The challenge of landing an academic job as a middle-aged woman (Opinion)

I am a loyal worker – I give everything I have to my bosses and organizations, and I refuse to resign even in less than ideal circumstances – because I believe that my hard work will be rewarded.

To pay for college, I would wait for a table in a casual steak restaurant chain, at odd times and on schedule. In the responsibility of closing the restaurant one night and reopening the next day, I covered shifts for hangover colleagues when they were too busy or had previous bad experiences with the customer. Even though I waited for my last table in the 1990s, I still have a busy dream of serving people সংগ্রাম struggling to remember the order of the big table, who had the ranch dressing and who was French, who wanted table ketchup and which wanted A.1.

In order to pay for my postgraduate degree, I worked for two years at a television station in a smudge above the minimum wage and saved what I could. Then, while studying for the degree, I was a graduate teacher assistant and researcher. I graded student essays until my eyes burned and my contact lens prescription deteriorated.

After my postgraduate degree, I became a word that I did not encounter much during my education but soon it will become very common: a Addition. I took a job at a community college where I took five classes per semester and earned less than me as a full-time Masters candidate with a teaching and research stipend. Yet my declining salary did not deter me from pursuing my ultimate goal: a PhD. I applied and was accepted a year later as an annoying and unappreciated accompaniment.

Once I finished my doctorate, I was sure that countless options would present themselves. I wanted to be among the women who adjusted their baby’s birth schedule to their summer vacation so that I could happily overwork myself in the service of something of my choice.

I have my Ph.D. At 35, there was a time when my wife and I dreamed of having a family. My husband, with a bachelor’s degree, was well on his way to a more lucrative career in video gaming, so I kept track of my dreams and ambitions to be more consistent. Over the years, I have contributed to a university that has discredited most of its workforce with low pay, inconsistent and unsolicited assignments — leaning towards introductory and over-enrolled courses in early-morning, late-evening and weekend. The psychological rewards were real, but the pay was unusual.

I am lucky to have found happiness and financial stability in marriage. My husband’s income subsidized my standard of living and, moreover, the ridiculous counterpoint of self-sufficiency that I envisioned would bring a terminal degree: to care I had to limit my career workload and salary, which made me dependent on my husband’s income I have pushed my career needs back to him.

Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation. I arrived in an unfamiliar town in need of a job after leaving my full-time job to relocate with my partner and teenagers. Now that I have reached a stage in my life where I can finally put my career first, I have discovered that available job opportunities do not flow for middle-aged women.

Corporate literature shouts with titles such as “Genderism is the new sexism”, “Why is age inequality bad for women” and “Why are women seen to tolerate the effects of age in the workplace?” But, wait, isn’t the academy different from the corporate workplace? After all, those of us who study and champion diversity. The human resources departments of colleges and universities have tried to codify the interview questions so that all the candidates get a quality experience. With such nodes for equal opportunity, then, how do we promote gender inequality? How do we get to our current se-session, where the higher version is similarly involved?

I remember an emergency budget-planning meeting at a former job, where an executive outlined ways to save money to stem our declining revenue and end the bankruptcy crisis: hire young people instead of retirees. The gap between outgoing high pay and incoming low pay requirements will accumulate a lot of savings.

Colleagues my age and older at this college couldn’t help but notice that the new recruits were young. We noted the recruitment justifications but said it was not age discrimination, but the fact that college students were expected to be similar to their mentors and aspiring for the kind of job they would be waiting for after graduation.

It also did not escape my notice that when I exceeded the acceptable age limit, sitting in a lobby waiting to be brought back for a job interview, the person assigned to escort me looked at me and then asked the receptionist where? There were candidates. I was in the room without the receptionist.

A growing piece of literature tells me to rediscover myself, to rediscover lost love and lost motives. Likes recent television programs The Rookie And Carol’s second law Also embrace that theme, showing middle-aged people choosing to start anew in other areas of employment. What is untrue about these images is the unspoken claim that middle-aged people are mere hobbyists, striving for different jobs – not people who need and deserve employment opportunities. Moreover, the suggestion of re-inventing oneself has the frustrating patina of rendering a separate solution to a structural problem.

Since personal solutions to systemic problems are not realistic or fair, I have a few suggestions that, although they may not solve the problem, may contribute to better outcomes for older applicants – especially women, who are judged more rigorously than older male candidates. . For research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Don’t let stereotypes and biases stand. A friend recounted a frustrating experience working on the university’s recruitment committee. After an interview with a candidate based on his or her biography and appearance in the late 40’s or early 50’s, committee members expressed doubts that his technical skills were up-to-date or that he would be as long as anyone else. . In a university committee-style interview designed for a small standard of fairness, such ignorance should not be allowed to stand without refutation or rejection.

In fact, accurately predicting how long someone will stay in the job calls for predictive tools that I don’t know. People learn new skills when needed for success. They are laid off or fired, leaving for personal or family reasons or for better opportunities, or sometimes simply not fit. You do not know how they will work until a person has a job. Don’t give candidates a chance to prove their worth by giving them a chance.

Do not assume that the pay scale is unacceptable to an experienced candidate. As most job seekers understand, it is difficult to apply for a job. In order to manage the process, many people apply for jobs and focus on their searches, which are largely consistent with their qualifications and salary expectations. Although a job may pay less than my previous job, don’t assume I’m not aware of it or fit for a lower salary. The decision to take the job is taken by the candidate.

Don’t ask or question things that are not relevant to the job. It is an honor to be interviewed. Out of all the potential candidates who meet the eligibility for recruitment, only certain individuals can be promoted. However, even with committee-based appointments, members are often allowed to ask follow-up or clear questions. And in my experience, follow-up questions aren’t meant to be clear but to cut – to get “proof” that a middle-aged or older candidate can’t do the job. For example, a gentleman asked me if I personally did any neuroscience research for a position coordinating tutor. The job description was curiously silent about that requirement!

We have all probably witnessed regionalism and one-development in some people in higher education. However, the candidates have to be judged according to the criteria published by the members of the committee. If someone goes off that line, other committee members should call them. Furthermore, candidates should be able to refuse to answer ad hoc questions that do not seem appropriate for their job, or appear to be intentionally or arrogantly posed, without compromising their chances.

I am still a loyal worker – willing to give to all my bosses and organizations and refuse to give up even in less than ideal circumstances. The question is, will those bosses and institutional decision makers look at my resume, listen to the answers to my interview questions, and imagine me as part of their workplace? If they do, they will see my creativity and work ethic instead of my age and be rewarded.

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