Veronica Schuettenberg, of Manlius, has been seeking work for months. Her husband, who sold automotive supplies, was laid off in January. They have a son in college. “I know companies can’t discriminate because of age, but when they ask for dates — when you graduated from college, from high school — I feel sometimes that eliminates you from the candidate group right away,” she said.
Martha Williams struggles with the same feeling. “I colored my hair brown,” she said. “I have beautiful gray hair. I loved it. But if they can just think, maybe, I’m two years younger, maybe I’ll just have that little bit of an edge.”
This is a fact of life that is only going to be made worse by the sudden and perhaps permanent contraction of the job market: women in the workforce are more easily discarded at an earlier age than men are — although I think this is not gender-specific, it tends to hit women harder. One doesn’t go through life day to day dwelling on that, but gray hair has never been helpful for a woman. It’s a fruit of life that makes it a little harder for her to eat. Perhaps teaching surplus people to starve gracefully and with a sense of meaning is the next growth industry.