We most often think of ageism as external discrimination, someone or something that puts age in the way of our goal.
The unfortunate truth is that often, we are that someone.
We don’t, of course, think of it that way. It’s the economy that dictates we are too young to make good on our entrepreneurial dream. In our 20s, we put off corporate conquest because no one in power takes us seriously. Suddenly, we are too old to compete for that coveted promotion.
We may blame outside circumstances, but in these cases, we are our own obstacle.
Who says you can’t be a young entrepreneur? Bill Gates? Steve Jobs? Mark Zuckerberg?
Who says you’re too old to run a corporation? Warren Buffet? Raymond Croc? Rupert Murdoch?
Before you close any career doors, examine your beliefs and assumptions about why you are closing them. Do you think:
- You are too old to get the job. This can also sound like: I don’t want to color my hair, lose weight, or buy a new wardrobe. I don’t have enough energy. I’m so used to living this way. I don’t want to get up early. I don’t want to change.
- You won’t be hired because you haven’t kept up with technology. Other ways you might be thinking about this include: It would be too hard to create a LinkedIn profile. My Aol.com email address is just fine. I would have to learn everything about computers.
- You will not be valued by a company because of your age. Other thoughts that indicate this are: My friends / my family / the hiring manager will laugh at me if I try to find a job at this age. I will be the oldest person in the room, and everyone will know. I will have no friends at work because my much younger colleagues will not include me. I used to be respected for my work, and I don’t want to give that up.
- There is only one way to do things, and that way won’t work for you at this age. Other ways this attitude could show up are: My resume hasn’t changed since college, and there’s no reason to change it now. Innovation means going back to the way we did it in 1988. Who needs a smart phone? I’m not doing online applications.
If holding on to these opinions is more important than working, then a job search isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you really want to work, turn around your beliefs about your age and the workplace.
One way to challenge yourself to think differently is to read an alternative approach: The Art of Aging.
If you really do want to find a fulfilling and challenging position, and you happen to be 50 or better, contact me today to talk about your goals, obstacles, and how we can find solutions together.
- Ageism: How to recognize age discrimination at work and in your job search
- Job Search After 50: Find a company, not a job
Stop Discrimination image courtesy Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net