People ask me why I don’t move back to Spain if I have no family in San Francisco. This question was immediately asked when I got separated. Nothing was then holding me back in the US. Although I truly love Spain, unfortunately, there are no opportunities for women my age.
Spain is a wonderful, friendly country, full of life and freedom. It’s especially safe for women. You can walk at night and streets are packed with people coming and going to and from work, or simply strolling and dining out. It’s alive! But, when it comes to finding a job, opportunities for women over 35 narrow down to almost nothing. All the experience in the world won’t get you in the door, even an interview. There are certain obstacles for us, men don’t always face.
An ad for a job posting goes somewhat like this: Seeking experienced female to fill immediate position for _______________. Requirements: Good looking, age 22-35, and a long list of skills and prerequisites that include sending in a CV with a picture, marital status, age, and experience. So, for someone my age, 51, I’m practically no longer eligible for any job.
The US on the other hand values experience. Age is not so much of an obstacle. Besides, it’s against the law to ask questions regarding age, marital status, whether you have children or your looks! You never provide a picture, although nowadays we have LinkedIn which provides plenty of information for employers to explore. But, it’s your choice to include whatever you feel relevant.
I’ve never been questioned for being a certain age in the US. As a teacher, at my age, I’m still very enthusiastic, in shape and thanks to the positions I’ve always had in schools or universities, it has been a pleasure to be respected and valued, which has made my job very enjoyable. Going to work has never been a drag because the environments I’ve taught in have been amazing and cordial. A lot of care is taken with maintaining a good work environment. Happy employees, make more profits! This, the US has nailed!
I do, however, get to enjoy both worlds. In the US I work and enjoy it. In Spain, I spend my summers with family and friends.
I sure hope Spain changes it’s work ethics and starts valuing experience, which actually comes with age. It may be a more expensive hire, but it surely would reap great results. Also, it would increase production by creating a happier work environment, where bosses are not the bad man, but an example to follow becoming more accessible and relatable.