Posted: February 26, 2013
Top 10 reasons Boomers aren’t getting hired
The only thing bigger than your ego is your salary demandJohn Heckers
Is it age discrimination? While there certainly is some of that going on, there are many valid reasons why people 55 and older have a harder time getting employed. Here are 10 of them.
1). You're way too expensive. An insistence on a high salary is the main reason Boomers are staying unemployed. There are plenty of start-ups and smaller companies that would love to have your experience. Be open to sweat equity and smaller salaries. If your lifestyle is getting in the way, change your lifestyle now while you still can.
2). You're hopelessly behind the time technologically. Technology is driving most companies today, even the ones that aren't specifically tech centered. If you can't keep up with the technology, why should an employer want to hire you? Get up-to-date now. If you won't or can't - time to retire.
3). You've got a gigantic ego. I can't tell you how many people come into my office and tell me that they've got it handled. None of them do. Their egos are just too huge to accept help and get coached. Hey! That comes across to employers. If you think you're "the bomb," you're going to.
4). You're resentful of younger people. I hate to tell you this, but they're going to take over when you're gone, so you'd better get rid of your resentment and share your experience with them, while asking them to coach you where you're behind the times. Younger people can be very frustrating at times. But, I've got news for you. So can we.
5). You look like you've got one foot in the grave. Maybe you can't look 20 again, but you can look younger. If possible, dye your gray hair. Update your wardrobe, but don't try to dress like you're a 20 year old. Guys - the stubble beard that young people can carry off just makes you look like a bum. Women - no one needs to see a micro-mini on a grandma. Look as young as possible without looking absurd.
6). You act old. You walk slowly. You groan when you get out of a chair. Rather than giving you a job, you might find yourself with a ride to assisted living. Might I suggest that one of your best investments for the future is a gym membership with a personal trainer who specializes in working with middle-aged and older clients? A good trainer can make a world of difference, even if you have very real disabilities.
7). You're speaking in teen-age slang and it sounds absurd. Okay - you've got teens or young adults at home. But if I hear one more person my age use "awesome" with every other word, I think I'm going to "go postal" on them! Using young slang doesn't make you seem young. It makes you seem ridiculous. Please speak as an adult. And don't use the words "like" or "I mean" frequently either. (This is good advice even if you've just graduated from high school!)
8). You have outmoded attitudes about life and people. If you have bigotry against any race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, etc., would you please get out of the way for people who have come into the 21st Century? These disgusting attitudes have no place in the workplace whatsoever.
9). You won't do the work. I have heard many CTOs say that they won't or can't code. Ditto with other high-level people. They won't or can't do the basic work anymore. Someone in their mid-to-late 30's will. This is why they beat you out. Employers want people who can pitch in with sleeves rolled up. Be one.
10) You're enamored of large companies. Large companies don't want you. They want someone 20-something. They cost less and they're better able to be brainwashed. Smaller companies want you, but you'll have to be reasonable on salary, benefits and perks, and maybe even work for free for a short time (or eat what you kill). Smaller companies are where the future lies, not in the mega-corp dinosaurs. Look at small companies first, not as a last resort!
If you're too old to change and learn (and accept coaching, even from someone younger), you're too old to work. Change and grow, or retire or die. These are your only real choices in today's market.
John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.