left biblioblography: Ageism In America

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ageism In America

So I was at a Resume Facts seminar about 2 weeks ago (one of those free classes they provide for the taxpayer), and the lady, who’d been a recruiter for many years, stated that a job-seeker should never, NEVER go over the decade line, I.E, “Candidate has 11 years of experience in X industry”. Needless to say, I furrowed my eyebrows at this. A little later in the class, we were discussing cover letters, and I mentioned that my byline reads “I have been in industry X since 1993”. Surprise! I was told not to go over 10 years.

She tossed this shit out in the class – that ageism is a fact, there’s nothing to be done about it, everyone has to work around it.

When I was laid off in February, I signed a waiver stating that I hadn’t been laid off due to my age. It was a first, I tell ya. Since I’m 50, it has gone from invisible to palpable. And I’m not happy.

And I got this crap in my email too:

12 words you can never say in the office
These outdated tech terms really show your age; we’ve put together a list of alternatives. Welcome to the world of cloud computing, the smartphones and the virtual desktop

1. Intranet

Popular in the mid-'90s, the term "intranet" was eclipsed by portal not too long ago, and even that name seems to be waning. [Editor’s Note: This paragraph has been corrected in response to readers’ comments.]

Never used it much, so no big loss

2. Extranet

An "extranet" referred to private network connections based on Internet standards such as IP and HTTP that extended outside an organization, such as between business partners. Extranets often replaced point-to-point electronic data interchange (EDI) connections that used standards such as X12. Today, companies provide suppliers, resellers and other members of their supply chain with access to their VPNs.

Never even heard this word before, so again, no big whoop.

3. Web Surfing

When is the last time you heard someone talk about surfing the Web? You know the term is out of date when your kids don’t know what it means. To teens and tweens, the Internet and the World Wide Web are one and the same thing. So it’s better to use the term "browsing" the Web if you want to be understood. Or you can just say "Google" since everyone uses that term as a verb.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. So we’re doing it because the kids do it?!?!? Vice versa if they’re not? Talk about language snobbery.

4. Push Technology

The debate over the merits of "push" versus "pull" technology came to a head in 1996 with the release of the PointCast Network, a Web service that sent a steady stream of news to subscribers. However, PointCast and other push technology services required too much network bandwidth. Eventually, push technology evolved into RSS feeds, which remain the preferred method for publishing information to subscribers of the Internet. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication.

Huh. Again didn’t know it, don’t care.

5. Application Service Provider (ASP)

During this decade, the term "Application Service Provider" evolved into "Software-as-a-Service." Both terms refer to a vendor hosting a software application and providing access to it over the Web. Customers buy the software on a subscription basis, rather than having to own and operate it themselves. ASP was a hot term prior to the dot-com bust. Then it was replaced by "SaaS." Now it’s cool to talk about "cloud computing."

Give me an hour to work up a concern.

6. Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)

Coined by former Apple CEO John Sculley back in 1992 when he unveiled the Apple Newton, the term "personal digital assistant" referred to a handheld computer. PDA was still in use in 1996, when the Palm Pilot was the hottest handheld in corporate America. Today, the preferred generic term for a handheld like a Blackberry or an iPhone is a "smartphone".

Another YGBFKM (You Gotta Be Fucking Kidding Me). Perfectly fine acronym. Oh wait, the teeny-bopper zitface set ain’t using it any more, so it isn’t ‘hip’. Oh, oops, Mr. Outdated Word Nazi, sorry. Didn’t mean to say ‘hip’. I’d use the current word for ‘cool’, but that changes on a fucking hourly basis.

7. Internet Telephony

You need to purge the term "Internet telephony" from your vocabulary and switch to VoIP, for Voice over IP. Even the term VoIP is getting old-fashioned because pretty soon all telephone calls will be routed over the Internet rather than the Public Switched Telephone Network. It’s probably time to stop referring to the PSTN, too, because it is headed for the history books as all voice, data and video traffic is carried on the Internet.

I remember when VoIP first came out, and ‘Internet Telephony’ was pretty much the descriptor phrase, i.e., when somebody asked you what that was.

8. Weblog

A blog is a shortened version of "Weblog," a term that emerged in the late 1990s to describe commentary that an individual publishes online. It spawned many words still in use such as "blogger" and "blogosphere." Nowadays, few people have time to blog so they are "microblogging," which is another word that’s heading out the door as people turn Twitter into a generic term for blasting out 140-character observations or opinions.

Again, Weblog was a descriptor phrase, when inquired about.

9. Thin Client

You have to give Larry Ellison credit for seeing many of the flaws in the client/server computing architecture and for popularizing the term "thin client" to refer to Oracle’s alternative terminal-like approach. In 1993, Ellison was touting thin clients as a way for large organizations to improve network security and manageability. Although thin clients never replaced PCs, the concept is similar to "virtual desktops" that are gaining popularity today as a way of supporting mobile workers.

Really, this word fascism is getting pretty damn ripe pretty damn fast. If the guy interviewing me doesn’t know the historical pre-terminology, likelihood is that he’s been victimized by the Peter Principle.

10. RBOC

In 1984, the U.S. government forced AT&T to split up into seven Regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) also known as Baby Bells. Customers bought local service from RBOCs and long-distance service from carriers such as AT&T. Telecom industry mergers over the last 15 years have formed integrated local- and long-distance carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and Qwest. This makes not only the term RBOC obsolete, but also the terms ILEC for Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (i.e., GTE) and CLEC for Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (i.e., MFS).

Uh, HELLO! I took a 2 week training course for AT&T (didn’t make the grade, they practice a form of social Darwinism there that’s survival of the fittest, baby), and they teach you all about this. Why? Because a lot of their customers aren’t upgraded to a centralized company like we are out here on the West Coast.

11. Long-Distance Call

Thanks to flat-rate calling plans available from carriers for at least five years, nobody needs to distinguish between local and long-distance calls anymore. Similarly, you don’t need to distinguish between terrestrial and wireless calls because so many people use only wireless services. Like pay phones, long-distance calls—and their premium prices—are relics of a past without national and unlimited calling plans.

Hey, anyone who can’t figure out what that means, is a moron.

12. World Wide Web

Nobody talks about the "World Wide Web" anymore, or the "Information Superhighway," for that matter. It’s just the Internet. It’s a distinction that Steve Czaban, the popular Fox Sports Radio talk show host, likes to mock when he refers to the "Worldwide Interweb." Nothing dates you more than pulling out one of those old-fashioned ways of referring to the Internet such as "infobahn" or "electronic highway."

These are all valid, colorful terms. Again, flatline braindeath if you can’t puzzle out the meaning in the first few seconds. But hey – we need to pander to the younger mindset, because…because why, exactly? Who runs the country? Not the young folks. Most people in a position of actual power (like politicians) are in their fucking forties. In fact, the majority of famous movie stars are WELL over 30. This worship of the kiddie culture is just…well, it’s just wrong. The Asians have an idea of actual maturity: you’re not past puberty until you’re twenty-five. At the age of 24, I’d have cussed out that idea roundly, but past 30, you think, “Hey, that makes a helluva lotta sense.”

And of course, Santayana’s oft-quoted but lightly applied adage: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” You pick up an A+ Certification book, and it goes on about all KINDS of legacy hardware. That two-week AT&T course went over all sorts of legacy hardware, because people are prone to stick with what works, instead of running out to buy the latest state-of-the-art gadget (at least, us old, smarter geezers, who found out as youths, the more money you spend on gadgets, the poorer you are, especially when they’re outdated in less than six months).

Anyways, that’s something else that grinds my gears.

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Patricia Sahertian said...

Thanks for your essay. I read what you have to say with the hint of cynicism that you referred to above. I have to say I agree with your comments here. I also received that list in my google alerts and I was really bothered by it. Not because I don't want to learn new phrases or use them, because I do know them. Not because, quite frankly, I didn't even know all those old phrases. What really bothers me is that we are constantly told that we have to change our ways to fit in and be part of the now or be embarrassed that we ever lived before the year 2000.
Why isn't it ok to say surf the web (I did read the explanation) because it makes me sound old and dated.... that's ok. My peers have certain language, my kids and granddaughter have certain language, my parents have theirs too. I know where they fall in and yet I can communicate with them and they with me. If we all walked around saying the latest all too hip words not only would we seem like we are trying too hard, we would be buying into the fact that you have no value if you don't. To me it is like saying that you only listen to the hippest music because otherwise you are passé. Well a well educated listener would know that Radiohead got influence by the Beatles who got influenced by early rock and rollers like Chuck Berry, who was influenced by the blues.... etc. We don't expect them to all sound alike, but rather to bring their interpretation and experiences to the table.
It is nonsense to expect us all to talk alike, if we say something like long distance call, yes, that might mean that we were around back in the day, but gosh, is that so bad?

Krystalline Apostate said...

Thanks for your comments, Patricia.
The reverse is true as well - for some esoteric reason, I'm not allowed select code words. I've heard, for instance, that I'm not supposed to use the word 'dude' because of my age set.
It seems that diversity is welcomed in the workplace, but it has to be a young form of diversity.