Jobs4.0 (

Jobs4.0 (

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Short Circuit City

An article in The New York Times this week analyzed the layoffs of over 3,400 workers at Circuit City.
The article accepted the company's statements that the layoffs were not because 'the employees were doing a bad job and not because the company was eliminating their positions." Instead, Circuit City said that they were fired because they wanted to replace the workers - most in their 40s, 50s and 60s - with lower paid workers. The Times reporter approvingly added, without any citations, that "experience isn't quite as valuable as we might like to believe."
Even assuming that's true- and Albert Einstein among many others would disagree with the Times' reporter - it seems to me that these layoffs are simply ageism run amok. How many of the older, fired workers were given the chance to keep their jobs at a reduced salary? Apparently this wasn't part of the Circuit City game plan. Seems to me that they wanted to fire older workers en masse, and they did.

That very same day, the Times coincidentally ran two articles that had the (unintended) effect of proving just how shameful and illogical Circuit City's actions were. One was a piece on an 81 year old high school teacher who delights students with his unique perspectives and methods. The other was a book review - a glowing book review - of a memoir called 'The Invisible Wall'. The Times gushed over its powerful impact. The author happens to be 96 years old - yes 96. Each of them would have been fired by Circuit City 40 years earlier! 40 years!!! Each of these productive members of society are considered too old and too unproductive - by the Times and much of corporate America - to sell TV's, but they can delight hundreds of high school kids a week and write powerful, intense books. What a shame for Circuit City, and all of us.

I don't expect we'll see them on Jobs4.0 anytime soon.
Maybe we should take some lessons from recent events and threaten to boycott stores that openly practice ageism.

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