Age Discrimination


I just got back from a job interview here at the great University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Simple job, really–grading homework for a CS class. There were two openings, and three applicants. Two of those applicants were qualified for the position: one had previously taken the course, and one had a great deal of real-life experience in the subject matter the course dealt with. The third had a vague notion of what the subject matter was.

Now, some among you are probably thinking, “Ah, easy enough. Hire the two qualified people, and give the third ‘a vague notion’ of the door.” My feelings exactly, as I was the one with the real-life experience.

I, however, have also committed the mortal sin of being a freshman. When this information was given to the interviewer, the interviewer laughed at me, explaining, while laughing, that this was “not a good thing.” I went on to explain about my previous experience, in detail, and explaining how it applied to the course. The interviewer listened, but seemed thoroughly disinterested. She went on to the third candidate, asking this person if they felt that they could “pick up” the concepts as the person went along, since the solutions were provided. This person responded with an emphatic “Probably,” to which the interviewer responded in an extremely positive manner.

While I’ve not heard the official word yet, it’s clear to me which two people are to be hired.

Equal opportunity employer my ass.


Someone please tell me I’m not taking this too seriously.

Is your real world experience anything you could put on paper, like a certification, or a positive job reference? If not, then the beauracrat was focusing on paper experience. This is why a college degree in **anything<b/> will open doors in the job market.

If your experience is on paper, then the interviewer was discriminating against you, the “fish”. People are ignorant.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

Well, the interviewer was asking the one candidate about whether or not she could maybe, possibly pick up on the material. This seems to indicate that paper existence didn’t matter so much as age, as folks tend not to list things they might be able to learn on resumes.

But to answer your question–yes, the experience was listed on paper, in the form of my resume.

Age discrimination- sadly it exists in reality way too much.

I’ve always been ‘advanced’ in some ways for my age but no matter how much experience, knowledge, education, etc I’ve had under my belt my age has been used against me in some situations.

Maybe this is a blessing in disguise… maybe this means I will always look younger than I am and will age more gracefully, who knows. But the reality is here NOW and I’m tired of being watched more closely in stores because I look like a teenager.


Funny, when I was 14 or so and had hair, people often thought I was well into my twenties. Maybe being bald has something to do with it. Heh.

OfficeGirl’s Cubicle Farm

“Argue for your limitations; sure enough, they’re yours.”

I hear ya. I guess what I meant was more along the lines of “Well, you don’t really know much about the position, but because you have senority at the campus we’ll just assume you’ll pick up the job.”
Senority is a very strong force. As the bastard son of Tradition, it seems to have an unnatural pull.

Another possibility is that the other guy knew the right people.

Of course, I don’t know any of the players involved, so you gotta take my WAG with a pound of salt.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

Maybe the interviewer just didn’t like your attitude. Perhaps what you were trying to convey as experience and maturity came across as pomp and arrogance. (I’m not accusing you, it’s just an observation)

Another factor to consider, maybe the person didn’t want someone with real life experience…maybe he/she wanted someone they could “mold” into their own image.

Whatever the case, consider yourself lucky that you’re not working there. If there was no connection, you would have wound up hating it.