As a kid, I remember thinking about how old people were and thinking that was a long time. 40 years, 60 years. I would notice every little detail of their faces, the skin that hung from their arms, and wonder what it felt like to have that many stories to tell. To know it all.
That’s what I believed as a kid: That getting older meant you knew everything about the world. They were the expert storytellers, the professional snack makers, and the most fun of anyone because they decided which rules were broken and which ones we would ignore.
As I get older, I laugh about how silly that was. First of all, you’ll never know everything - you just find new ways to avoid failure. You learn that no one is perfect. My annual reminder of how wrong I was as a kid comes with every new decade when I don’t feel old at all. I feel smarter, more confident, and braver.
That naive child was right about one thing: being old rocks.
Yet, I keep hearing these terrible stories about people overlooking adults with more experience for roles. In plain terms: ageism.
While I’m not a job seeker today, I have seen it play out in a million little ways with friends across the application process and hiring - the university graduation requirements, telling people they’re too experienced, the surprised look when you round the corner into the glass interview room.
Yes, people can see your shocked face in a glass room, you big dummy.
It’s horrifying if I’m being honest. It also scares me - not just for my own future, but for yours too.
We all get older. That’s the only real fact in life when anything else can happen to change the ending of your story in a second. Every day we creep toward that age we always believed was “old.” But someday, you’re going to be old too. You might lose your job in your 60’s and when the coin is flipped, and you’re the one struggling to survive, what will you do?
I believe the work starts now. There is no expiration on talent. One big way to get started? Changing the interview process, which I wrote about in this week’s blog post. I also have two more posts here on the topic of communicating with every generation and Madonna. Yes, Madonna. Even she experiences ageism.
Have a great week -