Land of the Lost: The Fight Against Ageism

 
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Fifty is not the new thirty; It’s not even the new 40 and depending on who you speak to it's sometimes considered prehistoric when referenced in the tech industry. Apparently, ageism is a real thing and becoming more and more pronounced in the Silicon Valley and other tech hubs throughout the United States! Experience, wisdom, a lengthy career, and track record is out while youth, risk taking, and accepting lower salaries in turn for stock shares is in! The Jurassic Park jab does have some relevance though as older workers are finding themselves approaching extinction in the Valley and elsewhere when it comes to landing new jobs or hanging on for dear life to the one they have. While tech giants spend millions campaigning their efforts around gender and race diversity, they refuse to release demographics on the average age of their workforce and offer very little in terms of internal support and new skill training for older workers. In addition, you rarely hear about the growing number of lawsuits and complaints against these companies in recent years suggesting severe degrees of age discrimination, but they are plentiful and on the rise from the dinosaurs who are choosing to fight extinction. The median age of an American worker is 42. Yet at Facebook it's 29, Google 30, Apple 31, Amazon 30 and Microsoft 33 according to self-reported employee data collected by research firm PayScale in 2016. Most job candidates at those companies are 25 to 34 years old according to data collected by Glassdoor, a jobs and recruiting website. These statistics prove that ageism is a real thing and extremely prevalent in tech hubs throughout the U.S. So much so that highly skilled tech workers who simply happen to be older (in comparison to the above stats) are finding themselves having to move elsewhere in the United States to secure both employment and a lower cost of living. The impact is both real and significant and the stigma that the youth associate with these “dinosaurs” is that they wont work hard, aren’t willing to put in long hours and have dated skills or the inability to acquire new skills. Simply put, they think they’re more skillful, smarter and are the only ones capable of true innovation since apparently you have to be young to innovate. There’s clearly no regard for the path that was paved for this generation of thinking or respect for past technology advancements based on this real culture and acquired mindset. Proof of this — Mid 30’s is considered 'old' and few know what the term 'seasoned veteran' means. In short, being older makes you a liability in their world. I want to be clear that I’m not saying this is the case with ALL tech companies and or ALL industries for that matter as I’m sure that there are the exceptions, but I am saying that the statistics do support ageism as being a real and growing trend.

So how and why is this relevant? Well you see, in my research I discovered that there were a number of dinosaurs (I feel ok using this term since according to the above statistics I could be considered a T-Rex) who refused to face extinction. I know this, as I’ve coached many who were faced with the realization that they would no longer be able to remain relevant, earn as much as they used to, and for a lot, even remain employed. So instead of watching their world blow up around them, they took their skills, their experience, their track record of success and took the leap of faith into entrepreneurship. I was able to provide them with the necessary support and strategies to transform their skills and passions into their own successful businesses. In entrepreneurship, there is no “Ageism” as YOU are the boss. YOU call the shots…and YOU dictate your future.

If this is you, I can help. Don’t be called a dinosaur, create your own Jurassic Park or Land of the Lost (I’m assuming the above stated under 35 technologist aren’t familiar with these movies/shows….well maybe the Jurassic Park reboot) where Dinosaurs ruled the world! Don’t choose extinction, choose Entrepreneurship! It’s the only true survival method!