Ageism and layoffs

PayPal IIMm4f
Mar 14 300 Comments

Paypal had layoffs recently and I heard that most people were in their 40s. Is this a common tread at other companies? Doesn't this constitute as discrimination? I understand that older employees usually get paid more but still somehow I don't think this is right especially if they have invested most of their career at the place. Are there any ways to combat ageism during layoffs? Thoughts? I mean we are all going to get old some day whether we like it or not...

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TOP 300 Comments
  • Facebook Probe
    Why do you think I use skin care products and adhere to a strict diet? Solely to make sure I look like I'm in my 30s into my 50s to combat ageism.
    Mar 14 14
    • Walmart.com s2a7
      @nonesense why moisturize with SPF ? Isn't that supposed to be used as sunscreen only ?
      Mar 15
    • VMware BobbleHat
      Sun is the cause of age changes in your skin. If you never saw sunlight, you will have baby smooth skin almost forever.
      Mar 15
    • Amazon uOvb33
      I’m sorry but this superficiality is not what nails you. You will be routinely identified by life experience and stage- like not doing shots with your coworkers.
      Mar 15
    • 3D Systems Hemingway
      Ageism is an open secret. There’s nothing you can do about it except keep networking even if you have a job. Don’t take employment for granted. This is reality.
      Mar 15
    • New / Eng
      kr580

      New Eng

      BIO
      Dev/tech ops senior guy
      kr580more
      ”employment at will” anyone?
      Mar 18
  • LinkedIn Capt Marv
    Why do people whine about getting socialist protections for jobs that pay few times the median income ?
    Mar 14 10
    • Snapchat / Eng camera-co
      Because the time to negotiate for unions/professional associations is now, when we're in a powerful position. Look at how lawyer pay has stagnated/declined over the last few decades whereas doctor pay remains high.

      Restricting the qualifications necessary to become a software engineer is good for every existing software engineer.
      Mar 14
    • The New York Times JoJos
      Capt Marv probably works in HR or management.
      Mar 14
    • Dell Smartyguy
      As long as we have *unlimited* h1b supplies all 40+ folks will keep getting laidoff ....
      Mar 14
    • Adobe Bro1
      Just keep screwing up other countries so they won't stop supplying h1b supplies.
      Mar 14
    • Pinterest PVQy30
      ^ it’s the Canadian solution. let in as many old, underpaid immigrants as easily as possible
      Mar 20
  • New
    🍔 🍟

    New

    PRE
    Google
    🍔 🍟more
    Older employees are NOT usually paid more. Younger ones who job hop make more than old timers who are stuck in the same job.
    Mar 14 6
    • Yelp overmind
      Job hoppers don't age?
      Mar 14
    • New / Ops
      tooQ10

      New Ops

      PRE
      Rakuten USA
      tooQ10more
      Concurring. My age will pass my TC in a few years, something that hasn't been the case since I was a college senior.
      Mar 14
    • Intuit 6grrbnyr5
      so you're earning like $35k a year or what am I missing here?
      Mar 14
    • Magic Leap / R&D b8nk5y
      Regarding Ageism, how does one build a case or prove it’s happening?
      Mar 14
    • New / Ops
      tooQ10

      New Ops

      PRE
      Rakuten USA
      tooQ10more
      @6grrbnyr5, I'm older. Age 42, TC ~45. I'm not a superstar, just an ordinary employee.
      Mar 14
  • Amazon Koh Samui
    Better achieve financial independence before you’re 40. Brain gets slower with age. That said I still think age-based firing is a terrible practice.
    Mar 14 12
    • New / Eng TC++
      @Rr333 you are proving my point — older candidates have problems getting hired because of stupid interview process and outright agism, not because their brains are slower. Also, CS fundamentals haven't changed that much. Binary trees are same binary trees as 50 years ago. It's just that most programming jobs don't require any hard CS, so you forget stuff you learned in college.
      Mar 14
    • Adobe xbid57
      Whatever the cause, what matters is the end effect on those heading towards or already over 40. Huge cause of concern either way.
      Mar 14
    • Amazon Jеff Bezоs
      > Software is more along the novel spectrum.

      😂
      What looks novel to a 20-year-old is usually technology that was already invented in the 70s under a slightly different context. Ageism makes you think you work in a novel field.
      Mar 14
    • Amazon SeCg34
      I was hired by Amazon at 50, still there and approaching late 50’s. I can assure you that my brain is actually faster now since it’s been challenged daily at work. However, I agree that the best approach is to save as much as you can and assume that you’ll run into issues by 55 if not earlier. Very few of the FANGs have many people my age. Amazon seems to be significantly better about it than most.
      Mar 19
    • New / Eng TC++
      Yeah, I had interview with Amazon recently. The bar raiser was at least 50. Very sharp guy. I liked him but he rejected me😐
      Mar 19
  • Google iambackag
    Sounds like BS to me. I am in my late 50s and my boss (and his boss) are older. That said, I would try a lawsuit if it happened to me
    Mar 14 12
    • Google iambackag
      He was trolling with that. His mom told me so while we were preponing the needful
      Mar 15
    • Primer AI / Eng
      gEMD88

      Primer AI Eng

      PRE
      SAIC
      BIO
      Two time CTO with experience bringing SaaS to market. Can provide career advice.
      gEMD88more
      Id love to refactor his mom
      Mar 15
    • Google iambackag
      Better to revert her back
      Mar 15
    • Google DWaU03
      Want me to revert back on the same ?
      Mar 15
    • Google iambackag
      Dude reverting back your mom is too much. I may be old fashioned though
      Mar 15
  • Juniper bailee
    Ageism is rampant in the Bay Area. Yes it's discrimination yes everyone knows about yes it still happens anyway and companies DGAF
    Mar 14 8
    • Google dheye726
      Too hard to prove.
      Mar 14
    • T-Mobile / Design SFVc60
      Lol

      Tech industry is up or out. If you are old and not in a leadership position you are probably an overpaid average engineer.

      Ok child!
      Mar 14
    • New
      EMVH32

      New

      PRE
      Amazon
      EMVH32more
      @JlrC80 - you just illustrated why Google is being successfully sued by about 260 people for age discrimination.

      And you’re wrong. The lack of experience Android OS engineers have is destroying that product. It’s days are numbered simply because of ageism.
      Mar 14
    • Chevron / Sales newtoSF
      Lack of experience is destroying many companies! But how come many CEOs are over 50 and this crap is happening under their nose.
      I think it’s more that people are complacent here and no one wants to rock the boat. Look at SF as a city, pretty soon people would have to wear masks not because of smoke because of disgusting smell of piss. Totally Gross!
      Mar 17
    • Walmart.com vLAp07
      This hit me when I entered my 40s. Stay fit, try looking "younger", network and most important have a skill that the industry wants. This can help extend your career; or at least that is my hope. Companies favor youth (which is good for our kids -- see it does help somewhere), but the openness with which it is done shocks me. I do not expect anything to change so keep your skills up-to date and network.
      Apr 17
  • This comment was deleted by original commenter.

    • General Motors sBto05
      Oh man, in 20 years I hope you revisit this comment and feel the irony.

      Also, those greybeards have forgotten more than you learned in school.
      Mar 14
    • Sage
      khCi60

      Sage

      PRE
      Coca-Cola, The Home Depot
      BIO
      East coast
      khCi60more
      What a fucking loser response from Fannie Mae - narcissism runs rampant among millenials
      Mar 14
    • AdRoll ipopwc
      I’m a millennial and find it disgusting. We will be there in a blink of an eye. I will not work for companies that have a sea of fresh faces; only diverse mixes.

      I hope my fellow millennials have some sense of decency and feel the same (and just self-regard; like I say: we will be there shortly)
      Mar 14
    • Sage
      khCi60

      Sage

      PRE
      Coca-Cola, The Home Depot
      BIO
      East coast
      khCi60more
      Ages are part of diversity. So are people who vote differently than you do.
      Mar 14
    • AdRoll ipopwc
      Agree 100%; I mean a sea of *only* fresh faces.
      Mar 14
  • Microsoft madlad420
    Go to microsoft everyone's old here
    Mar 14 0
  • New
    EMVH32

    New

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    Amazon
    EMVH32more
    It is common. And it is illegal. And it is a dumb way to manage a company.
    Mar 14 0
  • Oracle now@google
    I suppose it is a mix of people with more YOE/high TC and those who stuck around because they can’t get a job elsewhere.
    Mar 14 0
  • Lyft zz7yqa45
    Ageism is real. Allow me to explain the hierarchy of hatred for The Olds in tech (anyone over 40).

    1. Olds who can pass for young and can pretend they are drinking the koolaid, also ignore unforced errors by people half their age (won't protect in mass layoffs).

    2. Olds who have interests and obligations outside of work. This category is especially hated in growth companies.

    3. Olds who have the misfortune to have a sick kid or parent. This is the absolute lowest of the low, the most hated category of The Olds. If you are in this category, watch your back, learn about FMLA, and be ready to get fired at any time for any reason or no reason at all.

    Ahhhhhh! The magic of at will employment.

    Actually I misspoke. Olds with cancer are the worst. Just drop dead already and stop driving insurance rates up.
    Mar 14 3
    • Microsoft HGAI88
      This is depressing
      Mar 14
    • Red Hat bdifkfofn
      I hope your health remains as is when/if you reach “the Olds” age
      Mar 15
    • Chevron / Sales newtoSF
      It’s another form of enslavement when having interests and obligations outside of work is frowned upon.
      Olds and Young’s get cancer and both drive insurance rates up!
      Mar 17
  • Cisco / QA CyberDemon
    Plan to retire by 40. Problem solved.
    Mar 14 13
    • Cisco / QA CyberDemon
      don't you think a good spouse deserves a good spouse.. someone who isn't layoff material? if you can't be a good provider, don't go ruining others lives.
      Mar 19
    • New / Eng TC++
      Lol CyberDemon is obviously single and virgin
      Mar 19
    • Cisco / QA CyberDemon
      attack my argument, not me you birdbrain.
      Mar 19
    • New / Eng TC++
      Don't get butthurt CyberDemon. Bad for your health.
      Mar 19
    • Nutanix hmbsjc1
      @cisco A good spouse provides support when you need it. The bad ones will leave you at the first sign of trouble. A good spouse may also be able to tell you areas in which you can improve. In a nice way of course :)
      Mar 19
  • Optum djt1658
    As one of the older folks on Blind (64.. lol) I have one suggestion: don't talk a lot about what happened in the old days. Stay current. Anything that you did more than 10, 15 yrs ago is probably not super relevant anymore. It won't protect you from all ageist layoffs but it'll help. Anyway it's more interesting too 😁😁
    Mar 14 5
    • New gpelxl2
      do you recommend getting into a leadership role?
      Mar 14
    • Optum djt1658
      Really interesting question. Around 15 years ago I was an Oracle DBA on Unix and thought I would never want to go into mgmt. But time passed, I joined a different company, technology changed & I became a manager. All around I really like it. I have a great team and, though I don't go deep into any technical topics now, I do get to range pretty widely in helping team members deal with blockers etc. However, my ability to find a different job is probably less than it would be if I stayed pure technical. I'd say if you have any interest in mgmt and find an oppty, don't be afraid to go for it. You can probably do it for 3+ years before your ability to go back to individual contributor gets tough.
      Mar 14
    • New / Eng TC++
      When do you plan to retire?
      Mar 14
    • New gpelxl2
      Thank you for detailed answer. I am still early in my career, and was thinking of moving to mgmt once I become senior or staff engineer..
      Mar 14
    • Nutanix hmbsjc1
      ^This.
      In my experience, if you keep your skills current and keep a positive attitude you’re golden through your golden years. (See what I did there?)
      Mar 15
  • Amazon qQTo52
    The impacted folks tend to have to sign away rights to sue to get severance which shuts down lawsuits. People also don’t want to sue because it will be public and fear future hiring discrimination based on causing trouble. In the end we’re all akin to pro ball players: make as much as you can while you can and have a plan B should this hit us.
    Mar 14 5
    • Amazon / Product
      пысTaker

      Amazon Product

      PRE
      Microsoft
      пысTakermore
      You can't sign away the right to sue over discrimination. Also crimes cannot be protected by an NDA
      Mar 14
    • Amazon / Product
      пысTaker

      Amazon Product

      PRE
      Microsoft
      пысTakermore
      You can settle discrimination out of court but you'd need a judge to approve it.
      Mar 14
    • Microsoft / Eng YKtY52
      You can sign away your right to sue. Chances are you've done it many times without even realizing. Go read your cell phone contract. It probably says that by signing it you're agreeing to have disputes solved through arbitration.

      Many employers do it too (I'm not sure about Amazon; Microsoft does not).

      It's pretty standard for severance packages to require that you give up your right to sue. There are special rules for people over 40, but at the end of the day if you willingly accept the severance package (meaning the employer didn't bully you or scare you into signing it) then it becomes very, very hard to win a lawsuit.

      BTW, I'm not an attorney but as a disabled person I have more familiarity than I'd like with anti-discrimination laws. Thankfully, I've never had to sue, but I have had to stand up for my rights many times.

      Sadly, most of those times happened at Microsoft. The company provides a lot of anti-discrimination training, but most of it is focused on hot button social issues (minorities, LGBTQ employees, etc). Unfortunately I've hardly seen any training on ageism or people with disabilities.
      Mar 14
    • Amazon / Product
      пысTaker

      Amazon Product

      PRE
      Microsoft
      пысTakermore
      It is illegal under federal law for an employer to ask you to waive the right to sue for discrimination against a federally protected group. You also can't be held to a NDA if you are reporting a crime.

      Even if you sign such a doc, you can file a complaint with the eeoc and after 90 days they will issue you a right to sue letter and you can file in federal court. The court will throw out part or all of any agreement that includes a convenient not to sue for discrimination. The only way to wave this right is to reach a settlement that is approved by a judge.

      You can sign away a lot of other rights and agree not to sue for other things but a doc that says you agree not to sue because of discrimination is not a valid contract. The company may use a document that says that you agree that there has been no discrimination and then try to use that against you if you file a lawsuit but this has been largely recognized as intimidation and not valued much as I understand.

      Just as a note companies love to get employees to sign things that are not legally binding. Most of the time the employee doesn't know and is too proud or afraid to get legal advice.

      If you are ever in a office with hr and they are trying to get you to sign something before you leave rather than taking it home signing and returning in a week then there is a good chance it has a few clauses they don't want you to run past a lawyer.
      Mar 14
  • Amazon VpYJ78
    Americans have decided that unions are inevitably bad rather than conditionally good or bad, civic society has no consensus, and in the absence of a counterweight to unchecked regulatory capture, the ability to be legally protected as a group doesn't really exist unless it also has a strong cultural identity and politics associated with it.

    Ie, you can discriminate against all the older employees or all the short employees or all the ugly employees because those groups aren't politically organized and don't seem to constitute a unifiable identity.

    In the case of tech, statistically speaking, the majority of us are opposed to unions and suspicious of government regulation of company staffing policy, which works really well for us until it's our turn to be on the chopping block.

    Nothing's going to change until we as developers think about our short and long term interests and act as a group. If we don't make sure that good devs who can do the work get a fair shot at every stage of our careers, then we'll have the worst of both worlds: in some places deadwood with obsolete skills will be protected, and in others great devs will be fired for having grey hair.
    Mar 14 4
    • Apple nebraska
      Well said. Thanks! 👍🏽👍🏽
      Mar 14
    • AdRoll ipopwc
      Where can people get involved with this? Especially younger engineers
      Mar 14
    • Barclays PLC bcch42
      @Adroll, why especially young engineer... Isn't that itself discriminatory?
      Mar 14
    • Microsoft HGAI88
      Looks like I should start coloring my hair
      Mar 14
  • Facebook public2
    If over 40, discrimination. If under 40, not.
    Mar 14 2
    • Microsoft 4655434b
      This applies to the avg age of the workgroup...
      Mar 14
    • Facebook public2
      Understood, pointing out only over 40 is protected
      Mar 14
  • New mdGG61
    I'm 39 now and I'm pretty sure if my company decided to lay off 90% of the dev team, I'd not get the axe. Just be better than your peers. Nobody fires their MVPs
    Mar 14 4
    • Intuit / Eng
      j123x

      Intuit Eng

      PRE
      Cisco, Verizon, Oracle
      j123xmore
      "May your faith save you"
      Mar 14
    • Don't be so sure.
      Mar 15
    • VMware BobbleHat
      What mdgg61 is actually saying is learn how to kneel and open wide to your senior leaders, so the leader know who the “MVP” is.
      Mar 15
    • OpenTable Meliodas
      Clearly, you’ve never worked at Intel.
      Mar 15
  • PayPal / Eng #5Pr@x76
    So then what happens to older folks? Where do they go/fit?
    Mar 14 9
    • Amazon LoanerBadg
      @microsoft,why can't they get coding jobs?
      Mar 15
    • Wells Fargo techgeeksf
      Don't worry AOC has your back. She will guarantee $15/hour
      Mar 15
    • Qualcomm asicdesign
      Don't laugh. I know an engineer who's skills got outdated and he wound up homeless. He would have loved fifteen bucks an hour to pay rent
      Mar 15
    • GE SpEd6
      We have quite a few older programmers here. Many can’t get a decent job else where.
      Mar 15
    • Nutanix hmbsjc1
      Not even geriatric porn?
      Mar 15
  • HP / Mgmt PLNS47
    Ageism is sooooo true but all D&I initiatives are towards women
    Mar 14 4
    • Nutanix hmbsjc1
      Women are easier on the eyes. As a 50+ engineer maybe I need to start wearing makeup to start taking advantage of D&I initiatives!
      Mar 14
    • Uber / Project tomjomes
      I think we have all of *one* female engineer over 50
      Mar 14
    • Nutanix hmbsjc1
      If you’re looking for a 50+ engineer who can write decent code, make inappropriate jokes, good with customers, and still look like a sexy motherfucker please let me know.
      Mar 14
    • Uber / Project tomjomes
      Hire those all day here
      Mar 14
  • Intel / Eng
    direct&opn

    Intel Eng

    BIO
    Passionate about development
    direct&opnmore
    I feel as software engineering is entering the new era, we need to constantly keep learning. If I spend a long time at a place that doesn’t secure my place, because the incoming new grad is well versed in technologies that are entering the market now.

    I believe if I cope up with tech trends and spend 2 hours a day learning, it wouldn’t matter a decade later that I am old, I will be able to justify my high salary.

    I feel companies execute such layoffs because they feel that older employees with high salaries are not contributing enough to justify the high pays!
    Mar 14 3
    • New / IT neji
      I'm part of an Architecture team where we provide new solutions to other teams. It's crazy how complacent Engineers get with their specialty!
      Mar 14
    • Primer AI / Eng
      gEMD88

      Primer AI Eng

      PRE
      SAIC
      BIO
      Two time CTO with experience bringing SaaS to market. Can provide career advice.
      gEMD88more
      ALWAYS BE LEARNING.
      Mar 15
    • Primer AI / Eng
      gEMD88

      Primer AI Eng

      PRE
      SAIC
      BIO
      Two time CTO with experience bringing SaaS to market. Can provide career advice.
      gEMD88more
      ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE RELYING ON YOUR PHP AND COBOL SKILLS
      Mar 15