Squirk's Overseas Experience

The tales of one Kiwi returning to Mother Britain and exploring the Big Wide World... without being eaten by a shark.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What have I done?

The job in Amsterdam looked pretty good, although I had a few concerns. I would have liked to have a few offers on the table before making a decision, but they wanted an answer sharpish. I figured it would be an interesting experience either way, and as an added bonus I'd be able to squeeze in a trip home before I started work.

I'd probably be home right now, in fact, were it not for one or two words.

I verbally accepted the offer, mentioning that the salary was a bit lower than I'd like (despite the wonderful benefits). The recruitment agent, bless him, came back with their answer: (emphasis mine)

That threw me. Blatant age discrimination? It sure sounded like it. I tried to think of alternative explanations: maybe they meant to type based on his range of experience but made a couple of typos? Nothing seemed plausible, except that someone was actually considering my age to be a significant factor for pay.

The recruiter didn't understand, and thought I was being unreasonable. He claimed that if I was really interested in the job, I wouldn't let something as silly as unfair discrimination get in my way. I know my morals have taken a beating from life in the big city, but I hope that I'd do the same thing if an otherwise perfect job came with a 2% bonus for white employees.

The short of it is, I'm not taking the job.

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  • At 2:41 pm AEST, Blogger Jon said…

    That's very principled of you! I doubt if I would have even noticed....

  • At 2:51 pm AEST, Blogger Joel said…

    I admire that you've taken a stand over it despite the benefits and attractiveness of the workplace. Perhaps if they apologised for it, then it'd be worth reconsidering.

    I'm not sure I would've noticed it myself either. But then I haven't worked outside of University so industry would all be new and unknown.

  • At 5:09 pm AEST, Blogger Squirk said…

    I was prepared to forgive them if they offered an explanation or an apology-with-action-plan.

    They tried to make it up by re-negotiating on salary, but I told them that wasn't the point and wasn't prepared to continue discussion until this age issue was sorted.

    I've since pursued other opportunities, but I'd like to keep hounding them (on principle).

  • At 11:22 pm AEST, Blogger Pru said…

    hey squirk,

    Hope you are still exporing those other opportunities! Was writing cause I have been visiting your blog and i think you would be great for a new network of blogs we are launching - called BigOE. It will basically be a network of blogs written by working travellers from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, South Africa etc, and people will be able to make comments, rate blogs, vote for their favourites etc. If you're interested to find out more, send me an email at bigoe.net@gmail.com (or you can visit my blog http://www.bigoe.blogspot.com) and leave me a message! Hope to hear from you soon.

  • At 10:35 am AEST, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Go Rob!

    Sock it to them :P Working where I do I see this sort of this all the time. If they are discriminating against you before you even start working there it doesnt bode well at all.
    We really need to catch up :( let me know when you will be next on msn or are able to call me.....

    DJ :)

  • At 11:50 am AEST, Blogger Ben said…

    If they want you to work in any sort of customer relations role I can understand why they may be concerned about your age. Older guys will suit a position of authority because people automatically assume they know what they are talking about (even if they don't) because they are old.

    It's shitty but true, workplace discrimination is widespread and common, there is no real way to stop it or legislate against it. Although if you got that in writing you could probably bone them...

    Just be thankful you aren't a 20 something yr old woman in a long term relationship. They get the short end of the stick every time - no employer wants to take the risk of losing you to maternity leave so it's easier to just hire guys.


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