Stephanie Jeffery Carlino – The Ageism Problem is Pathetic

June 13, 2006

Hon. Tom Suozzi

Nassau County Executive

One West Street

Mineola, New York 11501

Dear County Executive Suozzi,

I am writing to you as a concerned resident of Nassau County and on behalf of the “desperate job seekers” who reside here. We just had our weekly breakfast “pep talk,” if you will, and the results are still the same. Resumes and interviews later, we still don’t have jobs.

We have grown up here, were educated here and raised our families here. Many of them went to local colleges. My daughter and her family reside in Queens because they cannot afford Nassau County.

I very much want to stay a resident of Nassau County—my family and friends are here. My home is here. We have been unemployed for about three years—all of us college graduates who previous to this, were highly employed individuals, at the top of our game. Now, we are unemployed. Each of us is coping with the skills we have. I have taken a mortgage on my previously paid off home, in a last ditch effort to remain here. I will be selling within a year if things don’t change.

We are a group that has fallen between the cracks – 50 and over. The older employee has become a throw away—experience and the loyalty and work ethic that we were trained with have no value today.  It’s the youngest who get the jobs. When comparing interviews we hear the same phrases repeatedly “they want someone with less experience that they can mold,” “how long do you plan to remain in this job?” and the one that blew my mind, was when I was told “I can’t believe you would want this job, it seems like such a come down”. I’m sure that this a politically correct way of saying they want someone who will work for less. But, ironically, we have realized that we, despite our previous salaries, are willing to work for the same salary. I should point out, these are with reputable companies, names you know well.

Recent articles are focusing on the older employee, but to date, our government has done nothing to indicate they are aware of this problem. My friend in Florida sent me an article touting Nassau County as the best place to live, and I used to think that myself.  How sad, that in addition to driving out young people with the high cost of living, an older generation, who have worked to make Nassau County what is today, are now being forced out.

All things considered, we are looking forward to finding employment. We do not give up, we meet weekly to encourage each other and share leads.

I would appreciate it if you would look into this. Perhaps hiring someone of our age to work with the your Department of Labor to research this and come up with a plan. Maybe there is money out there to help us.

An overwhelming amount of people voted for you; you had it all. You were young, energetic and we were hopeful. You had new ideas and a young family and we were counting on the fact that you wanted the best for them. You inspired us and we believed.  Sadly, we are disappointed.

I would welcome the opportunity to hear your thoughts and what you believe would be a course of action that would be of assistance.  Hiring people with experience should be a plus, not a negative.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Jeffery Carlino

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