Sheryl Sandberg has the nation talking about the capabilities of her hypothetical Heidi and Harry and gender bias. I've got a post brewing about leaning in, but today I'm thinking about another workplace battle, age bias.
It's official, I'm an older worker. I'm getting along but refuse to give in. There are cultural assumptions that, because I'm aging, I can't possibly be creative. Truth is, I might move slower, but that is just my intentional way, as I'm also more thorough, more exact, and often see the answer far outside the box. As an IT professional, I'm supposed to react quickly and embrace change - and the technology field, in general, is a youthful culture. But let's remember that having fresh ideas and doing things correctly are not mutually exclusive pursuits. Older workers provide different advantages as we can leverage our years of experiences and call upon successes, and failures, when making new decisions.
Hang on to your mental youthfulness, physical fitness, etc. (I read recently that we are more concerned about the fuel we put into our cars than the junk we put into our bodies.) Keep learning new things to build broader connections and expand your mental capabilities. (I'm paying more attention to The New York Times crossword puzzle each Sunday, especially because I find it so challenging.) The natural self-confidence you will gain from these extracurricular pursuits will convince you that you are still in the game. It also doesn't hurt to carry a backpack, prefer a Mac to a PC, have a smart phone - and if you must wear a watch, make sure it's trendy. More visual cues you can manipulate? Only my hairdresser knows!