Is it Ageism or Your Attitude?

by Edwards, Sherri Tuesday, June 14, 2011
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Is it Ageism or Your Attitude?

There is an ongoing debate about age discrimination in the work place that has been around for a very long time. Since we will continue to have younger workers enter the workplace, it is likely a case will continue to be made either way. My position is it doesn’t do anyone much good to simply buy into it and give up on their pursuits without, examining the situation more carefully.

It is helpful to understand why employers might be concerned about a worker’s age and what it could reflect, and at the same time, take into account what really makes sense for the worker (you) at this stage of your life/career. The following is a checklist of sorts to identify issues often associated with older workers.

1. Rigid and stuck in their ways.

2. Poor or failing health. Medical issues impact attendance and productivity.

3. Afraid of new technologies.

4. Slower to learn new concepts. Slow to change.

5. Years of highly developed opinions; unwillingness to hear new ideas.

6. Expensive. They demand higher wages.

7. Poor investment because they won’t be staying with the company for long enough to get a return on investment with their training.

8. Physically slow moving. Low energy. Unable to sustain long hours if required.

9. Risk adverse.

These are real scenarios that can be associated with older workers. As you may already have figured it out, there are people of ALL ages that may also reflect many of these concerns. Younger people often get stuck with “fads” and believe their way is the only way. They can also have health concerns, low energy levels and can be slow to learn concepts that are outside of their experience. They also may only stay with an employer a brief time to get the training they need, just to move on to something bigger or better in a very short time.

If these aren’t issues you have, then it is pragmatic to look at other reasons why you may not be achieving your employment goals. The key issue is not necessarily age, but attitude and circumstance. It is important to focus on the things you are doing that you CAN change to ensure you achieve your goals. However, if any of the attitudinal issues could be associated with you, then think about why, and make some changes.

It is important to be honest about your mind, body and spirit when pursuing anything. Be realistic about what you can do, want to do and need to do first, then find the balance for yourself. The more you identify those elements and set realistic timeframes to accomplish it, the more likely you will be to achieve rewarding goals.