More and more people are choosing to keep working at an advanced age when they could consider retirement. Although these workers have a lot of experience in their area of expertise, joining a younger workforce poses some challenges. Some employers think that older adults may be slower or less familiar with current technology and practices. For such reasons, employers might overlook older workers who are overqualified or unsuited to some positions. The Monster.com article titled ‘Job Interview Tips for Older Workers’ offers some pointers to older workers on how they should present themselves as excellent candidates for a job position. The tips offered in this article would be suitable for Linda Loman to pitch to her husband, Willy Loman, from the play ‘Death of A Salesman.’
The first point that the article makes is that an older worker should be confident but humble. Older workers such as Willy may need to keep working for longer due to financial needs, for example Willy needed to pay for his car and home appliances. Some older workers may feel that their long years of experience entitle them to look down upon younger workers who are not as experienced. Willy Loman is guilty of lacking humility in the play. Willy considers himself a successful salesman and likes to brag about his experience. Despite his claims of success, Willy can hardly afford to pay for his car and the appliances in their home. During the course of the play, Willy is fired from his job. He resorts to asking Charley for a loan, and Charley responds by offering him a job. At his advanced age, Willy has low prospects for a job offer. However, he refuses to take Charley’s offer. Willy tells Charley, “I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why” (Miller Act 2). Linda should advise Willy to remain confident in his abilities and be humble enough to take the opportunity offered to him. Willy likely thought the job offer beneath him, a negative attitude for an older worker trying to get a job.
Another point the article makes is that an older worker should take age off the table. Willy Loman insists on keeping a traveling job from New York to New England, although it is difficult for him to make the journey at his advanced age. When he was younger, it was an easy job for him, but as he got older, he got more tired. Linda Loman, in this case, should advise her husband to take a job in the New York office that doesn’t require much traveling. Rather than talk about his age as the main factor, Willy should leverage his experience as an asset. Willy should tell his bosses that he thinks his experience would best be used training a new generation of salespeople. Given the long years he has put into his work; his bosses would let him take on a lighter training role in New York. Older workers should realize that the first thought for many employers is that they are old and slow. They should counter this narrative by presenting the advantages that years of experience give them.
In summary, the article on older workers fits perfectly with Willy Loman’s situation. Linda Loman would be the ideal advisor to her husband; given the many years she has devoted to supporting his dreams. Linda should encourage him to be confident but humble and take age off the table by proving that he can adapt to any situation. Like many older workers, Willy seems to resent the changes taking place in his profession and thinks of any other position as unworthy of his experience. Older workers first need a change of mindset that includes embracing change, which will help them navigate the new workplace. Works Cited
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman: Revised Edition. Penguin, 1996.
Monster.com. “Job Interview Tips for Older Workers.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 14 February 2021, p. H1.