Updated: Apr 5
This morning, I read yet another post attempting to help those poor old people over 40 combat ageism in hiring.
The advice is usually an insult.
The person over 40 should walk on eggshells and be cautious not to appear like a know-it-all.
I mean, heck, why tout your skills?
The author was another 22-year old trying to give 44-year old folks advice.
The advice to those over 40 all sounds like an attempt to infantilize the more experienced worker to meet the lack of sophistication of thought, speech and skill that the young people of today sadly demonstrate, both at work and on the street.
What about the benefit someone over 40 offers?
Those between 40-50 lived through the most tumultuous times of change and glorious times of transition that industry, commerce, and innovation have ever seen.
There is no more valuable set of available talent.
50 is the new 30. Your customers live until 100.
Diversity of age is valuable, too.
As an example, I helped grow a Cambridge startup that stuck out for its diversity of age. When we grew it to 500, it was bought by IBM.
My learning came not just from technology and business resources. It came mainly from the upper age brackets. They were known figures whose experiences created an elaborately competitive firm.
That age discrimination has traveled backward from 55+ to 40+ is alarming.
I've seen 55-year old workers in hospital settings have their position eliminated, only to find a couple of young part-timers hired almost immediately. It happens... all... the... time. The people pulling the plug were usually at the 40+ bracket. I wonder what they've learned.
See, we all have to grow up someday. Watch out for what you create.
Hire the person who is most qualified, and the lame excuse of being over-qualified doesn't cut it. It's usually a lame adieu or a poorly veiled excuse for ageist actions.
Someday, you're gonna be old! Hopefully. When you get to 40+ and 55+, the view gets clearer. You'll be sure to be less ageist, right? No generation has done this yet!
We've all met the person who blames age when age is not the problem.
However, from where I am sitting, age is all-too-often a crippling barrier to job seekers over 40.
But who is really to blame? Young people's advice is not the same as action. Who's making these hiring decisions?
The solution just might be at the Board-level. If publicly-traded leadership, many which are 55+, would encourage anti-ageism in hiring -- or even set policy -- we'd be better off.
So let me be clear, the problem with ageism isn't just based in hiring the young or whom the young hire.
It's found where 40+ and 55+ workers fail to leverage their positions to create needed change below. With such scant action from above, ageism isn't the exclusive domain of the young.
Some can't meritoriously blame age after being rejected for a job.
Sometimes, you are old and don't get a job. It might happen to me someday. I will likely blame age, and in many cases, that is true. We need courageous leaders who value age diversity.
The answer does not lie in combatting ageism. Ageism is inherent to our species. It is a part of all of nature, in fact. The answer lies in creating intergenerational diversity, fostering communication between business segments, and hosting events.
Better still, when we get "old," let's not forget what we went though, and police ageism in our organizations. If we have the power to do so, we must.
Stop hiring based on age. Hire based on talent, skill, and capacity.
Brian Brandt is a resume writer, career expert, and job search strategist.