With the baby boomer generation aging in the workforce, age discrimination is becoming more prevalent. Age discrimination occurs when an older adult is discriminated upon specifically because of their age. It’s an unfair practice, but one we are unfortunately seeing more of.
Signs of Age Discrimination
There are a few ways you can tell that you are facing age discrimination at work. For starters, you’ll likely hear crude, unfair jokes about your age. It’s one thing to lightly tease one another in the workplace, but it’s another thing entirely to consistently ask someone when they’re going to retire. You may start to notice that you’re no longer getting raises and promotions, and instead you’re being given duties that no one else wants to complete.
You may also see a shift in who is being hired and witness age discrimination not directly, but across the company. When companies start to push older employees out and bring younger people in who will take lower salaries, age discrimination is the likely culprit. If you’re on the job hunt, you may notice other candidates are picked over you time and time again.
Overcoming Age Discrimination
Whether you’re a target for age discrimination at work or you’re trying to find a job, there are a few strategies you can implement to work through ageism. In the workplace, make sure you stand your ground and make it clear that you have no plans to retire. If you’re being given unfair duties or performance evaluations, address whether it’s an opportunity for you to make the most out of the situation and grow, or if you need to speak to a supervisor. While ageism is certainly not fair, it gives you the chance to show your supervisor and team what you are capable of and why you are an asset to the team.
When you are out interviewing for jobs as an older adult, it can be tricky to navigate age discrimination. Maintain a positive outlook and put thoughts of ageism aside so as not to psych yourself out. Go in well-rested and wearing an outfit you feel confident and comfortable in. Try to avoid drawing any attention to your age and instead focus on what you can do. Discussing your vast experience draws attention to your age, so instead talk about all you are capable of. It helps to practice interviewing with someone before you go into the actual interview. It will also help to have basic computer skills and to know about technology trends.
Remember: you deserve to be in the workforce as long as you want to. Don’t let age discrimination stop you from following the path you want to take in life.