Life Advice



Ask Amy: Age discrimination is no laughing matter

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

– Upset and Embarrassed

Dear Upset: First, a word about “lunch ladies.” Using this phrase as a mocking insult demeans other working women, who are (also) deserving of respect.

I hope you will address this issue with your therapist, your supervisor at work, and these immature middle-age “mean girls,” who definitely need a course correction.

You interpret their remark as discriminatory, age-related bullying (I do, too).

So, on behalf of hard-working and “seasoned” professional women everywhere, I hope you will find appropriate ways to respond, both in the moment and also on up the professional chain at work.

They should be called out.


You say that YOU are “upset and embarrassed,” where a more useful emotional response might be: “I am mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

A response you might rehearse that will telegraph your own ire, but reflect your own professionalism is: “Ladies, no. I suggest you get back to providing care for our patients.” And then document the episode and report it to your/their supervisor.

They might deride this as a very “lunch lady” way to behave, to which you should think to yourself: “Yes! And you’ve been served.”

Dear Amy: Whenever my husband unloads the dishwasher, he puts about half of the things away in their proper places in cabinets or drawers, but the other half gets piled on the counter, right next to the dirty pots and plates.


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