I was reading a message on the Sun Alumni Association mailing list from a 47-year-old executive who is looking for work. He was asking for advice about a strategy to enlist recruiters to help him find employment.
His idea might have worked some years ago when recruiters were calling almost every time you switched jobs, if you were a prime candidate with current experience and a competitive salary level. I don’t think that is a workable strategy for the older employee.
Too many years have passed since then and the employment situation has changed, perhaps forever. Too many experienced executives have been offloaded, too many jobs have been outsourced, and there are attractive young candidates with the passion and fire of inexperience who are eager to drink the corporate Kool-Aid and carry the corporate banner where none has gone before.
Older employees (anyone over 35) need to take a hard look at the opportunities that are still open to them and make plans that will provide them with some long-term security. If you fall in the category of the over-35 employee, you might want to get your head out of that pile of reports you are working on and take this simple test.
Take a hard look at how many people above you on the corporate ladder are older than you are. If they are older than you are, who is gunning for their position and how old are they?
You may find, if you care to take a look, that you are older than most of the people you are working for. What does that say about your potential for advancement? What do you think it means in terms of just keeping the job you have now?
You can rail about the unfairness of age discrimination or read my favorite "elder" blogger, Ronni Bennet , but somewhere along the line, you will realize that the job competition is won by those who are driven to succeed and are prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to keep the job at all costs.
What if you want a life? What if you want a job that is ennobling and satisfying? What if you just want a job where you are proud of what you are doing?
Maybe you will have to go out and find one – or better yet, create one!
Don’t be surprised if it means that you will have to make some changes in your own expectations and in your attitude toward life.
The solution to a changing workplace is not clamoring for entitlement. We have already seen where that leads. I think that a changing workplace can be dealt with by becoming a solution, not a problem.
I dealt with some of this in Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day,
but there is so much more that needs to be done that I am getting back in
the saddle and will resume work on the next book, which has the working
title Who’s In Charge?
I think that we all have to move on, if we expect to find gainful employment in the coming decade. I don’t think we will see the deconstruction of corporate America, but I think it’s a brand-new game and we will need to keep our wits together.
Any thoughts on what the next five years hold for corporate employees?
Tag: age discrimination