"These days I see
age discrimination everywhere. . ."
I am in my 50s and I cannot find a job.
I left my former position in October of last year because I was fed up. Sick, actually. The age descrimination made me sick.
My former colleagues would exclude me from meetings - all they wanted to talk about was "Dancing With The Stars" at professional meetings.
I've been on unemployment forever - and thankful that Obama has my back. But I know this can't go on. I am so worried. I don't know what to do. These days, I see age discrimination everywhere and I am getting worried that paranoia is setting in.
Can you give me some advise?
Dear Hopeful -
Yes, age bias exists and, yes, it is illegal.
You won’t always be able to avoid it.
But age bias is sometimes not really about your actual age. Instead, it is about certain soft skills and attitudes that employers desire but older employees are less likely to value.
And if you learn to address those issues, you can make concerns about age go away. You needn't be paranoid about any of this.
First - value your skill-set. Learn to speak in a proactive and positive way about the specific and particular contributions you have made in the past and intend to make in the future.
Second - watch and learn. Because of your age, you might be operating from a former time when employees were more productive, professional, ambitious and eager. Chill. Gen x'ers (the thirty-year-olds in our midst) don't share your values. The 20-somethings at your work place believe themselves to be invincible and desirable to everyone. Around these attitudes, a "performance" standard is not the norm. Your task might be to "fit in" rather than contribute. Take a background position and chill.
Third - check your ego at the door. Sure, you are a senior-level, highly skilled, master engineer with over thirty years experience. Hear me. No one cares. Once you land your next position, make it your daily task to NOT talk about your former life.
These and other tips will secure your position for the next few years - - and who knows? Before you retire, the work ethic of your youth may return. Until then, keep the faith and lay low.