Looks always count.
If you’re old, you’re out and you no longer count.
Older people miss out on opportunities and jobs. They just don’t understand technology and they are out of touch. They’re slow and they forget things. Young people are better and are what we’re looking for.
Have you heard all of this before? But Is it even true? What if being an older worker could surpass the attraction of youthfulness? Is there anything good about getting older?
Yes. I think older people are cool.
Do you still have grandparents? I’m lucky that I do.
My grandad is 91. His name is Vernon and he lives on his own in a two bedroom, brown brick unit with a sunroom in a retirement village in a close-knit county town. He still cooks for himself and grows all of his own vegetables. He makes anzac biscuits and tasty soup.
Vernon’s still fit and has a flat stomach. He works out daily for 30 minutes on his 90s, blue-green exercise bike.
At the moment, we’re working on his memoirs together. He still has a brilliant memory and he’s a kind man and a good listener.
Like many his age, grandad has seen war. For three years until mid last year he was a full time carer for my late grandma, Sylvie. Vernon has seen floods and the worst fires that Australia has ever experienced.
Recently quite a few of grandad’s friends have passed away but he still has a kind word for everyone. And you know what, I think he’s pretty awesome!
Being old isn’t the end. If you’re an older worker you don’t need to land on the scrapheap if you lose your job. You have so much to offer.
Older workers have wisdom, networks and life experience that young people just don’t have.
In the last few weeks I’ve met several older workers concerned about what they’ve got to offer employers now that they’re looking for work.
You might be in your fifties and concerned about age discrimination that you’ve experienced or heard about other people experiencing.
I’m not going to say that age discrimination no longer exists. However, I will suggest ways to deal with the ‘age’ problem if this is a concern for you.
The first thing is to address the elephant in the room. If you sense that the person interviewing you has an age related bias address it in a respectful way. Talk about what you’ve got to offer.
So what do you have to offer?
Networks. Young graduates just aren’t going to have the same networks as you do. Your networks provide you with faster access to information, ideas and opportunities and the value shouldn’t be underestimated.
Wisdom. You’ve been around the block a few more times than your younger colleagues- great. Through challenges that you’ve overcome you’ve learnt a lot and that’s made you wise.
Leadership Skills. You’ve probably led teams before. You understand how to motivate different types of people and how to get results during challenging times.
Loyalty. You’re likely at a point where you don’t want to move companies every few years which is great news for your new employer. Every time an organisation has to replace an employee they have to cover many costs and the loss impacts team morale and productivity. Then there is the cost of inducting the new employee and bringing them up to speed which can take many months. So yes, loyalty is a big deal.
Mentoring. You’ve got a lot of experience behind you and that makes you a valuable resource for employers looking to provide guidance for less experienced employees. If you don’t want to take on a big leadership role mentoring is a great way to make a difference.
I’ve mentioned just five things here and I’m sure you can add more to this list. For further help with your job search journey check out Why LinkedIn is Your Friend and Are you in Control of Next Opportunity.