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Programming

"Logan's Run" Syndrome In Programming 599

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stay-off-my-lawn dept.
Ian Lamont writes "InfoWorld has an interesting analysis of the reasons behind the relative dearth of programmers over the age of 40. While some people may assume that the recession has provided a handy cover for age discrimination, a closer look suggests that it's the nature of IT itself to push its elderly workers out, in what the article describes as a 'Logan's Run'-like marketplace. A bunch of factors are listed as reasons, including management's misunderstanding of the ways in which developers work: 'Any developer can tell you that not all C or PHP or Java programmers are created equal; some are vastly more productive or creative. However, unless or until there is a way to explicitly demonstrate the productivity differential between a good programmer and a mediocre one, inexperienced or nontechnical hiring managers tend to look at resumes with an eye for youth, under the "more bang for the buck" theory. Cheaper young 'uns will work longer hours and produce more code. The very concept of viewing experience as an asset for raising productivity is a non-factor — much to the detriment of the developer workplace.'"
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"Logan's Run" Syndrome In Programming

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  • Yes and No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Concern (819622) * on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:14PM (#31171694) Journal

    I have no idea if I'm an outlier, but with a blind preference for intellectual depth, rigor, and creativity, I tend to see what I figured was normal: more experienced candidates often come out ahead. Not always, but often. More experience unsurpisingly equals more age. The best are often bringing decades of experience, MA or PhD level credentials, and the ineffable things that come from having been there and done that in a lot of different trenches. They often cost more (though not all that much more), and they're worth it.

    I know the corporate world at large has this patrician idea about pay related to seniority - whereas I come from the pay-for-value mindset. There is a good observation in the article about older folks making more and therefore being victims of cost cutting. I'm sure this happens as well, but in my world the observation is meaningless. A senior software engineer will get a good salary - more than enough to support an upper middle-class lifestyle (albeit not at the level of an attorney or an anesthesiologist), regardless of their age. If they ask for too much, they will be unemployed; if they tire of unemployment, they bring their compensation demands back in line with their value. I find most people have a very good grasp of the labor market, especially with the advent of widely available salary suvery data.

    I have a couple of friends in their 50's who joke about becoming obsolete. I associate this with actually getting tired of keeping up with an industry that reinvintents itself so often, and therefore, not keeping up. There's a trap there, too: a kind of local maxima where, for a while, being an expert in Cobol or IBM mainframes is not only easier than learning Java, but will pay more and more, as you become more and more rare. Until one day you look for your next job and it just... isn't there.

    Historically IT has suffered from a lack of technical depth at the top. Companies wanted wise old hands with management experience in charge, even if those wise old hands needed an assistant to print their emails every day (true story, multiple companies). As the next generation rises through the ranks, you will have more middle management, SVP, and ultimately COO, CEO, etc types that have real first-hand knowledge of technology. Eventually the corporate world will lose some of its notortious and costly blindness towards talent, and both hiring and strategy will become more objective and less bullshit-driven.

  • Re:Yes and No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:16PM (#31171734) Homepage Journal

    Experience is key. The issue is that new applicants coming out school have more experience with .NET, Java and they key technologies that many industries are looking for today. The fact that you have 30 years of COBOL experience doesn't help you if you don't learn new technologies.

  • ageism (Score:4, Interesting)

    by spineboy (22918) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:20PM (#31171820) Journal

    And it's present in many industries/areas. No one wants anyone over 40 for rock, screen writers are ignored if they're over 40, since "They don't know what it's like to be a kid."
    The list goes on.

    In programming, I think it's foolish. People are getting caught up on the techniques, and not the theories. Unfortunately, techniques become quickly dated, and irrelevant, while theory always will be useful

  • No really (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:25PM (#31171932)

    The problem is not about Age: is about Money. You having X years of experience you want X amount of money. Managers think that they can replace that with somebody cheaper (Why you can get somebody that have experience and can produce good code better than 3 when we can get 10 from India making 15,000 a year and no benefits)

    Sorry Boys and Girls we ALL are in the same boat.

    P.S In the defense of Indian programmers they are in the same bad position (I think even worst than ours). Having X amount of years of experience = job moved to China. So 14,000 is OK with me and you do not have any recourse.
    Please remember that is not the corporations where the problem lies. Is the rich people that benefit from the corporations (hey they have a very expensive life )

    Cheers

    Caitlin

  • by hillbluffer (1684134) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:27PM (#31171974) Homepage
    I was once "fired" because I was the "old hand" in a department that had a sudden influx of developers over ten years junior to me. Yes, I sued and won based on age discrimination. From my standpoint, managers hire younger workers because they'll work longer hours for less pay, and are less likely to have the "encumbrace" of families to keep them from working OT, or that call them away because someone's home sick, or has to be run to an appointment. Also, the boss usually prefers people his own age who'll go drinking at Bennigans every night with him.
  • Re:Yes and No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alan_dershowitz (586542) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:51PM (#31172430)

    Learning how to not leverage 30 years of COBOL experience by programming in COBOL in every other language you use is hard.

    I maintain C code written by a COBOL programmer. You can tell.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @12:52PM (#31172442) Journal

    Approaching the age of 40 at break neck speeds, I am going to find out how true it is that there are no old coders.

    But frankly, I don't think it is going to be a huge issue unless 40 turns out to be a really magical number. I have had no problems before. Granted, junior positions are no longer open to me, but then, why would I want to?

    I have found that at least in Holland there is a real shortage of good web developers, people who can not just put up a website but maintain it and worse, debug somebody elses mess. There are tons of LAMP developers it seems, and yet companies can't find them. But you got to be able to deliver, how many of the programmers who complain they can't find a job really just aren't any good?

    In fact in an interview Backbase, an small but international developer said in "De Pers" that they were so desperate for experienced developers they had put a freeze on hiring juniors because they did not have the people to train/lead them.

    Yes, some companies might prefer to hire someone young, but these tend to be the grindhouses of the industry, were they churn out project after project with no quality for a low low price. You all know them, the companies that do government IT. If you IT department still insists you run IE6, then you got one of them.

    But there are countless more companies that do try to work for their money were experience and maturity are needed to keep the enthusiasm of the younger developers in line. There has to be someone who can actually debug a third party app if the shit hits the fan and do it without constant hand holding. There is in development and certainly web-development a lot of grunt work that is really a waste to put a senior on, but I have seen what junior's today are 'capable' of. Or rather not capable. It is the parts of a project that go beyond the "teach yourself X in 24 hours" books or even school. It is the years of experience encountering all kind of problems that turn a junior into a senior.

    A smart company therefor has both kinds, the juniors for the grind work and to bring in new ideas, the seniors to keep it all running smoothly.

    And if your company ain't smart enough for that? Move on as fast as possible.

    BUT I just re-read the summary AND the article and there is a problem. The article is about IT-workers while the summary is about programmers. I have started to notice that there is a difference to the point that developers really aren't part of IT at all. I always thought we were, but others disagree.

    So, is the article about how their are no old help-desk jockey's? And could this be because there is a job for senior dev's but not for senior printer unjammers? Just what is IT? A 60+ senior developer is a respectable position, if you are 60+ and still have to install new PC's you screwed up and a kid can do your job cheaper.

    In conclusion, I am not all that worried. Any company not willing to hire a 40+ developer with over 2 decades experience on countless successful projects, I wouldn't want to work for anyway.

  • by opentunings (851734) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:08PM (#31172808)
    I spent 13 years working in development. I survived matrix management, interchangeable plastic people, managers who couldn't prioritize work, managers who couldn't understand the purpose of a Gantt chart, senseless incentive plans and other IT management disasters. At 45 (a little late, I guess) I realized that I was simply sick of the BS that comes with being a drone in IT. 13 years ago I was offered a job in 3rd-level tech support (production DBA, in the trenches every day), and took it.

    The politics is much lower on the production support side, which gets you out of most of the BS. No requirements drift, fewer communications problems, no crunch-to-meet-the-deadline, etc. So the move's been good for me.

    But I've also noticed that my tolerance for BS in every area of my life has dropped as I've aged. Like the time when a grocery clerk had some apples and a box of cereal on the weigh station while she was weighing the apples. I pointed out to her that she was weighing the cereal at the same time as the apples and the weight / price would be wrong. "No," she indicated, "the scanner will read the cereal and get the price right." After a couple of minutes a manager came over, removed the cereal and weighed the apples. I left before she explained the issue to the clerk, who was still wondering how the apples dropped by a pound.

    It's become quite a struggle, as I grow older, not to stand up and shout whenever someone makes a decision solely for political reasons, or when they don't understand the value of training employees of any age bracket, or when I work for someone who's incapable of making a decision. In my younger days it was easier simply to ignore it, but now in my late-50's it's sometimes quite an effort to ignore the BS that comes my way.

    People talk about how you should "pick your battles." Walking away from the BS, on my terms, was my way to pick my battles.

  • Re:Yes and No (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:14PM (#31172934)

    "True, but if it's for a job doing .NET programming (for example) a lot of people doing hiring will take the guy with 1 year of .NET experience and nothing else over the guy with 30 years experience in 5 different languages and no .NET. All else being equal, the latter guy will probably be more valuable."

    I used to think this. The problem is that the ecosystems around Java and .NET are so massive that if two people are of equal intelligence, the one with .NET experience and say, 5 years of Cobol is more valuable than the guy with 30 years of Cobol and 0 .NET. He's WAY more valuable in fact. Again, assuming all things are equal.

  • by mrflash818 (226638) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:23PM (#31173088) Homepage Journal

    I jumped out of being a professional programmer, once I found out that it was taking too many hours away from family time.

    When I started as a programmer, was newly married, no kids, didn't mind long hours, and giving the job priority over home time.

    Started a family, then once I realized I wasn't getting to spend time with my little ones: career change.

    No regrets, but I do miss the self-image of being a professional computer geek :)

  • by SolarStorm (991940) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:28PM (#31173186)
    The only comment this 49 year old is that I produce twice as much code as the youngens in my 40 hr work week, than they do in their 60 hrs (yes I do have a lot of domain knowledge to go along with some experience and libraries I have developed). I actually hit my timelines, give reasonably accurate estimates. But only earn 30% more. Then again, I have three department heads arguing over who gets me next... My favorite was a contract I did where the company policy was to hire 34 NEW graduates and pay them almost nothing with the monkey-bible theory. I made a TON of money when they need to call in some experience to get their software to work. I wish more companies would do this :)
  • by peter303 (12292) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:39PM (#31173376)
    I'm the same age Bill Gates and started coding the same way: teletype to nearby college from my high high school. I've noted two changes in coding ability over the decades: (1) I could keep 20-30 pending ideas (features, bugs) in my mind while coding when young. Now I use a notepad for this. (2) I haven't done an all-nighter in a while. But 10-12 hour sessions still happen.

    Other than that I can still devour a language manual and do useful coding in a day. And I have a huge repetoire of ideas which go in and out fashion over the years as hardware and software evolves. Much of design is "deja vu, all over again" to quote a baseball philosopher.
  • Re:Obivous Answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by denobug (753200) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:51PM (#31173570)
    The thoughts that everyone old folks in /. were once the young 'uns scares the crap out of me.

    Jokes aside, we were all young, inexperience programmers at some point of time in our life, unfortunately. Somebody more experienced have shown me the ropes before I got better (besides just ME thinking that I am good). Just hope I didn't cause too much pain for other "more experienced" co-worker when I was younger.

    Conclusion: Young /.er be nice to the older co-workers!
  • by oudzeeman (684485) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:52PM (#31173608)

    We just filled a senior level programmer position with someone in their 50s. This person had a great resume, and did an awesome job in their interview - blew pretty much everyone else we looked at away. I'd say he's easily 1000X better than the last young intern we had (now a grad student in CS). I'd say most of the programmers here are in their late 30s to mid 40s. A few are older (50ish). I'm a young one here, a "senior" software engineer by title at the age of 30.

    We're actually considering going after some young blood and spending the effort to mentor them because we have such a hard time recruiting older developers.

  • Re:Yes and No (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RavenChild (854835) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:52PM (#31173612)
    http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Jurassic-Programmers-.aspx [thedailywtf.com]

    Some fun reading. I just read it while going through old Daily WTF posts no more than 2 minutes ago.
  • Re:Yes and No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:53PM (#31173630) Homepage

    True, but if it's for a job doing .NET programming (for example) a lot of people doing hiring will take the guy with 1 year of .NET experience and nothing else over the guy with 30 years experience in 5 different languages and no .NET. All else being equal, the latter guy will probably be more valuable.

    If I'm hiring someone to do .NET programming, I see no a priori reason to assume that the guy without any .NET experience would be a better hire than a with .NET experience.
     
    I'm reminded of the home improvement show I saw a few weeks back. A highly experienced contractor was brought in to do a remodel, and on the surface did an excellent job. But after a few months problems began to surface that he couldn't (or wouldn't) fix. The guy brought in to fix the problems traced many of them to the original contractor using new materials but old techniques that weren't suitable to the new materials and didn't take into account current building practices.
     
    All else being equal, the original contractor with decades of experience should have been a good choice, but in reality he was an iceman - frozen in time and irrelevant to the modern era.

  • Re:Obivous Answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fahrbot-bot (874524) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @01:56PM (#31173680)

    Consequently, I've stuck to programming and kept my skills updated, but at 39, I'm looking at the reality of a career change in the mid-term future.

    I'm not sure a career change is a future reality, unless that's what you desire. I'm 47 and still highly sought by the various teams where I work. I have a broad background as an application/system programmer *and* system administrator (Unix and Windows) which allows me to develop solutions and, possibly more importantly, debug issues that others with narrower backgrounds simply cannot do. In other words, I get the hard problems - which have to be solved.

  • Re:Yes and No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rachit (163465) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:15PM (#31174010)

    I've worked at a couple startups, and the unfortunate truth is when we hire someone, we expect them to be productive by the end of the first week.

    A less experienced guy with the right skills will win out over the more experienced guys without those skills, especially if you factor in the cost and possible "ego" issues. At a startup everyone has to do the dirty work. Its sometimes more difficult to get the experienced folk to wear the build engineer hat for the day, or handle a support escalation.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:24PM (#31174182)

    (Disclaimer: I'm a systems guy, not a programmer, but a very similar truth holds for us as well when it comes to age discrimination.)

    I'm only 35, and I'm starting to see this creeping in on me also. Here's a couple of random observations I've actually (not anecdotally) experienced:

    • Companies absolutely believe the stereotype that older workers are less productive. Usually, this is because management gets promoted out of the tech ranks, where they were used to younger workers. I've heard more than one boss say something like "Oh, so-and-so's kid is sick AGAIN, what a waste of time." The deadly spiral of "willing to work longer hours, no committments, and they can be paid less" does not help.
    • A corrolary to the above...younger tech workers tend to have much less of an "out of work" life. This is why you don't see too many older people working at video game production houses...you just can't hold a marriage together on nonstop 90-hour weeks. If you're single, and have nothing but a one bedroom apartment and XBox to come home to, you're going to complain less about constant overtime and that pesky pager duty us systems guys deal with.
    • After being filtered through 2 line managers, and who-knows-how-many project managers, IT executive leadership just doesn't see the impact of less-experienced people working on projects. Messes are cleaned up at lower levels, usually by spending a buttload of money on consultants, and only show up at the senior level as "minor overages". Had the job been done right, the higher salary paid to more experienced people would far outweigh paying experts $xxx/hr to unravel some mess put together by someone who just learned Java.
    • Even worse, people at the C-level believe that all IT people are whiny nerds who can be pushed around with very little pushback. This leads to the belief that nothing they do will be questioned.

    I only see a couple solutions. A concerted effort could be made to make managerment aware of the actual cost of a project vs. the salary differential. I doubt that will work. You can also become one of those consultants, and get paid loads of money to clean up messes. However, that's not for everyone...it requires tons of hard work, business savvy and is not at all stable. Try raising a family with no health insurance and a non-guaranteed income stream, especially in a high-cost-of-living area.

    I admit that I'm pretty lucky. I've managed to land at companies that don't seem to mind paying a little extra for someone who really knows their stuff. The price of admission for jobs like that is the willingness to invest in yourself constantly. Taking classes or buying software/hardware/books for training, even on your own time, is the best way to keep current. That way, companies get the best of both worlds...someone who knows the latest tech, and knows enough not to implement something half-baked because they want their weekends free. :-) Unfortunately, that stereotype of the COBOL guy sitting in the corner has a little bit of truth to it, and it means we end up gettting painted with the same brush.

    One other choice would require a much different mindset than there is now...accept a lower salary and make up the difference by saving and investing carefully. I've been doing this anyway, because I know there will come a time where companies stop paying for IT talent and I'm going to be forced to take a huge paycut. Everyone I know, young or old, spends money like their income is never going to decrease. Live within your means so you can last through the bad times that are coming with the next wave of globalization.

  • Re:Yes and No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HappyEngineer (888000) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @02:25PM (#31174196) Homepage

    Programming is not knowing an API by heart. That's something help files are here for.

    That is profoundly untrue. It may be true that you can learn the basics of new APIs quickly, but most APIs have gotchas. Gotchas wouldn't be gotchas if they were easy to avoid. You learn them by using the API and then debugging the bugs and then remembering those gotchas the next time you use the API.

    In Java, when you call new GregorianCalendar(2010,1,1) and end up with a date in February you'll learn a gotcha. When you create a date formatter with ("mm/dd/yyyy") and for some reason keep getting random values for the month you'll learn a gotcha.

    There's also the simple fact that you often don't know what's in an API. New users of an API may often end up reinventing the wheel unnecessarily.

    Granted, the better the API, the less of a problem this is. It's too bad that most APIs are very imperfect.

  • Re:Obivous Answer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @03:44PM (#31175594)

    Microsoft gets a lot of grief on this board, but this is something they certainly do right. They have like 7-8 different levels of "programmer"-- you can serve your entire career writing software and never feel like you need to switch jobs to get a raise or get your ideas heard at the company.

  • Re:Yes and No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SimonInOz (579741) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:34PM (#31177306)

    Ah, what a great thread. And as I turn 55 tomorrow, I guess it's pertinent.

    I currently "manage" a team of young programmers (nearly all from India, based in Australia). They are happy to slog away, coding until they are blue in the face.
    Lines of code - they'll give you lines of code.

    But do they think much - er, no, not as far as I can see.

    I am rubbish at managing. My main function is staying out of the way, and going to meetings. Oh, and doing estimates (guess at what you think the work might take. Round up to days, multiply it by about ten, double it to allow for testing ... then think if there might be any other problems and add a bit. This is a bank, we have a FIXED release schedule. So our aspirations are way, way low. No rewards for wonderful work, only punishment for not delivering on time ... we aim low, so, so low).

    But I still reckon I could out program pretty much my whole team. (Yes, arrogance is a requirement for a decent programmer). And I would so, so much rather do that. So I write code to entertain myself, spending about 10% of my time on management.

    I weep when I see the miserable approach they take - why write a general solution when you could write more code? Why use a library when you could just - write more code. And so on.

    And get off my lawn ...

  • Re:Obivous Answer (Score:4, Interesting)

    by elnyka (803306) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @05:35PM (#31177318) Homepage

    The problem is not that "anybody can program any system," because as you said that's not true. The problem is the gatekeepers of salary and status simply cannot tell the difference between those who can and those who cannot. Thus there is not much career progression in programming.

    Depends. For people that have degrees in CS and EE (specially advanced ones) and years of experience, it is very rare that they don't have a career progression in programming.

    Or, in IT Computing, career progression depends on the degree of specialization and breath of knowledge. In the Java world, for example, it pays not only to be a good Java programmer, but also

    • to have one or more specializations (.ie. web/RIA development + ejb/spring or web service development + jee architecture),
    • a good understanding of databases (not only on database theory and SQL, but on vendor specific DB infrastructure, configuration, tablespaces, rollback segments and so on.)
    • a good understanding of distributed computing
    • a good understanding of network infrastructure (because then you know that there is a shitload of things like DNS servers, caching devices and the like between your users and your app that can affect the performance and behavior of your app)
    • a good understanding of operating system configuration (because then you can detect your OS TCP timeout settings are not tuned and are thus wreaking havoc between your Apache servers and your JEE containers.)
    • ... and so on and so on...

    The thing is that, it is true that there is no career progression in programming. But that is true because programming by itself is not the only thing at play, nor the one isolated thing in which we build specialization and breath of experience.

  • Its management Math (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tjp($)pjT (266360) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @06:08PM (#31177882)
    I am somewhat older and charge an appropriate rate for experience. During this process of aging I have been told I am worth 2.5 times a less experienced programmer, but they can get the less experienced programmer for 1/2 my rate. Now do you really think I even want to work for that company when their management considers the younger programmer a better deal. DPHB at work ... (Dilbert( Pointed Hair Boss) reference.)

    Sadly the differential in requested rate in the down economy is less and they often still get junior contractors in and I get a shorted but much more lucrative contract to clean up the mess. Unfortunately if you just fix a bad design to work, then they're left with a bad design. And the DPHBs that cycle this way aren't interested in the real fix to the problem. So ... It makes for repeat business later... All ya can do is warn 'em.

    Big Tip: Take your girlfriend or wife or sheepishly wander in on your own and pick up some men's hair color or spring for the bucks to get a better job done at a salon. Then trim all but the most recent 5 to 10 years (depending on prestige clients) from the resume. Make sure all relevant experience is mentioned somewhere even if just a skills list. They can't actually ask you your age.

    Gramps can eat the polar bear, use the skin and bones to make a boat, and come back and kick yer butt.
  • Re:Obivous Answer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Wednesday February 17, 2010 @07:58PM (#31178876)

    absent some kind of organized labor movement -- which programmers are notoriously, irrationally averse to

    IMHO, this aversion is not as irrational as it might first appear. As you probably know well, many programmers are firm believers in meritocracy; those who can produce elegant solutions to complex problems with clear and concise code are both admired and respected by their peers while those who cannot are not. Contrast this with a common problem in organized labor, rewarding seniority regardless of merit, and you see the principal objection that most programmers have to unionization. If the union rewards members strictly on the basis of merit then it adds nothing worth paying dues for above and beyond the marketplace itself, which also rewards merit and not just seniority. In other words, how does a union benefit the best programmers who could do just as well in the free market?

  • Re:Obivous Answer (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 18, 2010 @12:59AM (#31180770)

    I am 45. I am a much better programmer now than I was in my younger years. For one thing, I am a more mature person, and deal with people and business situations in a more mature manner and I am less likely do make some of the social mistakes I made in my youth. On the technical side, I have seen a lot of problems in the past and have a more intuitive grasp on how to solve permutations of problems I've seen before. I also tend to be more logical in my approach. Well, for whatever reason, I am a better programmer. However, I have definitely been the target of hiring discrimination. For example, there is one company for which I interviewed and I easily aced all their interview questions and the job was similar to other jobs I have done. But I studied the company and noticed that the average age was 27 and they had between 70 and 100 employees, so that is very difficult to do. I asked myself, why would they hire me. They don't hire people over thirty. Of course, they did not. In another situation, when I was still in my 30s, I was part of a team that was interviewing a candidate. My team mates made such incredible exclamations as, "he graduated from college before I was born." I pointed out that that was age discrimination and the room suddenly became quiet. I was never allowed to interview anyone at that company again.

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