At the ripe young age of 18 I became a manager at a local retail store. I took the responsibility seriously, working as hard if not harder than the senior members of our team. Often I would forgo my two daily breaks as well as stay late to ensure that all of my responsibilities were executed to the utmost of my ability. The store manager himself acclaimed my attributes and held me as a prime example of what a manager should be.
When age discrimination in the workplace is brought up, most people will immediately think of discrimination against the old. One might care to argue that the unemployment rate for youth is no more than that of people over 55, and therefore is not as important of an issue. However, discrimination against the young is just as prevalent, and perhaps worse because it is not as recognized or addressed.
For people under 30, jobs are often precarious and short lived, if there are any to begin with. For example, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployment rate for youth aged 16-24 for 2002 is 16.5%. Compare that to an average of 8.4% for men and women aged 55 and over, and one must admit that the difference is staggering. The Economic Deliberation Council recently stated that senior citizen unemployment is at an all time low; since the end of World War II the nation has seen an upsurge in the participation of senior citizens in the work place, whereas the youth employment rate is at the lowest that it has been since July of 1971.
One day at work I was on the sales floor when a lady approached me with an item that had no tag and inquired about the price.