What do you see in this image?
A man with grey hair?
Someone with a military uniform?
In uniform, this man probably carries some status. He is probably looked up to, and people understand he probably knows something about his profession/vocation. Perhaps he is staring at the tenders to his naval destroyer. Maybe he is keeping a watchful eye as his cruise ship passes through a lock in the Panama Canal.
But out of uniform, he's just an old man.
At least that is the way a lot of corporate australia and recruitment agencies see him.
He's done, finished, ready to be put out to pasture and definitely not wanted around here where youth and vitality is the currency of today.
More than 25% of mature people in Australia report discrimination. No matter their level of wisdom and experience, they take up to twice as long to find a job if they find themselves out of work.
If I was responsible for that navy ship, or owned that cruise ship I know who I'd want at the helm. And it wouldn't be the first year cadet who hadn't ever captained the ship.
Now what if the role wasn't captaining a ship, what if it was a manager of a team that had to review the operations of your business. Or perhaps a group needing some experience in sales.
My point is, we shouldn't be judging someone on age. We should judge them on experience, and wisdom and ability to get the job done.
The facts are irrefutable:
- mature individuals are amongst the most productive age groups in our society
- they are often a sandwich generation caring for not one but two other generations
- we cannot afford the social costs of a forty year retirement or pension
- mature people make the most effective of entrepreneurs
Ageism sucks, and that is why.
Let's start engaging these wise, experienced, productive and effective members of society and punch the lights out on ageism once and for all.
We will all be mature and then old eventually, so why hamstring our future selves with anachronistic behaviour based on a single defining factor - the date on our birth certificate.
How can you make a difference today?