When I turned thirty I thought I was old. My life pretty much done. I had passed my prime. When I turned forty that viewpoint seemed rather ridiculous. I admit that when I saw fifty looming on the horizon I started to seriously worry that maybe this landmark would be it. I would be officially "old." I would now become "too old" to do "things." You know - like leave my career to go start a new one.
Of course, we know how that turned out.
While I am fully aware I am no longer twenty-four years old I never think I am "too old" to do anything. In fact, I may have gotten more brazen than I was when I was that age. But I may be in the minority.
I know people who will tell me they're too old to wear their hair long anymore, or a bikini, or make a new friend. They have a long, dog-eared list of what they consider not appropriate for someone their age - like dating a man ten years younger. And then of course, my personal favorite - they're "too old" to get hired for that job.
I will not deny age discrimination occurs in the workplace. But I will offer that the more you think that's why you're not getting hired the more likely it is to be the reason.
If you're keeping up with what's changing in your industry, continuing to be learning something new every day and approach life with an open mindset, age diminishes as a factor.
I had this conversation with someone the other day who after saying three times in a row that the reason they were not getting hired was because they were too old, looked rather perplexed when I said I viewed my age as an asset.
I went on to explain that the way I saw it the fact that I am not twenty-four and have embraced and understand digital marketing and find it all very exciting makes me better equipped to train and consult than if I was. My advantage is that I also understand traditional marketing and have the work and life experience to bring to the table.
The look I got back was as though I was from an alien planet.
But I know I'm not. Even Google gets it. They recently hired Patrick Collister as head of design in London who refers to himself as a "grey hair." (I recommend listening to his podcast interview on The Future of Advertising in which he touches on this idea of being "too old." "
The thing is you're never too old. Unless you want to be.
note: This is Day #11 of a 30 Day Experiment. Here are the details on how it all started.