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Funny ageism stories

By paron ·
As a followup to the "Prejudice, cynism in the IT sector? Impossible!" thread, I thought it might be fun to share the most humiliating ageist interview experiences we've had. I had so many to choose from -- the two HR girls who told me stories about their fathers all through the interview, the guy who asked, "There's a lot of walking in this job, would you be OK with that?", and a host of others -- but my favorite happened while I was a 50-year old Master's Candidate.

One of my professors had a call from the Telephone Services office on Campus. They needed someone to munge a file from Excel to another format for import into some program they were buying. He recommended me, and sent me over.

When I told them why I was there, the head of the department said, "Oh we were expecting someone...." and then just stopped and got redder and redder. I finally suggested "Shorter?" (I'm 6'4"). Then we both started to laugh -- she was about my age, so she knew from both sides what the joke was.

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While I am not quite as "seasoned" as some

by jdclyde In reply to Funny ageism stories

Starting to get there.

There are a lot of messes I have to clean up after the young pups come in and screw things up.

The young pups have little work ethic, and no eye for detail. No pride in a job well done.

This is who you want to run IT? ARE YOU NUTS?

Before I took over as the lead admin, our mail server went down. The lead tech was on the job and had tech support on line so I left because I had a "showing" to go to because of a family member passing away.

The next morning I came in and the server was still not up. (server running, mail wasn't) A "consultant" had been called in to handle this, and I was not asked for any help so I stayed in my office until noon, when I had to leave for the funeral.

The next morning I came in and the server was still not up. The $1000 a day consultant had not come back as he had NO IDEA what the problem was.
This was a linux server running Domino (Lotus Notes).

I went in and all that came up on the screen over and over was too many files open, out of inodes.

I started to look this up calmy back at my desk on why we would be out of inodes when I had a thought. "too many files open"? What files? So I did a quick "find" command for all files created with in the last day. This pointed me to a directory that had a symbolic link to it's self and so had created an error file for each time it hit the loop until it used up all the inodes in that directory. (NOT FOLDER!)

Removed the Sym link, deleted the files and MAJICLY the mail took off again.

Went in the other room and told them what I did and the lead started to blame me for this happening and her comment in front of my boss showed to everyone she had NO IDEA the very basics of a linux server (which was how I was able to get the lead roll).

Went back to the .bash.history file and found that the young pup in the department had typed in the command to make the sym link but didn't put in the name of the destination. Linux defaults to the same name, Unix will not except this. So he retyped in the command, WITH the destination, with the link already their. Thus the loop.

Our mail server was down for three days because of a pup in a hurry that didn't associate what he did with the server INSTANTLY going down, and then did his best to try to deny it instead of fix it.

Until the up and comings START to develope an acceptable work ethic, they are NOT the solution but the problem. Colleges and boot camps do NOTHING to instill this.

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by jbaker In reply to While I am not quite as " ...

Is this REALLY a case of ageism, or is this a case of someone with rights that they did not need to have? I think this proves that training and knowledge is needed prior to a user being loosed with SU, admin or root level access to a server. If you (as lead) had been looking over the "young pup"'s shoulder when he created his recursive command, you would have caught the error, and prevented three days of server downtime. Do not get me wrong here, I am not saying that it is your fault for the failure, but it is a failure in the way that many companies operate, in that they expect the administrators to know how to do everything with little or no training or skill enhancements.

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He wasn't lead when it happened

by stress junkie In reply to honestly

The story clearly states that he was not the lead admin at the time that this happened. It was the reason that he was made the lead admin.

Also, you wrote "If you (as lead) had been looking over the "young pup"'s shoulder when he created his recursive command.." Are you kidding? A lead admin cannot watch every command that another person enters. For all we know the young pup may have been regarded by management as a senior admin.

So jbaker, you are as wrong as you can be in your reply to this story.

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I disagree with your conclusion.

by stress junkie In reply to While I am not quite as " ...

You seem to be saying that the young pup created the problem due to lack of interest in his/her job quality and lack of resposibility AND that those character flaws were due to that person's age. I would say that responsibility does not increase with age. I've worked with a lot of older people who were completely irresponsible. I've also known a few people, myself included, who've been very responsible since an early age.

I think that this story is more illustrative of our culture's devaluation of personal responsibility and quality of workmanship while compensating by attempting to blame others for our mistakes. In many corporations the CYA principle is openly practiced. The blame goes to the person who is least able to lie about their involvement in problems. You can see this openly practiced on Donald Trump's tv show "The Apprentice". The people who lie about their responsibility for failure and who successfully blame others are the ones rewarded. The people who accept blame are the ones that get fired. It's idiotic.

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by FirstPeter In reply to I disagree with your conc ...

Can I get an "amen" for Stress?!

Age has nothing to do with level of responsibility. My father brought me up with a solid work ethic - something I'm forever grateful for - and I've lived by that ethic since I was flipping the proverbial burgers (actually these were LITERAL burgers that were flipping) at age 16.

In my experience where youth generally runs in to problems is not knowing what they don't know. Book learning is only good to a point, after which you really need experience or practice to grow. Some "young pups" (I can raise my hand as guilty on this more than once in my past, and I'm betting so can 90% of the people who read this) will jump in feet first and end up in a less-than-good situation because of it.

HOWEVER, I can also raise my hand that _I_ got myself in over my head (not "my boss put me there" or "It's Joe's fault because he didn't do this right the first time") and _I_ get to deal with it.

Age is NOT the issue at hand with what's described - it's character.

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by stress junkie In reply to Absolutely

I also credit my parents for instilling these values into my character. My father in particular wouldn't accept blame passing. Nor would he accept a shoddy job.

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Not age, per say

by TonytheTiger In reply to I disagree with your conc ...

But I certainly see similar attitudes in many of today's young people. Of course, maybe that's their parents' fault, and probably not helped any by teachers. All I know is that most young people think they should start making top dollar right out of college, and go up from there. Long gone are the days when a kid goes in at the bottom and learns the business from the ground up.

It's too bad, really, because they're really missing a lot of learning. Not just about the job, but about people and life.

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Training / Experience ?

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to While I am not quite as " ...

I've just done something, now it's broke.
First question
Could it have been me, and what did I actually just do.
After being a one man IT shop for about five years, I got used to suspicion always falling on me. Correctly so on more than a few occasions.
The correct response to a screw up is not to do it again.
The first thing any technical lead should know is technology can lead you astray.

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The Resume..........

by faith_michele In reply to Funny ageism stories

Being in the Army for 21 years does very little for your resume writing ability.

I had already knew that I had gotton a job when the HR person told me that I had a lot of experience on my resume but I didn't have to list the year that I graduated from High School (or any other training dates). She told me that sometimes people figure out your age from that HS date and you might be discriminated against for your age. It makes sence now but at the time I wondered if that was perceived as being dis-honest by trying to omit something. I have adapted to the change but I'm sure someone can look at me and guess close to my real age anyway.

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No age on resume

by Jessie In reply to The Resume..........

When I was in college, took a technical writing course, that covered writing your CV and Resume, was told in that class NEVER to give any dates for Highschool, and that being required to give a graduation date for highschool leaves the company you're applying for open to discrimination suits.

Granted the average age in this course was 35, so I know they were "speaking to" the older group, but I've always thought it was best to let experience speak for itself. If you have no experience, you flesh out your resume with "relevant skills." If you have no skills... you're SOL.

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