Ex-Apple Engineer Rejected For Genius Bar Job Adds Fuel To Ageism Debate

His story is all too familiar for older people in Silicon Valley.

JK Scheinberg has quite the resume. He was one of the Apple engineers instrumental in moving the Mac to Intel processors.

But when he tried to re-enter the workforce after retiring, he found it wasn’t so easy to get a job with his former employer.

Scheinberg retired at the age of 54 ― after 21 years at Apple ― and later decided he wanted to get a new job to keep himself busy. He interviewed for a position with the Genius Bar, a tech support station at Apple retail stores that is run by people with extensive knowledge about the products’ hardware and software.

Scheinberg didn’t get the job. 

His experience was briefly featured by The New York Times in a Sept. 3 op-ed about ageism. From the piece:

A little restless after retiring in 2008, at 54, he figured he’d be a great fit for a position at an Apple store Genius Bar, despite being twice as old as anyone else at the group interview. “On the way out, all three of the interviewers singled me out and said, ‘We’ll be in touch,’ ” he said. “I never heard back.”

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act is supposed to shield people 40 and up from ageism in the workplace. The measure “forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.”

“Tech luminaries who otherwise pride themselves on their dedication to meritocracy don’t think twice about deriding the not-actually-old,” writes Noam Scheiber for the New Republic in 2014. “’Young people are just smarter,’ Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience at Stanford back in 2007. As I write, the website of ServiceNow, a large Santa Clara–based I.T. services company, features the following advisory in large letters atop its ‘careers’ page: ‘We Want People Who Have Their Best Work Ahead of Them, Not Behind Them.’” 

In 2014, the average age of an employee at Apple was just 31 years old with 5.6 years of experience.   

Apple was not immediately available to comment to The Huffington Post, but Scheinberg took to Twitter and mused about possibly landing the Genius Bar job now that his story is public. 

He also had some reading recommendations. 




Jaw-Dropping Apple Stores Around The World