, but hey, by the time I got booted, the secretaries were cranking out stuff with Word, and it looked great (different fonts, columns, and everything!) to the uninitiated. So on a variety of pretexts (they never settled on one, and none related to my job performance), I was terminated.

Need I mention that my chair was hardly cold before they hired two or three lovely young women who happily shared what I used to make.

If you’re the worker, the one in the trenches every day, you understand what I’m talking about. If you’re management, you don’t care.

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