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.
I am older than any of you so do what I say, then leave me alone!
I am aware that matlab is one of many tools at my disposal.
I’ll bet we have more tools at our disposal than you do. We can do Matlab or we can tweak pots. Whatever it takes. But I guarantee we can smoke your old ass in any situation.
One of the things I try to teach the young fellows is who the end user is and what do they need?
I try to get them to keep maintenance in mind in the field.
I think we build a better product that way for folks under fire.
I try to get the egghead in the foxhole.
Yeah, we think of all that stuff. We consider the maintenance angle. We consider the user angle. We engineer the hell out of our stuff. And trust me, we know what solder is.
See, you miss my first rule of respect for military gear.
I want this stuff to serve the fellow who uses it and maintains it.
Maybe your Cal Poly *** can crunch numbers with tools that old geezers built for you, but you have to respect everyone in the process for the process to be valid.
Let us snark no more.
I am just telling you my experience.
I wasn’t ragging on young fellows or old fellows.
I find that experience is the best school.
I just said we keep that stuff in mind. We sweat bullets making sure our stuff works in the field.
We can crunch numbers from top to bottom using tools or doing it by hand. Granted we may have to go to a book to do it by hand. But we can do that. No problem.
In any case we get more done by lunchtime than you could do in a week or more.
We were on the same page until your last punkass line of commentary.
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 ?
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