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Would you ever tell anyone they are "old"?

(10 Posts)
needbrainbleach Sat 31-Oct-15 07:14:16

We went away with SIL and her family last weekend. On our first day she and I were walking together on a beach while the others were flying a kite. I started telling her about the course I am doing on a Monday (Award in Education and Teaching) which incidentally she recommended that I do (she has the diploma) when I had said that I wanted to maybe go back into TEFL, saying that my RSA Certificate was too old (I did that about 23 years ago I think).

She said that it was possible to get a teaching job without this confused and that ever since the courses stopped being free, they were not a legal requirement. I told her the person running my course had said teachers with the Diploma had been laid off so just having the Award might not be enough to get work, but she said this was not true (confused I said maybe this was happening at his college but she was having none of it) and that at her CFE loads of people had started teaching with no qualification. We live in different towns which may account for this in any case.

She asked how my TA work was going (after 13 years as a SAHM I had a 7 week contract as a TA last summer term). I said that I had had very little work from the agency this first half term (though I do have 4.5 days booked over the next 2 weeks) - probably due to being available Tuesday to Friday - but that I hadn't minded too much as I had been doing essays for my course. She then said that when she had done her diploma she had been working. I know she is right and that I could work and do my course but I have been really busy with my 3 dc from 3.15 pm onwards, sometimes driving my h around during the day when he is doing a job where there is no parking, sorting parts of the house out, looking after my dd2 when she was ill at home for 4 days last week etc.. (In a different conversation she was derisory about this last (as my dd used to hate school and sometimes be "ill" but at 9 she has outgrown this) and even when I said that her attendance had got a lot better and that she had been physically sick she ignored me and kept this I know better "she is such a skiver" gleeful/scornful look on her face.)

I then said I had applied for some administration NHS jobs and told her about the different things I was thinking of doing and she told me that at 47 I am old (I am 46, she is 47 but she never gets my age right) and that I will soon be 60. That if I don't get a move on I will be 50 soon and no one will want me.

I felt like crying at this point as I suppose this all taps into my insecurities - feelings of low self esteem. I said that one thing I was scared of was going into a workplace where everyone was 20 years younger and she said there would be loads of "dumpy 40 year olds" working for the NHS. I said I was not a dumpy 40 year old (a bit silly as I am 46 and a little overweight but then again I have also been overweight in my 20s) and she said "oh yes you are" hmm.

So these are the elements of the conversation that I can't forget. She said other things - that I didn't want to be like her sister who never really went back to work after having her 3 dc and who at 63 is now very bitter. That there is loads of work out there. That I shouldn't worry about the future but take it week by week. That she had never been given things hmm and had always done any work.

I am a procrastinator so I do need a kick up the bum but I basically came away from the conversation tearful and feeling that I had been called fat, old, unattractive and soon to be unwanted.

My course finishes in December so I suspect the agency work will pick up then. I am also looking at the possibility of being an NHS bank admin worker - depends on which pays better though the advantage of being a TA is being able to be there in the school holidays.

Anyway, feel like scrubbing the whole conversation from my brain!

merrymouse Sat 31-Oct-15 07:22:19

From what you are saying you are looking at loads of ways of getting back to work and rather than procrastinating you are actively retraining, gaining experience and applying for jobs.

If 50 is too old to work we are all stuffed as that is a couple of decades before most of us can expect to retire!

I think the only conclusion you can draw is that your SIL should not seek employment as a careers advisor without perhaps going on some kind of interpersonal skills course!

merrymouse Sat 31-Oct-15 07:23:46

But it sounds as though she was just trying to be encouraging, albeit in a rather discouraging way.

junebirthdaygirl Sat 31-Oct-15 08:22:57

I think because ye are both the same age it's not that bad as she is really talking about herself as well. You probably took it harder as it's your own worry as well. Let it go. She meant to be helpful if a bit too blunt but l presume that's her personality and you know her by now.

TopOfTheCliff Sat 31-Oct-15 08:35:11

You have learned that your SIL is a negative joy sucker and you should keep her at arms length. Who cares about her motivation? She is making herself feel good by running you down and sneering at you. Avoid her and surround yourself with positive kind people who support you.

needbrainbleach Sat 31-Oct-15 11:54:20

Thank you. I agree with everybody - that she was in her own way trying to be encouraging, trying to make me "see sense", that it's less rude because we are the same age, and that she is negative/depressing - not cut out to be a careers adviser. I keep on telling myself I should keep her at arm''s length but when she is not in a mood and wants to be nice she can be very nice, so I forget / think things have changed.

SwedishEdith Sat 31-Oct-15 11:59:42

I think she's just straight talking and has tapped into your fears that you're getting older and it's going to be harder to find work.

needbrainbleach Sat 31-Oct-15 12:45:03

We're all getting older all of the time aren't we? She comes out with some quite ageist stuff - calling her 57 year old brother an "old man" for example. Saying her 61 and 63 year old sisters have "old biddy" type conversations...

I find her extreme realism / pragmatism depressing and would rather be around positive people (as top suggested) even if I am living in cloud cuckoo land.

fusspot66 Sat 31-Oct-15 12:53:02

She sounds like an absolute cow.
Ignore her.

AlwaysHope1 Sat 31-Oct-15 12:58:34

I think she's actually been quite straightforward about it and not giving you a false sense of reality, which might be what you needed to hear. You have a few insecurities which may be clouding her advice.

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