Retired Apple engineer says he was turned down for a job at the Genius Bar

By midian182 · 23 replies
Sep 6, 2016
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  1. Walk around most Apple stores and you’ll notice that the vast majority of those working there are under 30. You would hope that age has nothing to do with why they got the job and that they’re employed based solely on an ability to do the job, but a New York Times op-ed seems to prove otherwise.

    The Ashton Applewhite piece on age discrimination cites the case of former Apple engineer JK Scheinberg, a 21-year Cupertino veteran and the man who persuaded Steve Jobs to migrate the Mac from PowerPC to Intel processors in 2005. He’s a person who really deserves the title of “Apple genius.”

    However, not long after retiring in 2008, Scheinberg became restless and decided to apply to work at the Genius Bar as a customer support representative. At 54, he was twice as old as anyone else in the group interview, but considering his past experience, he should have had no problem getting the job.

    "'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 case isn’t a unique one. 60-year-old Michael Katz, a former Mac specialist, sued Apple for age discrimination in 2010. He alleged that the company promoted less senior and less qualified employees over him and that he missed out on promotions several times due to his age. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had already found “reasonable cause” that he had been passed over for promotion due to his age.

    Apple has yet to comment on the Times article.

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,724   +3,699

    Well what do you expect from a company that supports under age employment (that is until they are caught)? That should tell you everything.
    Reehahs and p51d007 like this.
  3. Sorter

    Sorter TS Rookie

    This guy was a 54-year-old retired engineer when he applied and he's complaining about not getting a tech support job for which he was obviously gratuitously over-qualified? Considering youth unemployment and labor force participation and the fact that a younger person with a small fraction of the wealth, experience, and education that this guy has would benefit a hell of a lot more from the job and would still be competent(otherwise they wouldn't get the job or keep it for long). I'm no SJW but I gotta say JK Scheinberg sounds like an old, white, privileged, entitled ******* to be making such a stink over getting turned down for a single job to which he only ever applied when he "became restless."
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,336   +1,986

    "obviously gratuitously over-qualified"

    The all too frequently stated means by which HR Managers try to justify simple age discrimination. I ran into this at Apple when I was 35, which is quite some time ago. Apple has readily displayed an attitude concerning any worker that, despite their education, experience, and ability to bring success to the table, doesn't perfectly fit their pre-defined idea of the ideal worker. Frequently being accused of a lack of diversity and on the outside of the basic EEO law, they continue to succeed in getting away with it. Tokenism is the way with Apple, only filling the minimals in order to keep legal, but sooner or later it will catch up with them .... sooner or later ....
    Reehahs likes this.
  5. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,471   +375

    On the other hand, he probably would have been a friendly if not sympathetic face to all the older customers who might have walked into that Apple store, sorta like "oh they have a Genius that looks to be my age, finally someone who might understand me!" oh well... *rolleyes*
  6. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Addict Posts: 145   +133

    Genius bar staff are far from the level of intellect their title suggests they have.
    He just would not have fit in. Better off this way.
  7. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757


    Team synergies are more important than raw qualifications in many cases. It is also not the Apple brand to trot out older folks at the retail level. It isn't age discrimination when your retail brand is "young and hip" fashion.
  8. Kenrick

    Kenrick TS Evangelist Posts: 570   +372

    My take is this: People in engineering department working as a front in stores in selling/explaining customer a device would just be a recipe for disaster at most. Most HR specialist knows this. Imagine the look of the customer confused when detailing a lot.

    This is the reason why real engineers are in the bunker. We have different specialty/skills in life. I am not sure what he has to prove here. He could have been a consultant in another firm and just concentrate in technical and not advertising. Beside, the genius bar is to help youngsters/fresh graduates in getting a job and improve and to fill it with OVERQUALIFIED people is a stab to the organization's hierarchy. People nowadays looks pathetic going to social media to rant including this guy just have attention. Better post pictures of foods man in your twitter.
    davislane1 likes this.
  9. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    Maybe he should have applied to Hooters and sued them over discriminating against breastless employees...

    Just because he was really knowledgeable does not necessarily mean he was qualified to be an Apple "Genius"... the main skill required is people skills... which we have no idea if he has or not....

    I've been teaching for years - if I retire and then apply to work in the school office, I shouldn't complain if I don't get it... I might be over-qualified educationally, but I might not have the other skills required to be an office admin...

    We need a lot more information before we decide this guy has been "wronged" by Apple.
    davislane1 likes this.
  10. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,736   +3,757

    The Apple Hate Train is fueled by hate and superiority. We needn't burden it with "information."
    Squid Surprise likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,256   +454

    I'm curious... Do you like the idea of communism?
  12. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    Really? I bet Lenin would have made a great Apple Genius... about as relevant as your post...
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,724   +3,699

    Yeah that's overkill, I have enough fuel to last a few lifetimes.
  14. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 234   +54

    I had the same thing happen to me at a Target job fair hosted at a nearby hotel. They had us line up, get the applications and go sit down and fill them out on the spot…no problem. It took about an hour to get through all the paperwork and I was one of the first ones there. I turned it in and they said all the jobs had been filled. I was shocked at how fast that went and very few around me seemed to have finished filling out their applications.

    I responded, “Are you sure they’re all taken? It’s only been an hour since we started.” They replied, “Well the only thing we’ve got left is a stock crew night shift position.” This of course means they lied about having filled every position, but I kept my cool and a straight face with a smile and said, “That’s perfect! I had put that as my first choice in jobs and shift when filling out that section of the application, as you can see.” The person then asked, “Oh…well I see that you’re a student at [college A].” I stated, “No, I graduated from that school and now I’m getting another degree at [college B].” They then replied, “Oh, well we’ll see what we can do and we’ll contact you back,” which of course they never did.

    That told me that I was overqualified in their view and/or overaged. Thanks to our wonderfully enforced labor laws, I couldn’t get a job with Target. The funny thing is that I ended up working at Michael’s art supply store doing stock crew, night shift. Hmmm.
  15. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 234   +54

    Entitled is the word you should be using for the one that's less qualified for the job. Sure, it might benefit them more, but then are they likely raising a family? Having said that, in this situation, it's more likely JK was applying because he wanted to, rather than needed to, but be careful with words like "entitled." Most people his age earned their place in the job market through long years of hard work and experience.

    For instance, I work in a place where I don't actually fall in the natural hierarchy. The guy I work with is our IT guy, but I’m also an IT guy who is younger. We each of our own set of experiences and I wouldn’t dare try to replace him. He’s got extremely useful in-house corporate knowledge I will never have. That comes in way handier than simply picking up a new IT skill.
  16. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 234   +54

    I don't disagree in general about engineer types, but an in-person interview (assuming there wasn't one) can show the difference. Not all engineers are like that, while most that I've run into are.
  17. Peter Farkas

    Peter Farkas TS Addict Posts: 272   +88

    Now I don't feel bad about the 13bn penalty they got from the EU Commission. Evil company... :)))
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    This sounds like your take on "affirmative action". Not to mention quite a convenience for Apple, since they can give the job to a minority employee, and Tim Cook can lecture us on "how much he and the company are doing to promote diversity. The fact they could pay a noob a whole lot less notwithstanding..

    If you can't be too black, too red, too yellow, too gay, or too female to get a job with the company, then you can't be too old or too white either, end of story. "Diversity concerns", in the end, amount to no more than sanctioned discrimination.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
    davislane1 likes this.
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    Most, if not all jobs, have a probationary period. In truth the only way to find out whether or not a person has those "X factor skills", is to let them try and prove it.

    OTOH, you could always "require people skills", in the form of college credits for 'social work', or similar..

    But, everybody can't either plan ahead, or have the time and money to take on extra credits, pandering to an Apple whim.

    You learn "people skills" by interacting with them. Or in my case, you learn to dislike them when you do...:p:mad:
  20. Jack007

    Jack007 TS Booster Posts: 181   +42

    Why would he even try to get a job that he is overqualified for. He should have went to some tech start up company or some other company thats struggling and apply for an engineer job. companies like when older far more experienced people try to resurrect a company some young foolish guy almost crashed
  21. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    When tons of people apply for a job, it's not exactly feasible to grant each one the job, give them a probationary period, then keep the good ones...

    Apple might be guilty here - but we don't have nearly enough information to be bashing them... of course, why would you let a lack of information stop you?
  22. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    With Tim Cook running his mouth every few months about, "not doing as well as we could with diversity", a lot can be inferred.

    Then there's this:

    The case isn’t a unique one. 60-year-old Michael Katz, a former Mac specialist, sued Apple for age discrimination in 2010. He alleged that the company promoted less senior and less qualified employees over him and that he missed out on promotions several times due to his age. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had already found “reasonable cause” that he had been passed over for promotion due to his age.

    I guess by that last paragraph, you got bored looking for "facts", and hence, couldn't find them...

    And then there's this too:

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a challenge to a race-conscious admissions program at the University of Texas at Austin, handing supporters of affirmative action a major victory

    The decision, Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 14-981, concerned an unusual program and contained a warning to other universities that not all affirmative action programs will pass constitutional muster. But the ruling’s basic message was that admissions officials may continue to consider race as one factor among many in ensuring a diverse student body.

    Apparently, "affirmative action" is alive and well in the US!

    Apple isn't about to let "the facts" get in the way of its spin on the issue. It never has in the past, and I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for them. Besides, show me any "news story", which doesn't have some form of subtext, and I'll show you a news story untold.

    In this case,. that's what "unbiased journalism" means. Apple feeds the press a bullsh!t line, and news organizations reprint it, word for word.

    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
  23. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,572   +714

    You have absolutely ZERO facts on THIS person's application to Apple other than what was written in this article... to assume Apple is in the wrong is simply irresponsible without more info.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,996   +2,528

    Well, exactly how much research do you think I have to do to respond to what's written down? I'm not the managing editor here, and neither are you.

    I seen Tim Cook's cracker a**, give his "diversity spiels".

    I researched recent Supreme Court decisions on, "Affirmative Action". Which incidentally, is another quaint custom of the United States, not Canada.

    Maybe you think I need to visit all the Apple stores in my area, and do a demographic study on the employees? Wanna bet I find there, exactly what's been outlined here? You know, "all the beautiful people, the cream of the yuppie crop" working there, and none of the old guys and gals.

    In short, we aren't waiting for squat. I'm going to comment on the article as it's been presented. When or if, Techspot retracts the article, then I'll retract what comments I've attached to it, as needed or appropriate.

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