Friday , December 15 2017
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Job hunting at 50? Watch out for those Earshots


I WAS ONCE TOLD that the best revenge is immense success!

A dear friend was aghast when she went for an interview to hear the Director say to the Interviewer within earshot, “I don’t want to run an old folks home.” She could feel him gesturing with his head towards her in the room with the door ajar. Her colour rose and she turned crimson with indignant protest.

She’s a vivacious 55 and doesn’t look a day over 42. Is age a numbers game nowadays? Are 40-year-olds the only halter neck workhorses still worthy of being a work bitch? She mulled. I told her lightly, “Don’t suffer fools for things heard supposedly out of earshot.”

Even if someone comes up and tells you to retire to your face, there is really nothing you could do about it. I was 44 when it happened. Both men, one pushing 50. The other barely 30. I was considered old to some quarters in my industry.


Young man told me, “What’s the point for you to stay on, you’re aging. It is impossible to expect yourself to learn new softwares which even the 30-year-olds have problems learning now. Why torture yourself Aunty!”

Uncle mocked my 81kg frame, stingy hair and horn rim glasses.“I’m sure you can find some man to marry you after you’ve fixed yourself up. I mean, try to get some old White man to marry you, and you just do some housework and ferry them to doctor’s appointments. No need to have sex with them either since I don’t expect you to turn men on.”

Hurmph… Does it hurt? Did I cry? What do you think? I swallowed by pride and kept quiet. Instead I smiled, “A fool cries and wails at a funeral, for he doesn’t see his own mortality,” I reminded myself. I listen to the beat of a different drummer. I’m still gainfully employed. I just had a job offer which I turned down recently because of a commitment I made to see a project through.

I changed friends. I stopped hanging out with people who were negative. I kept away from the downers and bingers. I watched my food. I exercised and lost 15kg in the process. I upped my game and lowered my neckline. I started a writing career.  I became Kate Lew, writer.

I made friends with women. Those who mattered. The ones who egged me on to challenge me. Those who saw my potential, I learnt to listen and started to think well of myself. I changed my internal dialogue and started to think good about myself. I stopped having bad, sometimes gawd awful thoughts. My emotions stopped being hormone- driven. Ecstasy and despair were the common friends that I dropped like a hot potato.

I made women friends and we cheer each other on. As for the two men, one retired last Friday. The younger one has gone on to open his own practice, got annulled and changed several girlfriends in the space and time that I reinvented myself. I haven’t quite reached immense success but I’m starting to not let earshots affect my equilibrium.

And all is well in my world.

Affable Kate Lew dreams of seeing the dessert bloom and writes in quick succession, calls it burst of energy balls, balancing life in the FIT lane and paints imagery with visuals and badass poetry. (She wishes…). Kate is amiable to offers of coffee and conversations. Write her:


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