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Be careful to not discriminate against young people either. Assuming developers in their 20s are naive and underpaid is just as insulting as attitudes towards older developers.

This isn't necessarily an indictment of you. I'm just a little sick of people stereotyping younger developers on Hacker News when the truth is that most of us get great value for our time and are well aware of the choices we make.




Hi I'm 32. I noticed some candidates show visible displeasure when being interviewed by younger interviewers. I know many interviewees and interviewers who have experienced this.


At 34, I interviewed at $BIG_SV_CO with two late 20s engineers. Not a huge age gap. In the discussion portion of the interview I asked if they were on xbox, ps4, battle.net, etc -- because I like to game occasionally in my spare time. They seemed almost offput by the question, as if they thought I was trying to force commonality or making assumptions about them. I dunno, it was weird.


I notice sometimes I get a little offput when people start off a videogame conversation by asking me what network I'm on. It just sounds/feels a little weird, depending on how it is phrased.

It feels more natural if it progresses through asking what games I've played


I'm not trying to be harsh but isn't that an odd thing to bring up in a job interview?


Nah, it was the "so when you're outside of work, what do you like to do?" part of the interview. Not like I was whiteboarding code one moment and then all "so, GTA 5, huh?" the next.


LOL, sure that makes sense. Cheers.


Having been on the flip-side of ageism - being the young person in fields traditionally led / managed / etc by those in their 40s or older - I'm very unsympathetic to this kind of discussion. I had to wade through years of inflated expectations (BA + 5 years experience + tech skills = $35k / year job) and put-downs about actually understanding technology ("We old people do the important work, you just make it look good") that I'm rather bitter and sometimes it shows. Well, turnabout's fair play, and this is, without question, an example of it.


I'm barely 30 so don't take this as some graybeard being snarky, because I too waded through years of bullshit in my early and mid 20s.

A. Turnabout is not fair play; two wrongs do not make a right, especially when your wrong is to discriminate against people other than those who may have discriminated against you

B. Inflated expectations != discrimination

C. Discriminating against someone because they are too old is illegal; discriminating against someone because they are too young is not (both are equally wrong).

D. "I'm rather bitter and sometimes it shows" - Get over it.


What I'm getting at is that A. isn't really a problem at all - if one doesn't have the marketable skills to "win" a job then pointing at any one issue (age, in this case) is simply coping / self-serving, because what I meant by turnabout is that "do unto others" is a principle that the world doesn't run on and thinking otherwise is naive whether 25 or 65.

It is completely discriminatory in B. when the only people who could possibly meet those inflated expectations can not logically be under the age of 30. I've seen this far too often to dismiss it as occasional - it is/was systemic.

It's the burden of the accuser to claim they were discriminated against because of age, and as we can see, there's no qualms with making lots and lots of articles and "think-pieces" out of the hypothesis. Sometimes "older" workers have unreasonably inflated senses of skills and/or worth, and can't take the ego blow, so, off to coping (see A) above.

Haha thanks for the armchair therapy with D., it's worth every penny from your barely 30 perspective.


> Sometimes "older" workers have unreasonably inflated senses of skills and/or worth, and can't take the ego blow

I've seen this more with younger workers. In fact, that was me exactly 10 years ago.


This is the equivalent of someone making a job site for black people to get jobs, and saying "be careful not to discriminate against whites!".


No, it's not. I have no problem with someone making a job site for older folks.

My problem is when that site is accompanied by an attitude of old developers being better. Likewise, I would absolutely object to a job site for black people marketing itself by disparaging white people: "give tech companies your white and naive to burn them out and make them piles of cash."


We old developers _are_ better.

I, for one, have a lush neck beard and am seriously contemplating going with the sandals with socks look.


I delight my coworkers with dad jokes.


Old tech workers who have been making good money for decades are not a disadvantaged group.


Except old people are objectively better off in the US.

It must be such a hard life, not having huge student debt and already having equity in a house so you can afford to turn down the 60 hour jobs. If only everyone understood how much you deserve it better than those young people.


I mean we're not talking about Baby Boomers here, chief.

There are millennials staring 40 in the face right now. People who graduated college in the late 90s/early 2000s are in their mid- to late-30s. The guy who posted this site is one of those people (though I think he misses the "millennial" cut off by 1 year).

Those of us in this age bracket are "old" by startup standards/stereotypes. I promise you college and home-buying wasn't terribly different 15-20 years ago than it is now. Still plenty of opportunity to go into incredible debt. And hell, 2016's 45-year-old who bought his first house in, say, 2000, may just have watched his home's value crash in 2006/2007.

So maybe just tone it down.


> There are millennials staring 40 in the face right now.

i'm one of these, and i don't consider myself a millennial.

anyone who's legitimately used a rotary phone (or even just seen one in use) in a non-ironic way should not be considered a millennial.


My parents still have a rotary phone (because it still works even when the power goes out)... I get what you're saying, but in areas with tetchy power, most homes have kept old phones.


Why?


Rotary phones are from the 70's and earlier.


> Rotary phones are from the 70's and earlier.

The last rotary phone I saw for sale was, I think, in the 1980s, the last one I saw in use was in the 2000s. Its quite possible that someone could be a millennial and have used one (IIRC, we used one in my house until 1986 -- the other phones in the house were touch tone -- and only ditched it because we happened to move.)


Sure, I remember rotaries hanging out for a while after that, but they were gone most places by the mid-80's in the US. Not to mention those in museums.


This is US centric. Rotaries were in use in EU way into middle 90s at least.


and people born in the 70s aren't millenials.

Really, the oldest are mid 30s, and I think even that is a stretch.


It's not a stretch, generations generally span about 15 years and millennial is what people settled on. I'm 32 and we were always part of generation Y/millennials.

Most sources put the end of generation X as 1980. So unless you want to come up with a micro-generation for people born between 1980-1985, we're stuck in the millennial group.

The thing is that if we stick with a 15 year span, the youngest people who should really be called millennials are around 21 or 22, but it seems like each year the lower bound for millennial grows (I occasionally see news reports referring to children as millennials).

I'm assuming this trend will stop when we settle on a name for the next generation.


Yet rotary phones were still very common in the 80s, and my grandparents still had one in the early 90s. So people born in the early 80s, which qualifies as millennial, very likely used them.


Until 2000-something (and they might still have it) the Harwich MA public library had a rotary phone that patrons could use to make calls. The typical use case was middle schoolers who's parents forgot to pick them up (the middle school ran a bus to the library) when the library was 30min from closing.


Yep, my grandma had a rotary phone until well into the 90s. She was still paying the phone company to rent it as well.


Tell me more about all the places where a home bought in 2000 is worth less now, and all the colleges where tuition was not 50% cheaper in the 90s.


My home bought in ~2004 was recently appraised at half what I purchased it for in real dollars (in Chicago)...

Tuition for the college I went to is around ~18% more expensive now than when I went in inflation adjusted terms, the loans you can get now to cover them are around half of what I paid between 1996-2000 (at a state school). I haven't done the math to see how that all breaks out for real cost differences, but I'll concede college is more expensive now.

Also if you've graduated in the last 6 years or less, you've come into a job situation that is phenomenally better than that of someone who graduated from 1990-94 or from 2002-2006, which has probably a bigger impact on your lifetime earnings than your generation (think how capricious that is).


Sure, tuition was cheaper. Doesn't mean it was cheap. And when future you is talking to a 20-year-old, they'll be lambasting you about how easy your life was when a 4-year degree from a public instituion only cost you $80,000.

If you're truly ignorant of the subprime mortgage crisis a few years back, you can check out The Big Short (book or movie, but I'm told the book is much better) for good insight into history and mechanics.

Point is that the economy has changed a LOT in the last 15 years, and lots and lots of people suffered. Generation X is not the Baby Boom generation. I think you sound a bit foolish/ignorant appropriating the "Baby Boomers ruined the economy!" rhetoric and applying it to the generation-and-a-half that followed them.


I'm aware that home prices dropped in 2008. I'm also aware that they settled at a level significantly above the prices of 2000. Check any of the home price indices if you don't believe me.


Yes, home prices tend to increase on average. Not sure what your point is. Are you implying that when you are ready to buy a house they will start depreciating?


Unfortunately for people my age, home prices have been growing faster than incomes recently.


Home price growth is independent of age and is heavily dependent on location.

You are trying way too hard to make yourself sound like a victim.


I don't generally think of myself as a victim. It seems that my income puts me in the top 1% for my age (just about any 6 figure salary will do that). It's all my classmates and friends I'm worried about.


> There are millennials staring 40 in the face right now

The usual starting point for the Millenial generation is a birth year of 1980; if 36 is "starting 40 in the face", it is not from a particularly close distance.

And that's the absolute leading edge.


Yeah, this. There is ageism out there, and it happens younger in tech than in other industries, but it's far less of an issue than all other forms of hiring discrimination I can think of.

I've been a part of hundreds of interviews for dozens of engineering positions at a variety of companies and organizations. While I have witnessed clear-cut ageism with qualified older candidates, it's with the distinct minority of older candidates, and typically only with borderline ones. Compare to even the most qualified female candidates, where there's almost always a strong undercurrent of sexism, or non-Asian minority candidates, where there's almost always a strong undercurrent of racism^.

So I won't deny that ageism is a problem but - in the case of white dudes - it's the jolt of a sudden uphill at the end of a couple decades of easy slightly downhill coast. Compared to continuous vertical climb that women and non-Asian minorities have to put up with in engineering, it's a pretty modest problem that the affected have both ample time and opportunity to prepare for.

^- The tech industry isn't, at least in my experiences, blatantly racist/sexist these days. Anecdotally, women and minorities have an easier time making it through HR/recruiter screening. It's a more subtle and pernicious effect in tech interviews, where correct answers are overscrutinized for flaws and even marginally incorrect answers are blown out of proportion. Never seen this with older (white/Asian, male) candidates.


I know that women have many problems working in tech. But are you sure they have a harder problem interviewing in tech overall? I'm absolutely sure there are engineers who will overscrutinize their interview solutions, but there are also many companies who have initiatives targeted specially at hiring more women. I've even heard first hand of companies specifically hiring women to train in order to boost the number of female engineers.


Like I said, anecdotally. And I'm not talking about company policy, I'm talking about the behavior of individual engineers/managers during and after interviews. Even if a company has a policy that it WANTS to hire more women, it needs the people actually conducting the interviews on board for that policy to be meaningful.


Life tends to compound good and bad choices. Mistakes you made in the last 10 years (student debt) has nothing like the mistakes you can make over 40 years. ex: Making my student debt payments is hard, I know I will just defer them.




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