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Experienced Workers Should Be Valued Workers

When US Airways Flight 1549 looked like its evitable crash in New York could be a tragedy, it was instead saved by the acts of the calm, rational experienced staff and pilots. It got me thinking that in this tough market, many employers are thinking cheap, not experienced, and how very wrong that is.

If the “mature” pilots and flight attendants had been judged by their ages and not their experience, would the outcome have been the same when the plane’s engines were lost? Would newer employees have reacted as calm and professional?

Now that I am nearing fifty, employers are favoring the younger employee. To an employer, I’m a higher risk. I cost the employer more in health insurance benefits. The employer feels that the odds of my getting sick and breaking down physically are high.

However, what an employer does tend to forget about is that my experience can outweigh the risks. An employer might reconsider hiring older, more experienced workers. Someone such as myself can solve problems faster and provide suitable answers to my employer based on my experience.

Instead of being leery of age, an employer might emphasis health, good nutrition and exercise. For instance, at my last office job, we had a gym in the building. I would take two fifteen-minute breaks a day at the gym to do a short “run” on the treadmill. I would announce to my supervisors that I was going downstairs for my quick workout and in fact was encouraged not to skip it, even if my workload was heavy. Some of my coworkers went to the gym on breaks as well, or before or after work. And, although the firm provided free “junk” snacks of chocolate and chips in the lunchroom, they also offered mixed fruits and dried nuts, and power bars.

Older experienced workers should not be dismissed. They should be valued for their knowledge, and encouraged to take care of themselves.