If you’re over 40 and you’re changing careers or looking for work, you’re probably concerned about how age discrimination affects your career.
In conversations with older workers, the common question I’m hearing is “how will age based discrimination affect my chances of keeping a job or getting hired or transitioning to a new career?”
Some say that age is the determining factor in not getting a job and that’s even when one demonstrates the required skills!
So, is age discrimination really that common in hiring? And what can you do … if you find yourself a target?
Does Age-based Discrimination Really Exist?
If you’re being discriminated against because of age, then these suggestions may come in handy:
Discrimination is more common than you think: People make snap judgments all the time and so they discriminate based on imperfect or biased information.
As humans, we all have opinions, ideas, judgments about everything. We categorize people or situations so that we can deal with the amount of information we process.
So, most people have some form of bias or the other and some more clearly than others!
So discrimination in subtle and not-so-subtle ways is a fact of life. It’s apparent in some families in the way a parent favors a kid more and in the workplace when employees are favored for reasons other than their performance!
So, it’s time wise up because discrimination is a fact of life!
Play the cards you’re dealt with: Facing handicaps, obstacles and adversities is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit!
The story of Hellen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) is remarkable for how she overcomes numerous obstacles including being deaf and blind, to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree!
The point is … no one gets handed a break in life. We all have challenges and we all have to deal with them period!
I agree that the reality of age discrimination is unpleasant and unfair. But, sorry age based discrimination is not that important!
It’s really not the cards that you’re dealt with but how you play them that matters!
Everyone has an excuse … what’s yours? Are you being discriminated against because of age … then find a way to overcome that obstacle!
Everyone has obstacles that they can point to for not achieving their goals including employment discrimination in many forms (age, gender, race, education, alma mater, etc)!
Smart kids enjoy being top of their class until they encounter after-school bullying or discrimination because of their booksmarts!
If discrimination exists for kids who’re doing right, then why’re adults caught by surprise or unprepared for discrimination in the workpplace?
So, don’t let age discrimination become an excuse for not getting a job or learning a new skill or achieving your career goals!
A Better Way To Handle Age Based Discrimination
Age based discrimination is really not cool. But in my book, it’s better to win than to be a victim.
What matters is not whether age based discrimination exists … but how to achieve your career goals regardless!
Become a Top Performer! I believe that an effective defense against age based discrimination is to insure your career by becoming a top performer.
Become a Leader in your industry or your workplace and start solving tough problems … and very soon you’ll have all the young ones taking notes at your seminars!
What Did Stephen Covey Say?
In “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey mentions that proactive people do not worry or focus on factors or things over which they have little or no control … instead they focus on their “Sphere Of Influence” … those factors or circumstances over which they exercise control!
So, the deal is “why focus on your age?”, when you can do nothing about it, focus on things like your skills, your learning, your attitude over which you have complete control!
Yes, You Deserve Better. Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton in their groundbreaking book “Now, Discover Your Strengths” mention how some people focus on their weaknesses instead of their strengths.
According to their research, we’re more powerful than we are … but we often live below our true capabilities by not improving our strengths.
So, if you find yourself worrying about your age … it’s a sign that you haven’t discovered or developed your true strengths!
Why not discover “what you’re really good at” or “what you’re born to do” … your “true callings in life” and then focus on developing it?
That way, you will be in charge of your career and no-one will be able to keep you from gettting what you deserve.!