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Work and age - The Ex-Communicator

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May 28th, 2010


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09:48 am - Work and age
I'm working from home today - I feel I need a quiet time. I'm revising a report with contributions from writers in Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden. This is the kind of work I like to do. It's interesting and suits me.

I was talking (in an f-locked post) about the difficulties I might have looking for work at my age. I joked about people saying 'You don't seem that old', but afterwards I thought it might seem as if I was boasting 'People think I seem young'. That wasn't how I meant it at all. I don't think seeming either young or old is important.

On the other hand, I feel that I am more effective and wily than I ever have been in my life. When I was in my thirties I worked as a lecturer and then a writer, two jobs where it is possible to be a bit maverick and resistant to organisational politics. I think it made me a bit lazy. Working in a more structured environment (as I have in my forties) has been frustrating and I've complained a lot, but it has forced me to develop skills I didn't have before.

Of course, I am not saying I know more than other people, I'm saying I know more than I used to. But, now I am a greater asset than I used to be, I may find it harder to get a job. Or perhaps - and this would be typical of me - I am gloomily anticipating problems that will not materialise.

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:jomacmouse
Date:May 28th, 2010 01:07 pm (UTC)
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I hope they don't. Materialise, that is. You've got qualifications and tremendous experience, and recruiters who actually know what is required for a position may well love you if your age is left out of it (as it should be). The ones who don't really know, now, there's a problem :-(
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From:communicator
Date:May 28th, 2010 02:49 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I have been advised to leave dates off my CV. How ridiculous that anyone should have to.
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From:gfk88
Date:May 28th, 2010 01:34 pm (UTC)
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I feel similar, in that I have much more to offer to a job now I'm in my forties than I ever did before. Actually, it now feels vaguely miraculous that anyone gave me a job at all when I was in my twenties.

While there are still a lot of organisations which are strongly biased towards younger people, for various good or bad reasons, I get the impression there are equally many nowadays which strongly prefer older people who can already do the job they want doing and won't cost a lot in training up and being helped to learn how to exist in the workplace. So I wouldn't be too pessimistic in your position.

I laughed when you described yourself as wily. Well, you don't come across like that, but maybe that proves ***just how wily you really are***.



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From:communicator
Date:May 28th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
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More wily than I have ever been before: the baseline level of wiliness was fairly low

PS hope you are right about the grey revolution

Edited at 2010-05-28 02:49 pm (UTC)
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From:emeraldsedai
Date:May 28th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)
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I have this strong urge to suggest that you include the phrase "more effective and wily" in your cover letters.

I'm only half kidding. I was in my 40s before I learned the absolutely critical skills the acceptance of which would have seemed so cynical and sad to me in my twenties and thirties, but which have made work in my forties and fifties twice as personally rewarding: understanding hierarchy, choosing my battles, listening, personal detachment (formerly completely misunderstood as sucking up to the man, copping out, and apathy, respectively).

I think if you asked my 40-something (male) manager, whose entire staff is right around the age-50 mark, he'd say we're the easiest and most productive group he's ever managed.
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From:communicator
Date:May 28th, 2010 10:41 pm (UTC)
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Thanks, yes, I was a bit of a late learner in that area. I'll never be much good at that stuff, but at least I have a vague notion of the territory.

I'm not sleeping too well, but I'll calm down eventually.
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From:glitterboy1
Date:May 28th, 2010 11:02 pm (UTC)
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I'm sure you're right in your feeling about your effectiveness and wiliness, and I think that that understanding is itself part of those skills and insight. I hope that the problems don't materialise, and that you find something where they understand what you can do.
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From:communicator
Date:May 29th, 2010 08:11 am (UTC)
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Thanks glitterboy, I am getting the collywobbles because it's been so long since I had to do this.
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From:glitterboy1
Date:May 29th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
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I can understand that. It's one thing to tell ourselves what we could do in the private sector, or even to look around elsewhere while in a secure position; it's another to have this situation pushed on you.

You have a wide range of skills and experience that I hope will mean you have a number of options. And above all, you have a gift for understanding and communication. I'm hoping for the best for you, and I think some organisation, somewhere, is going to be very fortunate to have you with them.

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