How to Behave As an Older Employee in a Modern Company
In companies, especially those that specialize in technology, there is a lot of talk about diversity and inclusion, but one of the marginalized groups that is often overlooked is the elderly. What is “senior”, of course, varies greatly depending on your industry and personal views, but anyone closer to retirement than college has a different approach to work. Here’s how you can help yourself in a workforce that gets younger every year.
Don’t try to hide your age
There are a number of invisible barriers to getting the job you want if you’re older and looking for a job or starting a new company. People start to give up dating on resumes and heavily edit their work history. It might help you get through the gatekeepers for your interview, but if it does, you’ll still appear to be yourself.
Remember, you probably don’t want to work for an ageist company, and a hiring manager who doesn’t recognize the value of employees with different outlooks and backgrounds is probably not the one who you want to take control of your day.
Recognize your worth, too
You have a lot to offer: if you are approaching 50 or older, you have survived the recession, bounced back, worked in a variety of jobs, and you can manage yourself. The TalentSmart study found that this ability improves with age, according to a survey they conducted of 10,614 people between the ages of 18 and 80:
Self-management skills seem to grow steadily with age – 60-year-olds score more points than 50-year-olds, those who score more than 40, and so on.
There are probably other benefits to getting older that you haven’t even thought about; The US News reports that seniors generally take better care of themselves, eat well, and exercise, so they are actually healthier than most millennials. Sounds great for a manager looking for someone who is reliable and possibly flexible: people looking to retire or have large families may only want to work part-time. You are the right fit for the job.
Stay involved in social life
There are challenges to staying in a corporate culture that does not attempt to accommodate the needs of older wage earners. Social events might be about alcohol or rock climbing, and you might not want to get ahead of a college trainee shooting fireballs over a 40-foot wall. The camaraderie that builds up between team members during social gatherings is important, and you don’t want to be expelled.
Plan ahead how you will participate, if you can. If you cannot, then it is worth talking about it in the HR department. It’s okay to promote activities that are not only more open to different age groups, but also for families with children. There may be people in your company who are not your age with similar needs, and you can turn to them for support.
Stay interested in your work
In the office, there are several ways to remind colleagues that age does not mean lack of interest. Monster.com has a number of guidelines for older IT workers, in particular to show that they are “in the know”. Is this phrase out of date? Well.
One of their main pointers if you need to keep up to date is attending classes, inquiring about training, and even working on open source projects to get involved in the tech world outside of your day-to-day work. Continuous learning is beneficial not only for your resume, but also for your brain. Monster also offers a tech blog, assuming it gives people the impression that you stay connected to your industry.
Become a mentor
Hey, you know a lot and your workforce is constantly inundated with people just starting out. This is the whole problem. Ask about opportunities for seminars or mentoring programs. Think about what you want to do or how you think you can contribute. This demonstrates your valuable experience as an employee and that you can connect with your team to help them grow.
And remember that mentoring can go both ways. You can probably learn a thing or two from young people, too. Plus, letting someone show you how to do something is a great way to make friends. You need someone to hang out with at the climbing wall.