Is “I’m too old” and Excuse or Reality

I read an interesting article today where a 63-year old was charging that age discrimination was deterring his job search but he had no proof that this occurred.  Seems that he has applied for “hundreds” of positions and only got two phone interviews, both of which led to nowhere.  This 63-year old has advanced degrees, 30 years of experience and an excuse.  I know that may sound harsh but I wonder how he has translated those accomplishments into words that an employer would value and into hiring him.  He has changed his resume to take years and other information off that might lead an employer to guess his age but with no success.  So age discrimination must be the reason.  I wonder…

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to provide career coaching services at the National Convention of AARP’s 50+.  In speaking with numerous members, it became apparent to me that several factor were going on with older workers:

  1. a lack of confidence
  2. a lack of knowledge on their skills and how they translate to current workplace needs
  3. letting their age define them and determine their outcome (not getting hired)
  4. wanting things to be done “the way we used to”

I heard these themes over and over and during my time at the convention and I’m sure it is resonating across the larger realm among mid-career workers.  This type of thinking will definitely keep you down and lead nowhere.  We know the workforce has changed, and it’s not just for the older population.  Younger workers, who are the next to move-up in succession planning, are having just as much difficulty in finding a job.  The workplace is ‘fickle’ these days; I am unsure what employers want, or if they know, either.

One thing that is apparent is that, due to the changing force of the economy and adjustments that had to be made due to this phenomena, employers want workers who can hit the ground running; they want employees who have specific knowledge and experience and are highly-skilled in their performance.  Now to me, and older worker – who has years of  knowledge, education, and experience would be the perfect fit.  But, as I seem to reinforce (preach?), if you are not conveying how those accumulated SKA’s will benefit the organization, you will be dead in the water.  Also, someone with 30 years of work experience has been a loyal and dedicated employee and that needs to be translated as well to a potential employer, who  right now are hesitant to bring on someone  if they feel they will be leaving the workforce, either for retirement or for a more lucrative opportunity.

Changing one’s attitude, stopping  living in the past and conveying how you will benefit an organization are musts for all, not just older workers.   I would suggest that this 63-year old embrace these recommendations and revamp his job search with renewed attitude and spirit.  Or, my other suggestion would be to take those 30-years of business experience and go help other business to succeed – but as his own boss.




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