Tag Archives: the new york times

Hire Your Mom

I’m drawn to articles about ageism, especially as that relates to women who achieved real success and, at the age of 50 or 60 or even older, still have it. “It” being some combination of experience, expertise, management skills, a strong work ethic and the potential to grow in a job. Currency, in a word.

But the workplace views her as a worker whose currency has been so devalued she’s not even considered for positions for which she’s well- (or over-) qualified,

(I see errors I’ll let stand that reveal bias in my own writing: “60 or even older” and “still.”)

An editor and one-time EIC of McCall’s, Sally Koslow is “lucky” enough to have published novels, she writesUnhappy Retirement in The New York Times. So while she doesn’t appear to be struggling, she feels the bias all the same: “In my mid-fifties I was shown the door,” says Koslow, who wrote the novel “Little Pink Slips,” about the magazine world. “The old saw goes that on a deathbed body wishes they’d spent more time at the office, but I suspect many women whose careers stop prematurely do.”

She makes the point that women who choose (and who can choose to) take off a few years, or a decade, to raise children, have a narrow window to achieve success. Rejoin the workforce at 35 or 40 and you have 20 years to succeed. After that, if you’re Koslow, you’re joining “the gig economy,” as she calls it, while admitting that hers is a pretty good gig. On the other hand, a woman I met recently spoke of her current gigs, hustling for video and film projects after having worked on staff at Saturday Night Live. “To make ends meet, she works at the food-sampling table at B.J.’s,” a mutual friend confided to me.

So I join Koslow in her plea to HR people everywhere: “Hire someone’s your mom’s age.”

 

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the forgiveness project

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Frederic Luskin, a psychologist and the head of the Stanford Forgiveness Project, offers thoughts about forgiveness when “when you’ve been harmed by someone you’re close to and must work through all the conflicting feelings to get to a place of dignity and peace.”

Reading even these words gives me the thrill of coming upon something that can help me. A project! I love projects because I love plans and focus and work. More to the point, I am so uncomfortable with indecision. Much like Caroline “it’s not that I can’t make up my mind, it’s that I can’t stop making up my mind,” that’s how much she is troubled by indecision.

Dr. Luskin’s advice is standard: honestly apologize (no “I’m sorry but”), ask for forgiveness, practice forgiveness. Here’s what reading it triggered in me: forgiving is not the same thing as reconciling. You can let go of the blackness of blame — forgive in other words — but still decide to step away from the relationship, for awhile or forever. Maybe, even, you can’t know if reconciliation is possible until you forgive?

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don’t be old

Hilariously true poem in the The New York Times by Steve Duenes, called How to Walk in New York City. Best line: Don’t be old.

The numbers refer to animated graphics, which you can see here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/04/23/magazine/how-to-walk-in-new-york.html

Don't break stride.

Don’t break stride.

Don’t text.

Don’t smile.

Don’t be injured.

Don’t break stride.

Don’t hum what’s in your headphones.

Walking in New York is not Mick Jagger. It is James Brown. The beat depends on the day and the hour and the borough and the street. In the Times Square subway station at 9 a.m. on a Monday, it is the opening drum sequence from “Hot for Teacher.”

Don’t touch anyone.1

Don’t bump elbows.

Don’t hold hands. 2

Don’t lose focus.

Don’t leer.

Even as you glide past a luminous stranger, the instant crushes that start and end as subway doors close are fleeting. There is a moment of stirring promise, and then there is only what could have been. Keep moving.

Don’t run.

Don’t hold hands.

Don’t look up at the buildings.3

Don’t say good morning.

Don’t eavesdrop.

Even if you are overhearing a man try to explain the resurrection to a business colleague from rural Japan on Fifth Avenue, don’t listen. Much. You might wander into the path of the M1 bus.

Don’t talk on your phone.

Don’t take pictures.

Don’t change lanes.

Don’t make eye contact.

Don’t step in it.

The idea of stopping at an intersection is a nonstarter. Jockey for position at the front of the group, slowly edging into the street as cars pass within inches of your knees. Never stop moving. Walk in an extended, single fluid motion, even at the deli, where your left hand delivers pre-counted cash to a clerk as the goods are swept up by your right.

The city stride can be triumphant, like the brief high of an athletic upset. If you win when the consequences of losing are steep, then your parade through the city can be like the opening credits of “Saturday Night Fever” — or like David Byrne dancing in that big suit. You may achieve an intense awareness that this moment might be IT. On most days, you’re paying the bills, searching for IT. IT is there, seemingly within your reach, but you can be distracted because New York is the trees and not the forest. It’s the scrum at the bar; the next 10 minutes; the bus that’s not braking or the lunatic shouting directly in your ear. Whatever IT is, you may find it in New York. You may earn it, you may bump into it, you may achieve it or win it by accident or coincidence, and when you do, you better revel in your victory because IT never lasts, and whatever it is — you will surely, ultimately, lose it.

Don’t be an obstacle.

Don’t be sick.

Don’t be old.

Don’t stop.

Don’t look back.

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