Getting Older Doesn’t Have to Mean Facing Workplace Ageism or Becoming Obsolete

People can become obsolete, too.

05 Dec Getting Older Doesn’t Have to Mean Facing Workplace Ageism or Becoming Obsolete

Whether you’ve been downsized, outsourced, pinkslipped, or you’re setting out in search of a more fulfilling way to spend your workdays, having trouble finding new employment in middle age or beyond is nothing new. Youth has always been a prized asset with enough benefits to outweigh inexperience.

There’s a perception that today’s technology makes being older a debilitating liability. But if you keep up with it, technology is even more of a boon for older workers than for those crazy kids.

Once upon a time, when you were laid off from the mines or the factory because you got too slow and feeble, you were out of luck. And options. But now, if you can still read the print on the screen, you’re far less likely to be disadvantaged by physical factors associated with aging.

You have technology to thank. So be grateful for it, rather than curmudgeonly muttering and shaking your fist at it.

Ageism in the workplace largely stems from the assumption that the older you are, the less you can use the current tech tools of your trade. The best defense is educating yourself about these tools.

If you’ve been around them but never bothered to learn them, you already know where to start. Otherwise, talk to people in your field about which technologies are most important. Also, as you look at job ads, note the hardware and/or software listed as qualifications.

Stop brushing these things off. They’re here to stay, and you only remain relevant if you can work with the newest tools of your industry.

A friend or relative—especially a younger one—may be able to help you learn. Many libraries offer free computer courses. Instructional books are available for just about everything. Consider registering for a few courses at a local college or arranging to just sit in on them.

There are lots of ways to learn. Often, the hardest part is deciding to do so.

As you enter the next stage of your career, talk openly about your technological abilities and your willingness to learn new skills as needed. Pointing to tangible steps to stay current and bolster your skills makes you a more appealing candidate.

Proficiency in your industry’s current technology combined with years of experience makes you an asset to any team. Talk up both aspects as you tell your story in your resume and interviews.

Then go show those whippersnappers how it’s done.