What is ageism and how to fight it

Old TypewriterAre you in your 40s, 50s or 60s and contemplating a new career and then reality sets in, and you start thinking, “who will hire me at my age”?  I will not sugarcoat reality, and I will admit ageism or age discrimination does happen. For example, an employer refusing to hire someone or an older employee being fired or treated differently all because of their age are examples of ageism. But, before you panic, you need to know that you can fight it!  There is a myth that jobseekers in their 40s, 50s or 60s are unproductive, unable to learn new things and cost companies a lot of money. Is this true? Not according to research on these workers’ ability, productivity and attitude. The data concludes that all stereotypes on ageism do not hold up to reality.




The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.
– Steve Jobs

More and more people are working later in life, and it is observed that their performance is more consistent over time than younger workers, which makes them better at solving problems. 

Workers in their 40s and beyond use their years of experience to create practical problem-solving approaches, and they tend to care more about their jobs. In addition, older workers are usually motivated by fulfillment and contribution.  

Research shows that older workers are less likely to change jobs compared to younger people. What does that mean to the employer? Money and time saved. Recruitment is one of the highest costs to an employer.

Team work

Experience is often overlooked or at least overshadowed by age, but experience and knowledge are your greatest assets. Taking an inventory of your accomplishments is crucial when promoting yourself as a valuable addition to an organization. The hiring manager will notice when your work uncovers your unique value and the wealth of experience you bring to the job.

Of course, not every 65-year-old reaching traditional retirement age will want to keep working or finding meaningful ways of contributing, whether through employment, entrepreneurship, or community service. This article is designed to help people find their next career, even if they are in their 40s, 50s or 60s. You can do it!

In societies where mature workers are respected and where their wisdom is respected, everybody benefits.  Workers are more engaged and more productive. Their health is better. They live longer. – Deepak Chopra

What to do next

Ok, so how do you know what to do next? Do you have any ideas? Whenever you get excited about the thought of a new career, a bunch of questions will fill up your mind:

– Will I have to go back to school or retrain?

– Will the pay meet my expectations?

– Is it a good career path?

– Can I move into that field with no experience?

– What else should I be thinking of?  

All these questions float around in your head and can stop you from taking action. Instead, you could connect with someone with real-life experience and conduct an Informational Interview, a powerful career change tool.

When contemplating a career change later in life, your resume might feel like a hindrance. However, personal connections you make through informational interviews can help you bypass job applications and be the first to hear about new opportunities. In today’s technological world, hiring managers love to get referrals from people they trust. So even if your conversation is a dead-end in terms of your career search, every interview you have will give you an insight into the type of industry or career you are considering.

On the other hand, if you have no idea what to do next, starting conversations with people in careers that pique your interest can give you insight into what makes you excited and what doesn’t.

Informational Interviews

Before going on an informational interview, you need to prepare. First, look inward and know your product and yourself to have meaningful, detailed conversations about your experience, strengths and abilities. 

Here are three steps to get you started: 

1. TAKE INVENTORY OF YOUR STRENGHTS (do not fret over what you don’t have).  

    I challenge you to start with a minimum of five accomplishments or achievements. These can be minor things that you are proud of and brought you results. Use the framework SAR: Situation, Action, Result, which outlines your accomplishments in a simple and informative way. 

    Here’s an example:

    Situation: The office supply store was cluttered, and it was hard to find anything

    Action: I took it upon myself to reorganize the store

    Result: It led to a 20 percent increase in sales

    These statements can then be stories that you tell people you know and don’t know when networking to showcase a skill set. 

    2.  TAKE ASSESSMENTS

      There are so many self-assessments out there, and free ones are popping up everywhere. Here are a few that are quick and free:

      www.mynextmove.org

      www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

      www.mint-hr.com/smalley-trent.html

      3.  BE CURIOUS

        Do you wonder what your neighbour does for a living? Is there an executive you admire? What about your family and friends? Do you know what their job or career is? Again, you will come across as having a genuine interest in them, not needy or desperate.

        Age is not how old you are, but how many years of fun you’ve had. – Matt Maldre

        Here are some stats: Let’s take a look at three of the six generations. 

        Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) make up 27 percent of the population and are beginning to retire. However, many are starting a second, third, or fourth career or sometimes called “encore careers”.

        Gen X (born between 1964 and 1979) is poised to take the jobs from baby boomers, and they account for about 20 percent of Canada’s population.

        According to Statistics Canada, Millennials (born between 1980-1995) are now the largest generation of Canadians in the workforce, at 27 percent of the total population.  

        This is good news for you if you are a Baby boomer or Gen X hunting for a new career.  Let me show you why.

        After identifying your years of experience and strengths, consider these five ideas for your next job and when considering people to approach for an informational interview:

        1. CONSULTING OR CONTRACT WORK

          You are now in your midlife, and you have solved many problems. As a result, you can become a consultant in just about any industry or career field.  

          2.  NONPROFIT WORK

            You have had a successful career, or you now want to give back and find fulfillment in your work. You can get either a paid position or volunteer.

            3.  TEACHING 

              COVID resulted in many people leaving their jobs. Schools are desperate for supply teachers, and becoming a supply teacher could be your solution if you’re looking for more flexibility in your role. Because of the supply teacher shortage, some school boards will hire without education certificates. 

              4.  FRANCHISING

                Have you dreamed of being your own boss? Buying a franchise might be the perfect solution for you. There are so many out there that could fit your it’s style, whether it’s hands-on or managing from afar.

                5.  THE INTERNET

                  You can now earn very good money on the internet, whether selling, self-publishing, blogging, teaching online, etc. Most of them can be done on a flexible schedule, at home or at your favourite coffee shop. 

                  Do you still think ageism exists? Don’t make it an excuse. Fight back!

                  Please write a comment below, would love to hear from you.

                  Are you thinking of changing your career but feel it’s too late?  Book a complimentary 20-minute call with me and get you excited about your future.

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                  6 thoughts on “What is ageism and how to fight it

                  1. I didn’t know that currently in Canada were the the largest generation of in the workforce. Yeah, knowing this, we can take advantage of our experience. it is very easy to get upset about ageism. But not all is bad. Experience can’t be bought at the shop. And there are tasks that we’re better suited for.

                  2. I could not agree more with you, I am 66 and still working for myself and actively looking for other work as well. Discrimination of age is prevalent all around the world and I see it almost every day in advertisements where an age range is stated. Fortunately, especially in remote jobs, I see more and more equal opportunity companies. I know of one country where there is a recruiter specializing in the elderly: Singapore (only for residents though).

                    It gets all the stranger when I see that some people in their 40’s are completely burnt out and some in their 60’s still going strong. It pains me to see that professional companies do not see the difference. They are very short-sighted and think that high salaries will be asked. I am wondering whether remote jobs will be the real opening for us?

                  3. Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful discussion about ageism in the workplace. It’s a tough issue with real consequences and can be worse in some industries than others. In the tech industry, I have definitely seen a shift towards preferring younger talent. The younger people tend to know new technologies better versus more experienced candidates that know more about the existing tech systems. Thanks for the helpful ideas on ways to navigate this tricky phenomenon.

                    1. Thank you Aly, I want people to know that if they don’t want to retire, they don’t have to, and they do have many options.

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