Would We Fire Older Workers If We Could?

I went to grad school for Communication Studies in the early nineties. In our class of 20 was a young man from a small Asian country that I won’t mention—he was a marketer for his nation’s airline (government-owned) at the time. Just before arriving in Chicago to dive into graduate school, Vic had initiated the launch of an exciting new marketing campaign for the airline. In our first after-class get-together, he filled us in on the program. “It’s not just a new slogan or a set of advertisements,” he told our the 20- and 30-somethings gathered at the pub. “It’s a full-out cultural change for our company. We’re taking a fresh approach to our look and feel, and need a new approach in our thinking to go along with it. That’s why we’ve asked the older members of our staff, everyone over 50, to resign, and we’re hiring in a fresh bunch of kids to take the company forward.”

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