Ageism Impacts Older Adults Just As They Hit Their Stride In The Workplace
It can take years of workplace experience under your belt to make the right decisions in the office. From big-time projects to career moves, these decisions take a sophisticated knowledge of the inner-workings of each industry, and type of organization you may be a part of.
It’s not surprising that studies show that the age of the most successful entrepreneurs is 45. Having 20+ years of experience can mean the difference between making the right decision most of the time, versus just trying to figure it all out.
We’re not just talking about becoming an entrepreneur though, although that’s a great idea, but this same theory applies to in-office jobs. From office politics, to presentation skills, and knowledge about project management. These skills are honed over time, and grow right along with your career.
It’s not surprising though if you’ve felt the heat to do a 180 right as you hit your stride in the workplace. Ageism tends to strike right at the same exact time that you’re really getting the hang of everything at work.
It’s an age thing. People assume once you’ve hit a certain age, or look like you’ve hit a certain age, you aren’t as knowledgable – you are immediately on the decline. This couldn’t be further from the truth, but stereotypes are hard to shatter.
So, how can you work to break those stereotypes so you can keep your stride going, rather than being held back by ageist practices in the office? Here are some tips:
Edit Your Resume To Limit Age And Date References
It’s such a bummer to hear that you have to do anything to keep ageism at bay, but unfortunately it’s the truth for many of us in the workforce. It’s important to note that age isn’t “just a number” in those stereotyping against you, it is the main reason you are being stereotyped at all.
Try to scrub your age and any dates of graduation off of your resume – including your digital resume online. Perhaps it’s time to remove some of your very first jobs, unless the titles warrant keeping them around. Maybe it’s time to ditch your degree if you can’t get the date to go away.
Try to make your experience over the past few years tell your story. Have an introductory statement on your resume that describes who you are as a person, not how many years you’ve been in the workforce.
Dress To Look Younger
Again, a ridiculous statement, but dressing to look less than your age can help you in the office. You’re not walking around with a name tag that tells each and every person you come in contact with how old you are. Yes, your manager might know, but your co-workers should only be able to guess (and guess they will). So, try to dress a bit younger than you normally would.
Try to have two separate closets. One for when you’re home, or hanging out with friends and family – in other words, outfits for when you’re not being judged. Then, have a wardrobe that’s just for when you visit the office.
Don’t go overboard, but try to infuse a younger look into your overall work esthetic.
Hang Out With A Younger Crowd
Stereotypes have trouble singling you out if you are immersed in a crowd with a stereotype of its own. Often younger individuals have their own stereotypes to deal with, but if you can weather those you may have better luck if you find yourself grabbing coffee with a younger crowd in-office.
Stereotypes suck. They are ingrained in people from a young age, and often it’s not even their fault that they are stereotyping you – they’re doing it subconsciously. You have to fight back on that subconscious level, and get them to think that you actually aren’t what they think you are.