How can one successfully overcome ageism for experienced workers for those 40-70 years old in the workplace?
The human brain relies heavily on set stereotypes to accelerate the thinking and decision-making process. So don’t think that you’ll never experience ageism in your workplace. First, you need to understand how your mind works by questioning your assumptions. If people in your workplace discriminate against other older adults but not you, it doesn’t mean it will always stay that way.
Here are a few ways to handle ageism in workplaces:
Never stop learning and expanding your knowledge.
Make an effort to keep growing every year, read more, know about new trends, and always look for the most efficient ways. Find yourself a mentor that can help you achieve your goals.
Make it your purpose to prove wrong to those who see older workers as lazy, unambitious people who can’t adapt to change and technology. If you don’t want others to think of you that way, then avoid using your age as a reason why your boss should go easy on you.
Remove the mentality your workplace owes you because of how long you’ve been working there. It’s true, older employees are more experienced and have much to offer, but it won’t do you any good if you keep telling those “back in the old days” stories. It only makes others put on their old-guy stereotype lenses whenever they see you. Separating yourself from younger employees will make them discriminate against you.
Even if your work record makes you feel secure about your position, it shouldn’t affect your performance at all. Always try to maintain the same level of polish and precision as younger employees, and remember that you, as an experienced operator, represent your company more than anyone else.
You may think discrimination does not exist in this modern life anymore, but it does! However, racism is not the only discrimination in societies; ageism is another discrimination that has remained invisible for centuries and even now! Ageism could show up in very different situations. One of the most important places that we can obviously notice the signs of ageism is in our workplaces.
So many employees have experienced ageism in their workplaces, whether they have seen it or not. If you’re over 50 and you think some skills are just for younger people, and if you’re using your age as an excuse to not learn new skills, you’re committing the same mistake to yourself! Don’t expect your boss to take it easier on you because you’re older than others; don’t judge yourself based on your age cause people are already doing it for you!
Take a decisive step: Read, practice, and stay up to date! That’s the only way to make others judge you by your skills and achievements, not anything else. Don’t be like people who think they can’t learn anything and start to lose their skills as soon as they turn 50! Learn about technology, smartphones, and other skills and subjects to improve your development. Follow the news to know what’s going on around you.
If there’s someone who bothers you or any offensive behavior in your workplace, take notes, write down the dates, and report it to your managers. Don’t be afraid to object. Suppose this behavior is from the managers or your boss. In that case, you can report this problem to a lawyer or other competent legal authorities.
Don’t be afraid to leave the environment you’re not comfortable in. It may seem scary to leave a workplace you were in for several years but believe: nothing is more valuable than your mental health and inner peace. Be open toward changes! Start to look for other positions and job offers. It’s always plenty of fish in the sea!
Avoid complaining about technology or saying things that make it sound like you are incapable of tech. Look for YouTube videos, or try online courses from edX, Coursera, Udacity, Lynda, and so on to learn the basics of Windows (or OSX), Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, fluent in the use of email and online calendars, and be reasonably familiar with social media, like Facebook and Twitter.
Respect your supervisor even if they are younger than you. They are the boss, not you. If you cannot respect your supervisor as a person, respect the office and the chain of command.
Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around because you’re older. Be brave and speak up! Engage in the world. Mentally and physically, people who stay active can overcome ageism more quickly. Follow the news. Live in the moment, and look to the future. Prove to your children and grandchildren that you know what’s happening around you. Using email and social media can be so fun if you feel comfortable.
Attitude is directly concerned with how people can conquer ageism, Hinrichsen says. So, look at the bright side and be positive. More importantly, be as independent as you can. “If you suppose that since you’re a certain age, you better avoid doing specific things, you won’t be able to do them.
So try doing your daily tasks yourself. Chun says that taking a gym or community college class with more youthful people will help combat ageism. That’s easy, yeah! Surround yourself with younger people. And volunteering to participate in activities at your church.