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Age Discrimination – Lessons Learned – IV of IV

November 14th, 2008

This wraps up age discrimination in the workplace (not necessarily in the job search).  Today is lessons learned.

Lessons Learned:

(1) Defend

Be prepared to be smacked in the face with the “dead fish” of age discrimination. Like gravity, it’s a fact of life. It’s not you, the quality of your work, or the anything else. It’s a structural flaw in our own thinking. No one can help you but yourself. No one can postpone the inevitable. No law or regulation will succor you. (Have you seen how much you get for “unemployment insurance”? You have to be your own “unemployment insurance”!) Make your plans with it in mind. Don’t get caught short.

(2) Life Plan

The old Wall Street Journal commercial has an element of truth in it. You have to learn. They want to sell you a subscription to educate and inform you. Really, you need your own written life plan. Has to be written. Wish I’d done it. That old commercial recounts the anecdote about the written life plan. The 3% of the Harvard grads, who had it, achieved it. A Life Plan is critical for success. Even at this late stage, I’m writing mine now. Five decades too late. But, who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

(3) Trust nothing

Assumptions, promises, “facts”. All meaningless. Only “you” matters. Be honest with yourself. Don’t kid a kidder. Self-delusion is the worst of all disabilities. Wishing won’t get you to the NBA; Pretending your going is insanity. If you write everything down, you have a stake in the ground. An anchor. Examine the “facts” and figure out how to test them. Examine your risks and manage them. Your resume tells all sorts of lies about being a strategic planned and heroic accomplisher, use those skills on your own situation.

*****

Finally, JibberJobber is a tool use it. Recognize what it is telling you. You are alone in your life raft. But you don’t have to be. Reach out and form real connections. Social networking is NOT LinkedIn, Facebook, and other sites. It’s tying someone else’s lifeboat to yours and paddling together. Wish I was better at it.

That’s it. A rather somber topic this week.

2 Comments »

2 responses to “Age Discrimination – Lessons Learned – IV of IV”

  1. Barry Groh says:

    Jason,

    This has been a timely and helpful set of posts. Don’t apologize for their somber nature – as each of us draws nearer to older age each day, and an ever-looming reality that the workplace is no longer that of our parents, age discrimination is not only prevalent but also wide-spread. Not being caught in it, not overlooking it, and not calling it for what it is is the real crime.

    Being prepared to cry foul, to be able to back up the cry, and to realistically fight age discrimination is the job of each individual, and through them each company. Some (thankfully) realize the importance of someone with years of experience, yet many others seem to think that the only thing that their company needs is s 30-year old with 35 years experience. Tell me how that happens!

    Your posts, and the real-life experiences of one caught in the crosshairs, is very helpful. I look forward to part two – age discrimination in the job search.

    Barry

  2. This may be easier said than done, but when you are your “own boss,” it’s much easier to control how far you will go in the business world or your career. When you work for someone else, they have quite a bit of control over how far you will go. If you start planning at a young age, by the time you are considered “too old” for any given position, you will already be successful in your own business, so it won’t matter. At the very least, it at all possible, start your business on the side if you can’t afford to build your business full-time. Sure, you will be busy working most of the time, but your hard work will pay off!

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