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12 January 2011

When I started my job in 1998 [More:]

I shared an office with a woman who had been at the organization for longer than anyone else. Today, after something in the range of 20 years of work, she was canned. Or rather, "laid off". It's true we're having enormous financial difficulty, but people much younger and less experienced are being kept while senior staff are being forced into demotions, having their hours cut, or getting fired.

I often wonder how the world would be different for the people I love if more non profits had unions. Grrr.

I've been formulating an AskMe along the lines of "what do I want to be when I get old." I feel very job insecure and my skill set, basically an effecient but quiet secreterial/admin type, well, those are the jobs that aren't coming back.

I'm sorry about your co-worker, serazin, it's hard on those who are left, too. I know.
posted by rainbaby 13 January | 08:57
I've had quite a few friends in their late fifties laid-off lately. It sucks to try to get a new job to try to bridge the last few years before retirement.
posted by octothorpe 13 January | 09:24
Technology advances were pushing people out of my field (commercial translation) more quickly in 1998 than they are today. It was an "adapt or die" turning point. I think I may be a member of the last generation who was lucky enough to specialize early and will keep my job until I retire, but I doubt there are many kids out there who will be lucky enough to make the good living that I do now. (I shouldn't even say that, *knocks on wood*) By 2050, I suspect everyone will have some version of a babblefish implanted in their ears, and we'll all understand each other perfectly, and there will no longer be any need for people like me or altolinguistic.
posted by msali 13 January | 10:25
*waves at msali* I'm pretty specialised, and am usually pretty busy. People have been talking about the rise of machine translation and the impending redundancy of translators since the 1950s but I don't see it happening any time soon.

I might need a more sociable career in the end, though, and I don't know what I might be qualified to do apart from translation...

Laying off the most experienced staff seems like short-sightedness to me. Surely a younger staff member will need more training, supervision etc, which would negate the difference in salary?
posted by altolinguistic 13 January | 10:36
*Waves back at alto* Word! A translator's career is very solitary, which suits me quite well, but my office social skills are probably very poor. If I ever needed to work out in the wild, I don't think I would fit in very well. I've been translating full time for nigh upon thirteen years, and I don't know how I would interact in public with other humans. I too am not qualified to anything else but translate. Maybe that will be the subject of an askme at a future date: What could translators be if they couldn't be translators?

Is this a common problem? Do people generally specialize so much they couldn't be anything else?
posted by msali 13 January | 12:20
I find "adapt or die" isn't the reason people get laid off as often as it is who puts up with the most for the least cost. Kick a 44 year old with a master's for a 22 year old with a GED? Yes!

22 year old doesn't meet the minimum government standards? She/he is "in training".

posted by arse_hat 14 January | 02:49
Anyone know how to || NPR has put a bee in my bonnet again!