If 40 is the new 30… 50 is the new “kiss of death”

I have discovered the fountain of youth and it’s called LinkedIn.

I recently took a course through MediaBistro on how best to use this job networking website. My main takeaway – under no circumstances am I to reveal my age. That’s right. No graduation dates, no laundry list of work experience dating back 25 years and make sure you use a damn good photo!

50 glasses 1

Apparently all those years of work and life experience aren’t worth a thing in today’s job market. The job recruiter leading the course told us, “Your age will be used against you.”. It’s all about youth, youth, youth! Screw it up and you too could become part of the fifty-something and over group a Boston College study has dubbed the “new unemployables”. (I’ve previously posted about how this age group is also seen as irrelevant in the eyes of the media.)

Scary stuff but the problem is once you tell me not to do something I can’t stop doing it.  I almost feel like I’m on a single-handed mission to break this youth obsession. My Facebook page is now covered with images of me celebrating turning fifty. To top it off, this past weekend I marched in the local town parade with a few high school classmates holding a banner celebrating our “50th Birthday Bash Weekend” for all the world to see.

Cow Harbor Parade class of 81

The job recruiter from the LinkedIn course would tell you this is tantamount to a twenty-something posting photos of herself on Facebook doing bong shots. We might as well have streaked down Main Street. Yup, there will be a price to pay if a potential employer stumbles upon these photos.

What’s a middle-aged person to do? Do we really think we’re kidding anyone by shaving decades off our resumes? As my sister said to me this weekend, “Some days I wake up in the morning and I have fifty written all over my face.” She’s right. Okay, sometimes that’s because of a bad night’s sleep, but more often it’s because of where we are at in life and what we know. Guess what? You can’t hide this stuff, nor should you. I don’t need to have a Oprah Winfrey “Aha” moment to tell you I’m at the top of my game and raring to go and oh yeah, as of today I’m 50. (I guess that was obvious by the fact I used the phrase “raring to go”.)

50 glasses 2

My question is why are we all buying into this fallacy that our work and life experience isn’t worth anything? Even worse, it’s being held against us.  Are you seriously telling me some Millennial in the midst of a quarter-life crisis has it more together than I do? I don’t think so.

A recent article in Forbes magazine addresses the swift turnover of Millennials in the job market. Their discontent has to do with the typical work model of having to gain experience and earn respect in order to climb up the ladder. According to the article, “60% of Millennials are leaving their companies in less than three years. With 87% of companies reporting a cost of between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace each lost Millennial employee…”. The article goes on to explain things employers can do to keep Millennials from leaving the job.

Here’s a thought. Let them go. Trust me, they’ll be back in a few years when they have a mortgage to pay and a couple of kids to raise. In the meantime, you can fill the positions with a few fifty-somethings. Honestly, we’ll show up on time with a good attitude and believe it or not plenty of talent. Heck, if you’re willing to put up with some 50th birthday bash photos on our Facebook pages, we’ll even stick around!


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