Age is more than a state of mind

JULIE CHASE | MAY 19, 2020

“Musicians don’t retire. They stop when there’s no more music left inside of them.”
— Robert De Niro in The Intern

For the first time ever, we have five generations in the workforce: Silent, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z. Even more interesting, the rate of workers over 55 is outpacing the overall growth of the labor force and will make up nearly 25% of the workforce by 2026.*

These significant changes are presenting tremendous opportunities and challenges, especially for the more experienced generations. I just finished reading Wisdom @ Work by Chip Conley, who inspires us to understand the wisdom that modern elders bring and the impact they make in the workplace.

Here are some of the ways modern elders share their wisdom:

  • Good judgment: the older they are, the more experiences they’ve had — allowing them to provide long-term and unique perspectives.
  • Unvarnished insight: providing a clear, intuitive insight that cuts through the clutter identifies the core issue and opportunity.
  • Emotional intelligence: modern elders are self-aware and empathetic — understanding others beyond their words, which increases their connection with others.
  • Holistic thinking: connecting the dots to synthesize information and seeing the whole versus the varied parts — helping to recognize patterns.
  • Stewardship: modern elders make an impact by sharing their experiences and helping develop others’ functional and leadership skills.

Many of our clients are over 40 and some of them feel at risk for ageism. Everyone has obstacles to overcome, including perceptions. Some people may make assumptions about you staying at a company too long or too short, the size of companies you’ve worked at, the wide range of roles you’ve had or your age. The tried and true guidance I give is to be aware of your constraints so that you can figure out how to work through them.

Here’s an interesting correlation: the people who don’t believe age is a limitation have greater success in their job search. They have a growth mindset and strong belief that they are valuable and worthy of amazing opportunities.

If you feel like you’re becoming less relevant or are undervalued, I recommend that you take stock of your career. List all of the initiatives you’ve led or contributed to and the impact you’ve made. Write down your accomplishments and awards. Note all of the people you’ve managed, mentored and coached.

Hopefully, you’ll be impressed by all that you’ve done and more importantly, be aware of all the wisdom you have to offer. These are the stories that you’ll want to include in your informationals and interviews.

Be proud of the career you’ve built and the rich and robust experiences that you can share with a new organization. They’ll be lucky to have you and will value your wisdom and knowledge.

Are you looking to make a strategic career move and land a job that you’ll love and thrive in?

If so, then watch our video and book a session with one of our job strategists. We’re excited to learn about your career goals and share insights.

*The Aging American Labor Force, December 2017