A Micro-Scoop

Recently, I completed Title IX training, as required by my employer. Title IX is directed at discrimination and discriminatory acts in the workplace.

Two training options were offered: an in-person presentation where one would listen to a live presenter and an online “edition.” I opted for the latter. Because I’m modern.

Approximately 50 slides comprised the “course.” For most, text would appear, sweeping onscreen one bullet point at a time, offering information and instruction. Pupils punch (probably a bad word choice) the “next” button to advance through the lesson.

Sidebar: what is the difference between online education and correspondence courses? And just what’s so novel about the former? In 1909, designer Dard Hunter at Roycroft (East Aurora, New York, which is, in fact, west of Aurora, NY) enrolled nearly 150 students in his jewelry-making correspondence school.

Discrimination can occur as a result of one’s membership in any number of social groups or cohorts. Sex, race, and age are demographic examples, among many others.

At my age, age resonates.

And, thanks to this tutorial, and with my consciousness now appropriately (if insufficiently) raised, I’m pretty sure I’ve uncovered a heretofore unnoticed or under-reported form of discrimination: The Retirement Party.

Typically, we don’t have “You’ve Been Hired” or “This is Your First Day at Work With Us” or “You Just Joined Our Group” parties. There are no similar event markers for steady employment for two years, five months and 26 days.

But, for some reason, retirement is singled out for “celebration.” Attendance is often populated by many strangers with no acquaintance with the one retiring. In the less-gentle world, we called such people “moochers.”

What gives?

More significantly, what’s the solution? Were we to abandon retirement parties, which seems only fair in light of the above evidence, what are the consequences?

Fewer sheet cakes? That would increase unemployment among bakers. Lower demand for cheese and crackers? That would likely put a cramp in the laxative industry. Less opportunity for speeches featuring half a dozen false conclusions?

Unless someone speaks out about the Retirement Party problem, its hegemony will persist.

It’s a thorny problem with no solution in sight.

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