“Not over the hill yet!” — A view of Silicon Valley from Mission Peak in Fremont, California

Still Booming in Silicon Valley Despite Age Discrimination

Richard Medugno
11 min readApr 15, 2020

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Working in Silicon Valley since the Dot Com boom-nearly 25 years, I've been extremely fortunate and very privileged as a straight white American male with a Theatre degree to carve out a writing career in high-tech marketing and still be around after all these years.

But I didn't realize how privileged I was until a couple of years ago when — for the first time in my life — I had the bitter personal experience of being discriminated against. It was age discrimination. Ageism. I'd heard about it, especially in relation to the Valley's supposed obsession with youth, but I'd never experienced it myself until 2016. I thought I was prepared for it, but I was honestly surprised by its subtle yet clear presence.

Not looking for your sympathy

Bear with me because I'm not sharing for your sympathy but rather with the hope that by disclosing my experience perhaps it will help lead to better treatment and less ageism in the future when you get to be "old" like me.

Yes, I was in my 50s, but still in my prime. (And I still am!) I guess that's why I was a bit surprised by the treatment I got when I was interviewing for a marketing writing position at a startup in Palo Alto.

A little background: I'd been laid off a few months earlier from a cybersecurity company, where I wrote marketing copy for almost six years. That was the longest stint at a Silicon Valley company I'd ever had. When the company decided to move our jobs to Texas to save money, my colleagues and I were given the option of following our jobs there.

I had a few contract writing gigs before I found this opening at the Palo Alto company that was offering online healthcare advice from real doctors. I had some experience in medical organizations and thought I was a good fit. Also, the technology intrigued me, so I applied.

In a few days, I got a call from a young woman in the startup's H.R. department. She was most pleasant and after a half-hour of screening, it was clear I was going to…

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Richard Medugno

Richard is an author and scriptwriter. His latest book is Deaf Politician — The Gary Malkowski Story. His latest script is The Mulligan Marriage.