Thursday, January 19, 2012

Too Old to Write?

If you aspire to be a flight attendant with MAS or SIA, you must be young, svelte and pretty - or at the very least pleasing to the eye, coz it er.... soothes the nerves of travellers? Well I never quite understood the emphasis on looks in terms of being an air hostess.

OK fine, perhaps it's because you have to walk up and down a narrow aisle in a tight kebaya, so you gotta be young, lithe and fit. But is one ever too old to be a writer and write good copy? Especially if a person is still in their 30s? The last time I checked, being in your 30s means being in your prime.

So naturally I was surprised bordering aghast when I came across this job advertisement from JobStreet in my inbox sometime ago.

In a nutshell Avon Cosmetics is looking for a copywriter between 23 to 35 years old. This is the first time I am seeing a job advertisement with an age limit. I'm 34 years old, should I apply? Even if the job was the right fit for my talents, I would give it a miss. Why? Because working for a company that practices ageism makes me uncomfortable.

When I first came across this advert, I tried to examine the reasons why the hiring company might have worded it in that manner:

They might have wanted to filter out candidates who are too senior in experience. If that was the case, should they not have written years of experience required? The advert only states that a candidate should have a minimum of two years experience, no maximum. However age and experience are two different things, a younger person might have chalked up more working experience than an older person who could have started out later.

Maybe the target market for their cosmetics are young women, so they assume that a younger writer would be able to relate better to this bracket of consumers? Doesn't quite gel.......from what I know, a lot of older women use Avon Cosmetics too, I have many aunties who do! They consider it a trusted brand which they have used through the years.

Even if Avon was targeting a younger segment of consumers, I don't see why an older writer would not be able to write great copy to entice this market. The job of a writer is to put themselves in the shoes of the person they are communicating to and write copy that will appeal to their chosen audience.

To do this, a writer does not have to belong to the same social strata/age group/ have the same likes or dislikes/ be of the same sex. All they need is good research skills, the ability to put themselves in the shoes of their target audience and great writing skills of course!

So Avon Cosmetics you're either indulging in ageism or your hiring manager can't even write a proper job advertisement. I sure hope there aren't many companies out there with a similar mentality, for it sure ain't good news for people with great talent and a wealth of experience who unfortunately don't fall within a certain age bracket.


Small Kucing said...

i thought in terms of writing, it's the experience that counts....hmmm

Jivani said...

What the hell? This is the first time i'm seeing this for a job advertisement myself. Ridiculous!

Jothi said...

Exactly Kathy!

Jothi said...

Jivani, it's so discriminatory lar.

Nava.K said...

That does not sound right, basically its discrimination against age and now that retirement age has been increased, wonder what is Avon up too.

People are move alive and kicking these days even if age catches up and sure they bring plenty of experience.
Sad that Avon cannot get their bearing straight on this.

Nava.K said...

Btw, seems like you stay up quite late too. I got into my bed and just could sleep, now back on my laptop trying to write and hopefully this will get me tired and I can hit the bed again.

Jothi said...

Hullo Nava! Yes I'm the proverbial night owl :D I just hope more companies do not practice such discrimination

Emily C. said...

I think you should apply! Give it a shot! :)

Jothi said...

Hullo Emily! Nah don't think so. That kind of thing puts me off.