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.
No proselytizing? You’re on the wrong site. We’re biased and Pro Christian religion on this site here. This is Free Republic, not moveon.org
Just keep plumpin’ it up! :D
I tell myself, “Nobody dies of wrinkles”.
In one senst this is absolutely true.
But in a broader perspective, I am not so sure! LOL
Spotted in today’s job search:
Senior Process Engineer - New College Graduate
San Antonio TX
A new twist (of the knife) on the old “We want a 20 year old with 30 year’s experience” chestnut...
OMG! That’s insane!
“A new twist (of the knife) on the old We want a 20 year old with 30 years experience chestnut...”
I very much sympathize, my earlier comments were to encourage you not to think like a victim, even if you are one (somewhat), I’d like to see you be able to overcome a bad job market. Just wishing you well. I know “start your own business” is a big deal, but maybe even a small thing on the side would help with income, confidence, contacts, etc.
As for “new college graduate,” one thing I can understand is that they want to pay a starter salary, not an experienced salary.
How about thinned out wrinkled old veins and arteries ?
One privilege of getting old, you get to make a bucket list.
I’m 70 and today took on a new client
It’s actually quite amusing, in a few short years I’ve gone from being the young guy that didn’t have the experience they wanted, to being the guy that has the experience they want, but the miles they don’t!
My last two (unpaid) jobs were failed start-ups.
I’ve got the idea I need for another turn in the barrel, but can’t afford the barrel!
If someone out there wants pressure sensors that cost fractions of a cent, send ‘em my way.
I have fully functional prototypes...
It's not just that. They won't take experience at a starting salary.
Until the economy improves and some HR droids get drop kicked to the sidelines, it will remain the same.
The 'small thing on the side' does help, but you have to be careful going black market.
'Eff 'em. I've reduced the expenses so much that I can pan-handle enough to pay the bills.
I expect things to pick up after the election.
“Im 70 and today took on a new client”
As Clint Eastwood said in character, "A man has to know his limitations!"
Next time you see her tell her to thank God they aren’t painful...:O) but I can beat that. Did home health care for a gal 94, she wanted to know why she had arthritits...shocked, I told her....for God sake Grace your 94......she was still getting her husbands pension when he worked at Ford decades ago....one day she said, I’ll bet every time they right my check someone at Ford says...for cripes sake why doesn’t this old woman die......she also had a sense of humor. Lived to be 96
She had my interest until she said she was all of 35. After that it read like the shallow piece of fluff it is.
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