50 is the new 40 (unless you’re job hunting)

I originally wrote this piece for LinkedIn and it received far more exposure than anything else I’ve ever written for the platform (almost 40,000 feed views so far). The topic really struck a nerve.

Let me know your thought in the comments below. Who is to blame and how do we fix it?

Japan has the 2nd highest life expectancy in the world at 85 years. Ironically, hiring decision-makers at many companies, both foreign and domestic, seem to believe that the over 35s are unable to be productive in a work environment (except, of course, they themselves and their C-suite).

Yes, yes, it’s ‘succession planning’ they say, or the 42-year-old manager ‘feels uncomfortable’ having a report who is two years older than him, as a rejection email leaves their Outbox.

But in a supposedly ‘talent short market’, you must adapt or your business will fail.

I don’t know about you, but I probably spent too much of my 20s hungover, operating at ‘less than 100% capacity’. Now, at the ripe old age of 48, I get out of bed at 6:00 am most mornings (a time I often used to get home at in earlier years). Despite my declining years, I still somehow manage to get work done. We’re all at different stages of life and have value to contribute at each stage.

So, when a resume lands on your desk and you suspect a grey hair, look for a reason to set up a call and see if you can work together, not simply reject based on a piece of paper and a dose of prejudice.

Let’s act like we hope to reach 50 someday too.

Further reading: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2020/01/28/commentary/world-commentary/age-discrimination-bad-business/

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1 thought on “50 is the new 40 (unless you’re job hunting)”

  1. Yes! I think those of us with more experience, who are a bit older than mid-thirties, bring a LOT to the table. We’re more stable in our lives and you’ll never find someone over 40 complaining that they’re “bored,” or “there’s nothing to do.” We are self-motivated. Point us in the right direction and you don’t have to worry about whether or not we’re actually working. At 49, I’m the oldest member of my team and I have no problems keeping up. It’s great! The younger members keep me from growing stagnant and I feel like my experience is valued and appreciated. Most days, I don’t feel like someone who is approaching 50, although there are days when my knees tell me otherwise. I think constantly pushing myself to learn new skills is one of the best ways to fight the negative affects of aging.

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