I posed this question to my students last week. The answer? When I feel confident and stop putting my age before the accomplishment or start a sentance with " When I was BLANK AGE (young)..." Sounds simple enough, but when am I too old? Is middle-age the purgatory stage of my career?
Generation Y has arrived at work with a new attitude. According to Gen Plus, "Anywhere from 1.3 to 2 million new jobs are predicted for 2006, and everyone, from marketers to economists, is gearing up for a feeding frenzy similar to the one that heralded the dot.com era." Who will get the jobs, the youngsters or baby boomers?
Read about Diana White and her troubles job searching at the age of 52. White did land a job after three years. "The interview with hospital chief executive Jeff Beasley went well. He says he wanted someone with hospital and mental-health experience and marketing skills -- exactly Ms. White's background. When Mr. Beasley asked what Ms. White brought to the job, she says, she told him that, unlike younger candidates, she had an understanding of human nature that came only from experience. He says she also showed energy and "a sense of humor."
Human nature and a sense of humor...now, is that being taught in school these days. Almost one year ago my blog began very much without a sense of humor or an understanding of blogosphere nature!
In a 2003 SFGate.com article, Getting girls into business: Women executives want to attract youngsters, only 9% of teenage girls surveyed listed business careers as their first choice because they were less confident about their knowledge of business and less likely to want to be the boss. Obviously, they did not survey me in 2003.
Ageism is discrimiation of extremes. In the near future there will be a huge wave of retirees (not defined as the Golden Age of old, but the first of the baby boomers). Youngsters (this includes me), do not wear your resume on your sleeve or become offended with baby boomers exerting their expertise. Boomers, don't discount the youngsters because lack of years and their flip-flops. Experience does not always equal being an expert. We need to learn from each other and open the lines of communication...our ears, not necssarily our mouths.
I am not a fan of country music, but I dig the song, Live Like You Were Dying. Don't lose the passion in your work no matter what your age. Keep your enthusiasm over the long haul. Easier said than done, but remember, life is a journey, not a place. All of us have much to learn.