Tina Turner may belt out, “What’s love got to do with it?” but my own rendition is “What’s age got to do with it?”
Too often, I come across individuals who say they’d like to apply for such and such position but their age is a hindrance—whether they feel they’re too young (and therefore unlikely to be accepted as experienced) or too old (and thought to be unfamiliar with up-and-coming, cutting-edge technology).
Ageism is not a roadblock to success, and the candles on your birthday cake aren’t individual stop signs. Julia Child wrote her first cookbook about the age of 50, and Colonel Sanders was 65 before he started the KFC franchise. On the flip side, Michael Dell was 19.
Are you a baby boomer who wants to go back to school, attend a seminar or take a class? If you want to further your personal or professional development, go for it! School is never out for the pro. Lack of time? Purchase CDs/DVDs that you can listen to on the way to and from work. Feeling frumpy? Take a good look in the mirror. Are you wearing the same glasses or clothes you did five years ago? Perhaps it’s time for an update to make you feel as valuable on the outside as the wisdom you possess on the inside.
What if you’re younger and feel you’re too inexperienced to apply for that new job opening? Do it anyway. Confidence, being eager to please and a desire to learn can all be key incentives for employers. Demonstrate your unique set of skills and you never know what can happen. Look back to see what you’ve done that could be transferred to the work world and brought up in an interview. Find a mentor and ask for his or her support. Be certain to present yourself in a manner that shows your maturity and grace. Drop the speech crutch, “like,” from your vocabulary.
Your age can work in your favor if you let it. Decisions, not conditions, determine your path. Decide to go for it no matter how many times you’ve circled the sun.