toxic jobs

Personal stories about toxic jobs and workplace woes.

December 01, 2012

A whispered good riddance?

Beryl is 56, divorced, works in an office and lives alone after raising three children. She believes that workplaces have always been ruled by men, for men, and always will be - despite social change – and all she and a growing number of older women needing to support themselves have to look forward to is an early boot and a whispered good riddance.

"There has always been a predominance of older men and younger women at workplaces," says Beryl, "not just because men prefer working with younger women but also because it was once traditional for women to get married, raise families and never to return to work again -- unless in dire circumstances."

“The only older women who worked in the old days were superwomen or spinsters!”

"Most older women workers these days," says Beryl, "are pretty ordinary women like me who've put family before career when we were younger and made do with poorly paid casual or part-time work for most of our younger lives – and many of us are divorced, too.”

“Workplaces just haven’t kept up with social changes,” sighs Beryl. “The guys still think they rule the roost and want young women around them at work, not old women like me.”

“Now that my family responsibilities are easing, I want a better job but nobody wants to promote me,” says Beryl, “and I’m fed up with my manager hiring women young enough to be my daughter, or even my granddaughter, for the promotions I applied for."

“Compared with our daughters and granddaughters, I accept that older women are going to look a bit worn,” says Beryl, “but this is a workplace, not a pick-up bar, and my manager should be considering what a woman can do not what she looks like.”

"When women retire from work these days," sighs Beryl, "they have usually been pushed out far too soon and their last years at work are filled with misery. There are no presentations or rewards for a job well done - just a whispered 'good riddance' from the younger workers and their old male bosses."

"I know that when I leave work I won't be taking any happy memories with me," sighs Beryl. "It’s a horrible way to end one's working life.”

Read more by Beryl on this issue:

  • traditional workplaces
  • A glut of older women workers?

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