Who You Calling Old?

With layoffs looming with every LinkedIn and Facebook request, I’m not sure whether I just know more people, or if I’m at “that age” where my demographic is the one quickly targeted for immediate, efficient cost-savings. 
Fired.  Outsourced. 
Bought out.  Early retirement. 
Downsized.  Packages?
Laid Off.  Resourced. 
It’s easy to cut the old guys; we often make more money, don’t understand reality tv or Twitter, require more health benefits, and actually use family leave and personal and sick days for ailing parents or children or spouses. 
Long considered dead weight on a sinking ship, we're a somewhat obvious call. Fire the old guys. Except when you don’t really want that ship . . . or plane . . . to sink.

Case in Point: US Airways Flight 1549.

That flight . . . that beautiful, graceful flight landed miraculously . . . if you believe in that sort of thing . . . not in, but on the Hudson, manned and woman-manned by an experienced, seasoned – yes, even OLDer – crew.  Yes luck, or miracles, and a serendipitous river may have had something to do with it, but more-so did the combined 35,306 flight hours of the pilot and co-pilot, and the combined 92 years of experience the flight attendants accumulated over their tenure.

In these trying times, go ahead, add fresh, new, cutting-edge and yes, cost effective employees to a company. Do more with less. Merge, combine, downsize and blend. But it is absolutely negligent to dismiss the years of been there, done that experience seasoned professionals bring to the table. Just as we often dismiss our parents as out-of-touch and behind-the-times, perhaps it would be beneficial to pause, reflect, and remember: been there, done that could actually add value, save time, energy, the almighty dollar, and perhaps even lives.

Families in Charlotte, in New York, and around the world are sitting at their kitchen tables today because of how well Flight 1549 did their job. Thank you isn't nearly enough, but words are all I have.

Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, III Age 58, joined US Airways (PSA Airlines) 1980,  19,663 flights hours

First officer Jeffrey B. Skiles Age 49, joined US Airways (USAir) 1986, 15,643 flight hours

Flight attendant, Shelia Dail Age 57, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) 1980, 28+ years experience

Flight attendant, Doreen Welsh Age 58, joined US Airways (Allegheny Airlines) 1970, 38+ years experience

Flight attendant, Donna Dent Age 51, joined US Airways (Piedmont Airlines) 1982, 26+ years experience



  1. You are right on about the sick days. When was the last time you left work early for a manicure appointment? Experience has to count for something other than being the old one on the job!

  2. I agree that experience is something that should be (and often isn't) rewarded. We recently had an overhaul in our office where in a short span of time approx. 7 (oldtimer) emplyees were let go and replaced with teens and 20 somethings. While I have no problem hiring new kids off the block, replacing that much experience with an unmotivated, basically lazy group of teens was very frustrating. By now half of the teen hires have left (didn't like the real work concept) and the crew that remains who have been there for a year are our experienced staff, YIKES.