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.
Yeah, well, that’s how it goes I guess.
I can hardly keep my old eyes open.
How did you get my picture? Are you the guy that stole my bridge? And my 8 oz bottle of Viagra?
I knew I was old when Mrs. Howell started looking good.
That revolutionized the world.. Jack Kilby
Gravitas is that when you are so old your ass has given into gravity?
That is why we old folks invented Matlab, Mathmatica, Excel, Lotus 123.
I tell my young coworkers that their calculations are wrong, and give them the left most two digits for the correct answer.
They say “If you know the answer, why did you ask me?” Of course I assigned the problem to them to get the third through 6th digits.
I’m still breathing... does that count ?
How about Helen Thomas ?
Older folks make wonderful contractors, and that is sometimes a way back in the door (if they don’t want to keep on being contractors, which has some advantages of its own).
Helen Thomas is how I know I’ve had enough to drink.
Yep. No matter how old I get, I always tell myself it beats the hell out of the alternative.
And I'm ugly too and my mother dresses me funny.
Roger that. And we know full well that we stand on the shoulders of giants. We know that we can only do what we do because of what you and preceding generations have done. It’s just part of the flow of things. I thank God almighty for the way we’re able to build things up and keep moving forward.
Man, things are moving at an exponential rate.
I was just reading about some of the Texas pioneers that I had the great fortune of working with at Electrospace Systems
I hope that you have that experience.
I am still in in contact with most of them but sure miss having breakfast at 5 AM with them all
I’m not growing up and you can’t make me....
Like your attitude. I hired several just like you. They kicked my arse all the way into owning a very profitable company.
I tell myself, "Nobody dies of wrinkles".
If you’re a Christian, it just means that you’re getting closer to Glory. In the present, rejoice because Jesus is your Saviour and have a beer.
Old people know stuff.
well...I’m lucky to simply be here at 55
odds are really high I’ll not last past 70 or so
it’s just how it is
enjoy life...work hard and don’t let yer wife’s bounty go to waste
and as for kids who whine all the time
screw ya’ll I have paid into this bullshit maximum rate and amount since late 70s
if they hadn’t let you sissies get trophies just for showing up you might not be sitting in the passenger’s seat in the Prius with wifey driving chin out over the dash and yer balls in her lockbox...boys
youth think they are the best ever and that humanity improves with time when in fact quite the opposite appears true
when I hear some shrill lib wench with too much parchment saying “but it’s the 21st century...don’t these people know we’ve moved on and progressed”
i know she has no clue...
some stiff with a plowshare tilling some little plot in Wessex 1200 years ago probably had more integrity, faith and commitment to others than stupid people today can even imagine
yet they think they are so above it all
their faith is in the messianc evolution of humanity into a new better man..or woman
who’s that right?
Ha ha, I love it! You remind me of myself when I was in my early 30's and I was always finding ways to get things done in hours that took other people weeks!
Unfortunately, I also ended up alienating a lot of people at the company - not because I was smarter than them, but because I was so arrogant! I ended up leaving because they "didn't appreciate my abilities"!!!
Twenty years later I still get more done before lunch than some people get done in a week, but I don't crow about it. I find more things to do, and I "promote laziness" (my term for helping other employees to do things faster and with less effort). Overall I enjoy my work much more and have more fun than when I was a legend in my own mind!
Love your last sentence. I’ve got to work that into a conversation before I forget it. I just turned 66 and it’s beginning to happen a lot.
The old bull and the young bull were standing at the top of the hill overlooking a paddock of many gorgeous young heifers. The young bull said, Lets charge down the hill, knock over that fence and service one of those heifers each. The old bull wisely replied, Why dont we saunter down the hill, open the gate, take a sip at the water trough and then service ALL of those heifers?
I'm so old that they automatically give me the Senior Citizen's discount at Dunkin' Donuts.
When I drop something and bend over to pick it up, I always ask myself, " Is there anything else I need while I'm down here?"
Yup. The older I get, the older “old” gets.
And he probably pronounced it "soll-der" or "soul-der." I've heard things such as, "I need to weld these wires together. Do you have any soll-der?" Or, "Does that soll-der stuff work on plastic and wood?" Or, "I'm having trouble nailing this screw through this piece of wood."
“60 is the new 40. Really.”
Dude, I hear that actually 70 is the new 40!
The rule of 65 says dropped prepositions, typing errors, creative spelling, grammatical miscues and are all ok in casual web posts by a hurried writer over 65.
LOL! That's what I do to. I've sold two and am working on the third just because I like to do it.
My "kids" are smart enough to appreciate the experience and guidance - and they can learn about ownership.
The best bosses I ever had were old guys that owned the Company.
Early next year for me.
eddie willers ~ Worst sign of growing old is forgetting prepositions.
Nahhh, the worst is missing propositions...
Yeah. I live here. No shortage of that type in my fair valley.
I'd move in a heartbeat.
Been there, done that, twice in the last 5 years.
Getting funding as an old phart isn't easy either.
Your 20 something bank manager and your 30 something
vulture venture capitalist only want to fund "recent college graduates"...
Were do I send my resume?
History is filled with 20-something wunderkinds who invented the huge whiz-bang and completely failed at marketing it (*cough* Steve Jobs *cough*). At that age you are very good at throwing 100% focus at some particular thing and making something very creative and amazing, particularly when what you are doing is a complete game changer.
As you get older, you get more systemic. You think of the bigger picture, game things out more, backthink better, anticipate, connect the dots, and strategize. You do equally amazing things, but on a more system wide or process scale. It takes time to get that vision.
I see this at my own job. The young bucks don’t think they know what I’m doing because they are quicker and faster at the basic skills and can churn things out faster. They suck at the process though and the quality angle. No follow thru, they want to bounce around to the glory stuff and don’t get that the whole process determines the finished product, a product that demands a very tight tolerance on quality.
A mix of ages in a work situation is good. If you can get that kind of team to work together, you can do some amazing things.
Do people drive Matlab cars or steel cars?
Do they fly in airplanes built by CAE or BAE?
The simulation isn't the reality...
They know how to use matlab,
did a double take on that statement, then adjusted my bi focals
First laugh of the day
Morphine is lovely stuff. I was on it for a few days after my pancreas exploded.
At least now I fully 'get' how someone could become an addict!
For now, Boxer, it counts for now.