The Morning After Happy Hour on Ageism and Your Job Search

Dear Happy Hour Revelers,

Thanks for a great evening.  I’m so happy you came and participated – and with such grace!

Here are a couple of loose ends I want to make sure are tied up in a bow. (I don’t mean to be preachy after our lovely conversation.  This has turned into a blog post that I’m trying to make clear.)

  1. The list of ways we condition ourselves to see ourselves and others as aging - a bad thing - comes from an article called, 12 examples of everyday ageism, OCTOBER 17, 2017. Click HERE to access it.

What to Do When Someone Makes Ageist* Remarks to You

Here’s more follow up about what to do when confronted with ageism to your face. Of course, I’d love to hear your ideas, too!  Please share them with us.

2. I’d like to suggest some ways to respond when someone is rude to us. You have a few options based on two principles: 1) You are always entitled to respect. 2) All grownups are equal: you have the right and choice of a grown up to speak back.   

  1. You can use the When you…, I feel…, and I would like… formula to describe what they just did and the impact on you.

  2. If it’s at a job interview, you can tell the company owner or HR that you’re disappointed to find the culture here is so unwelcoming/uneducated/ uninformed – and you can add “seemingly tolerant of illegal behavior” if it’s a senior level person and you’re really angry and sure of what you’re saying (It’s directly about age). The point is you’re giving them a service - a heads up.

    The most effective way to do this is to describe the behavior and words they said in as non-judgmental a way as possible. For instance, if we say, “she disrespected me,” the person can argue with us. But If we say, “she laughed out loud, covered her mouth and turned away and I could hear her laughing tone of voice telling her colleague “You won’t believe this!,” there’s no way to argue.

                                                    i.     Please remember, we’re not alone. There are other ways that people are disregarded and disrespected, too. There is racism, sexism, looksism**, false expectations of others for any number of reasons and just plain meanness in the world.  We don’t have to tolerate any of it. AND, your goal is not to get THIS job. Your goal is to get fabulous offers to work in a place and way that is pleasing to you, uses your gifts and talents and brings you and others joy.

3. You can say, “I’m glad to have learned more about your company and then disengage yourself from the hiring process by saying in your “thank you” letter that “upon reflection I’ve decided to withdraw from consideration for the XYZ position.” You can write the reason or not as you see fit.

4. And finally, you can look within to find the reason the person said this and see if there is some way in which you harmed yourself or your chances by saying or doing something ageist yourself. Examples might be, not talking with younger people in the office, or only making eye contact with the senior person there, things like that.  (It’s common to wait for the interviewer before turning on our charm. But the receptionist has a lot to do with how you are perceived by the person she is letting know the interviewee has arrived.)

                                                    i.     If we walk in with a worry about, “will they like me?” that will be in the air between us. If we have an idea, “I don’t like how the world has changed – older people working for younger ones,” that will be in the air between us.  We are not as good actors as we think we are. You know this from your experiences with others who have acted one way, but you were pretty sure there was another layer underneath.

                                                   ii.     It’s really helpful to get comfortable with people who are different from us way before an interview.  Then when we get to the interview, we will already be comfortable, know lingo and signs of comfort from the other, younger, person. We won’t be wondering can younger people like us, because we will know we already are known, liked and trusted. We are then in a position to support both of our ladders of trust (ours and the interviewer’s). There may even be some way to compliment, “I love working with younger people! They inspire me!”

A new project you might be interested in

A new project we’re just starting is for job seekers (or anyone) who is having trouble receiving anything you want - connections, interviews, offers, encouragement, ideas (in one case a new boyfriend). Please consider joining our project for harnessing group power for Increasing Receiving. You can find the journal directions HERE.  If you are not on Face Book (where the group is sharing our results for encouragement), or if you use a different name there, please do let me know so I can approve you for the group.  I’m a caretaker at heart for this group and want to ensure it’s safe. The Face Book Group page is HERE.

A Request for Help

Finally,If you are finding these blog posts and other resources helpful, there are two ways you can help me. keep the Center growing.

  1. I need clients for coaching and workshops so I can pay the rent and expenses.  If you know of someone who could use my help, would you refer them to me? Please let me know how I can help you make the introduction. 

  2. Second, I need “social proof” of the benefits The Job Search Center provides to encourage people to join us. Would you consider writing a testimonial or recommendation on LinkedIn? A good recommendation for me is to say what results you are getting – how you now have a clear focus; how you are getting more offers, better leads/connections; guidance in interviewing that led to offers; seeing and using more options than you thought existed - that sort of thing.

Thank you for your help!

* These guidelines hold true for younger candidates, too.

** Preferring good looking people over plain.

Thanks so much for coming last night and for reading this far.  Your comments at the beginning of our happy hour got me thinking more articulately about all this.  I appreciate the opportunity to get back to you and hope you find this helpful. 

I really enjoyed our conversation last night and look forward to more casual events like this one.

 Best wishes for hearing you say soon, “I got the job!”

Sue Nelson