AGE AND THE WORKPLACE
Although ageism can cut both ways, most studies have focused on the +50’s.
Research has shown that more than half of the workforce has witnessed or experienced ageism.
The ADA also protects younger and older Australians from discrimination in other areas of public life, including education; getting or using services; or renting or buying a house or unit.
In addition, the ADA makes it unlawful to harass or bully another person because of his or her age.The intention of making it illegal may be clear-cut, yet in reality, it’s application is anything but, as human interactions are inherently “complicated”.
Most hiring/HR managers would deny the existence of ageism, yet, the reality is NOT that clear-cut, as ageism often goes unnoticed, and innocent behaviors may seem like ageism to some. So, it’s precarious to assume that all is well and dandy just because you work at a “progressive-thinking” organisation, and, just because something feels like ageism doesn’t mean it is.
Being overlooked for NEW and “challenging” projects. OR, unpleasant or tedious assignments are more than often given to the “older” employees.
Not being invited to new client meetings or company social events.
It’s assumed you are not entitled to take time off for family commitments because you don’t have young children living at home anymore.
Inappropriate or hurtful comments/jokes about age…in the guise of retirement plans, slow typing speed, level of fitness etc. Or, it could be more aggressive in the form of being pressured to relinquish workload or even retire?
- Invest in your continued growth and development. Read, stay up to date on trends and best practices, and push yourself to do better every year. Get a mentor, whether within your current company or outside, who is dedicated to supporting your success.
- Make a commitment to embrace the aging professionals, as they are a wealth of industry and institutional knowledge. But remember, there’s value in not reminiscing about “the good old days.” Don’t be your own worst enemy, and bring up your age as the reason why your manager should take it easy on you. Don’t fall into a belief that your workplace “owes you” something for your past contributions. Don’t buy into age stereotypes, as your own actions/thinking can affect how you act.
- Project the same level of enthusiasm and professionalism as your younger colleagues, as there is no reason to not do your best at all times, even though you may feel secured and established in your position.
Finally, if you are experiencing agiesm, protect yourself by taking notes; recording the dates and witnesses to conversations, and get HR invololved ASAP, as they can and are equipped to help you assess the situation and advise you on your appropriate “next steps”.
Just like your younger colleagues, keep your network active and your options open, and above all, stay on top of your game.