Skip to comments.You’re old. Get over it.
Posted on 10/26/2012 8:50:06 PM PDT by null and void
We all know its out there. Lingering. Waiting to impede. Still, I wasnt expecting it for at least another five years. Ive heard it hits women earlier than men, but now, already? And on my birthday, too. Ouch.
When having coffee with a long-time friend, who also happened to be one of my first managers, an open position at her company came up in conversation. She and I have maintained a good relationship since I worked for her back in the 1990s. We make an effort to follow each others careers, even though we havent worked together in more than 15 years.
She wondered if I knew of anyone for the job and said: Were looking for someone just like you, who can do all you can do, except young.
Excuse me? I pointed out that at just having blown out the candles on my 35th birthday cake, I am young, or at least on the younger side. Certainly not old.
Now, I have to admit, I had watched some Matlock that morning, I knew there was a storm coming because of some knee pain, and, yeah, the photo run with this blog was taken many moons ago when I was, by most definitions, young. But old, no -- Not over the hill, not stuck in my ways, not without the spirit and attributes many assign to youth: ability to learn quickly, willingness to experiment with new ideas and to conform with new corporate cultures, freshly educated, and up on the latest processes.
Had I turned 35, 45, 65, or 85, was not the point. These attributes are not defined by ones age on a drivers license but by mindset and dedication to ones career.
My friends reply was short but not sweet: Youre old. Get over it.
My coffee had turned bitter and so had I. If she wanted someone who could do all I could do, she wanted someone with more than a decades worth of experience. You dont get that in a 20 year old.
Just a few years after I had worked with this woman and in between full time jobs, I worked with a career strategist and wrote resumes for some very experienced people. Mask their experience level, I remember being told because, although this was sugarcoated, age discrimination exists. If you list 20 years of experience on a resume, its presumed the candidate is either at too high a salary level or out of touch -- just plain old.
In the time since this blogs headshot was taken, Ive been honing my craft, solving problems, working with engineers and other editors on a daily basis to grow my experience, and become a more well-informed force than would have been possible when I started my career.
Unfortunately, we live in a world of Mark Zuckerbergs, where the flashiest new idea often comes from someone not old enough to remember the Reagan years, let alone be born before them. These shining stars are allotted tremendous power and influence over industries. Im scratching my head, gray hairs and all, and wondering why.
Why value the inexperience and ignorance that often accompanies youth? Why not hold higher the experience, knowledge, and sharpened creativity that only comes from decades in a field?
There are plenty of smart young guns out there who deserve respect. We at EDN often make efforts to bring the next generation of engineers along and encourage them to make the commitment to engineering that develops into 20, 30, or more years in a career. But for the current generation of engineers, its a disturbing fact that age discrimination undervalues know-how and insults the importance of careers and ingenuity.
Sickeningly, I suspect many reading this have been the victim of age discrimination in some form or another. Even in such a minor brush as experienced over this birthday coffee, age discrimination hinders the ability to share experience and knowledge. Ultimately, that dampens the strength of employees and weakens the field of engineering.
Weve had two high-level members of the electronics industry announce plans to retire in recent weeks after long, stellar careers that made massive contributions to electronics: TIs Gene Frantz, who you can read about here, and Avnets Roy Vallee, who we spoke with a few weeks ago.
Vallee pointed out in the interview with EDN that careers are marathons, not sprints. Honor and recognize those who run the marathon over decades, who have proved their strengths and dedication to engineering and design, not just those starting the race.
If that former manager can’t see that you don’t get to be “Just like you” without gaining in years then you wouldn’t want to work for them.
Every few years I raise my definition old.
60 is the new 40. Really.
I’m old, and I don’t try to deny it with the “you’re only as old as your mind tells you” crap. One of the most annoying commercials on tv is the one where this woman says she doesn’t need one of those phone alert things to call for help because “thats for old people.” She’s gotta be in her 80’s. Every time the commercial comes on I want to yell “you’re old,,,accept it!”
I’m glad to hear that since I turned 60 last month .... :)
Personnel droids batten down the hatches when they hear it is nearby.
I know what a squat switch (WOW switch) is, and can do 802.11(whichever) math, rf and/or binary, depending. I also cook.
Forget drawing a regular paycheck doing any of that kind of technical stuff. Thanks, we'll give you a call.
Build it yourself or give up, after a certain age. I'm not likely to turn me down for a job for being 'too old'.
Thanks! Nice to receive on my birthday ;-)
Ain’t that the truth.
Worst sign of growing old is forgetting prepositions.
LOL, I know. It’s going fast.
In one of his debates Ronaldus Maximus (who was 73 when he was reelected in ‘84) defended himself against charges he was too old to be president by saying:
“I want you to know also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”
I hada friend the other day, she is 65, ask me whether there was a medical reason for her wrinkles.
She thought she might be dehydrated...lol
I’ve gotten to the point where if I can’t find something, the first place I look is in the refrigerator.
Or pretty, in my case. ;)
The up side is you can say pretty much whatever you want.
August was 60 for me. :) I love it! People now MUST listen to us. We have gravitas!
One should respect their elders but as time goes on they get fewer and fewer in numbers. Rather than accept growing old gracefully, I fight back. Try parachuting out of a perfectly good airplane sometime. Or para sailing. The older I get the less fear I should show. I’m going to die anyways. Don’t fear the reaper the song says. I came into this world naked, kicking and screaming and with somebody elses blood all over my body and I can go out the same way.
What an arrogant idiot. She has got to be in Silicon Valley and probably a big Obama supporter.
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