Three years ago, a third of the homeless population were over 50. Today it is half. Half. Half of the homeless are over 50. An alarming 44% became homeless after 50. Fifty is typically celebrated as that milestone birthday, it’s over the hill. Now? That hill is a slippery slope into an uncertain future.
There was a radio piece on homeless after 50. Ex marine, a plant closing with no warning, could not another job at 55 ended up homeless. Later that day, I chatted with the elderly man who’s been cleaning up the tent encampment at the underpass. He happily continued sweeping as I continued uptown. A few days later, he was sitting in his chair outside his tent; just like someone who’d sit on a porch and watch the world go by. We spoke and I noticed he had a white hospital bracelet on; released from the hospital into the streets. I got nothing except a sobering new reality; homeless is the new 50.
“Homeless is the new 50” – there are many reasons for it but I’d like to focus on one – blatant age discrimination in the workplace.
Current laws against it are weak and companies are heartless and simply don’t care about the lives ruined as they purge older workers simply because they to a bit older.
Do older workers do likely get paid more that a younger employee? Likely yes … because the older dedicated employee followed the company’s career path guidance to advice their careers.
They do what the company askEd … only to reach a point where some highly paid CEO who long ago lost all sense of the real work environment sees a chance to reduce payroll by replacing them with younger and/or offshore people.
These cheaper employees often cannot do the work with the same quality and precision, elongating the time to delivery (if they can deliver at all), harming the customer/client relationship, and likely costing the company more than if the older experienced employee was retained.
Is the lesson for older workers here to avoid the company’s career path? Is the message to those that wish to advance that the farther they travel the company’s career path, the bigger and bigger the target on their back as they age?
What seems to be today’s reality – you better buy a tent when you are in your 40s because you may need it at some point in your 50s.
Sad. Shameful that we as a society are allowing this to become the new norm. Shameful that company CEOs do this — and illegal except for the fact that today’s laws are not enforceable.
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