Is age just a number?
Note: This article was first published on Albany 2 Cents.
I taught my first college course at the age of 23. I remember the first day of class. Check that; I remember the first day before class. I stood in front of my closet for what seemed like hours, staring at my clothing. Will this pink sweater make me look too young? Do people wear stockings in the spring? Should I wear a suit?
Will they take me seriously because of my age?
The question of age has risen recently in the Capital Region with the case of Christina Abele. A 22-year-old graduate of Siena College, Abele was offered the supervisor position at the Saratoga County Animal Shelter. The young woman reportedly volunteered at the shelter for a few years before applying for the position—which she won over 62 other applicants. In addition to a large budget, the person appointed to the supervisor position would oversee a team of staff and volunteers. When it was announced that Abele was the final candidate chosen for the position, a public outcry ensued over — you guessed it — Abele’s age.
After a lengthy meeting in which community members voiced concern over the young woman’s age, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors voted against giving her the position. Well, some of them, at least. Out of the 23 supervisors on the board, 10 voted to approve the appointment. Seven supervisors voted no, and six were absent.
Of course, some have argued that the disagreement with Abele’s appointment was not about her age. Some have expressed concern over the woman’s lack of experience (although reports clearly state she worked at the shelter for several years). Others say Abele ‘s appointment was due to her father’s political contributions. However, what has been expressed over and over again in reports, blogs, comments, and discussions is the fact that a 22-year-old woman would earn a starting salary of $62,413.
What is the real issue here? Is it Abele’s qualifications? Is it the fact that she will make more money than many people twice her age? Is it that Abele is a recent graduate?
Or is it that she is 22-years-old?
Crista Leigh is a millennial, journalist and broadcaster who was born and raised in the Capital District. She has worked her way up the corporate ladder, and has an unhealthy obsession with zombies, glitter and all things pumpkin.