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Chere Estrin’s “Are You Pretty Enough for your Job” was Featured in an Article on Fortune Magazine

10/27/21 Issue

Age discrimination is a problem. Botox isn’t the solution” the article’s author Emily Peck jumps right in …

“Even as companies struggle to hire amid labor shortages and the so-called Great Resignation, older workers are having trouble finding jobs. Particularly women.

Sixty-nine percent of female workers over 40-years-old, who were unemployed in June, were out of work for more than six months, according to a survey released by AARP last week. One reason? Age discrimination. Thirty-one percent of women who’ve looked for a job since turning 40 said age discrimination was an impediment, according to the survey.”

“Right now we have more job openings than people to fill them and yet people are feeling age discrimination at the same time,”

Susan Weinstock, vice president of financial resilience programming at AARP.

Susan is a veteran writer on discrimination. Yet on age discrimination she notices a difference:

“There’s a lot of victim blaming. Instead of garnering respect for their experience and skills, older workers are dismissed as tech neophytes, too clueless and wrinkly for the work world.

In other words, there is age discrimination even in the way people talk about age discrimination.”

She went on to talk about an interview she did with Chere Estrin:

“Maybe the most disheartening advice I heard in reporting on age discrimination came from Chere Estrin, a 71-year-old woman who runs a paralegal recruiting firm in California.

Estrin said a lot of discrimination against older people comes down to looks and attitude. She recruits workers for big AmLaw 200 firms. “I’m dealing with an elite crowd,” she said in an interview. “If you think looks don’t matter, you’re kidding yourself.”

Older workers say they can’t get a job because of their age, but that’s not the issue, she said: “People always tell me it’s age discrimination, if I dig into how they’re interviewing, presenting themselves and what they say, It’s not age discrimination,” she said. “If you show up looking like your grandma, yeah that may have an effect.”

Older workers also slip up in the way they talk at work, she said. Saying things like, “back in the day” or always talking about their “physical ailments” also remind people that you’re older, she said. “It’s more than a wrinkle here, a wrinkle there.

In a Zoom interview, Estrin looked great: Her trademark oversized red glasses frames popped and her skin looked dewy. In a blog poston her website she recently detailed her experience getting Botox and other work done to her face to feel better about herself.

She used her personal experience to offer some job advice, writing that attractive people make more money and are more successful. The headline of her piece, “Are You Pretty Enough for Your Job” struck a nerve.

“The implication there is something wrong-looking about an aging face. That your hard-earned experience isn’t enough…,” wrote one person in the comments.

Others noted that if the #MeToo era taught us anything it’s that women, particularly women of color, already face all kinds of double-standards and tricky situations when it comes to “looking pretty” for work.

Others were glad Estrin had gone public.

“Well everyone, I am a WBW (working Black woman), and you have no idea what I’ve gone through to be presentable in the work place!” one commenter wrote. “I’m speaking mainly about my ‘never gonna be blonde or straight’ hair. Do I like having to jump through all these hoops? No. Is it necessary in real life? Yes. “

Estrin told me she’s glad she got people talking. “I would rather it cause conversation and talk it through.”

Her argument certainly sounds convincing, and no one would argue that it doesn’t matter if you look presentable at work or in a job interview.” “

Emily goes on to contrast how money and power go along way to cutting through age discrimination – or most any kind of discrimination. “Does anyone care about Warren Buffet’s wrinkles?”

It’s a good read. Thank you Emily Peck for your work in addressing discrimination and letting us be a part of the dialog. We’re glad people are talking about it. It’s a small step, yet articles like these help move us forward.

Click image to read the full article on Fortune Magazine

The quotes are from Emily Peck’s Age discrimination is a problem. Botox isn’t the solution” published in Fortune Magazine 10/27/21

Editor – The Estrin Report