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For managers across the spectrum, the Millennial generation work force is growing in numbers. Forbes suggests that 80% of hiring managers have a view their Millennial employees have narcissistic tendencies, but that this may stem from different generations not understanding each other and their thought place of what a workplace should be. Traditional team based management structures are under threat by an evolution in work environments.

As professionals age, each individual is accountable to apply their intellect to mitigate the risks associated with ageism. Since the last publication, Warren Buffett, at his annual shareholders meeting noted that one of his top executives is 92, and still running one of his largest business units. This statement speaks for itself.

Subsequent to the first post on this series on ageism, there have been two publications reported by the Wall Street Journal which validate the active practice of ageism in the job market. As these reports come from the US, one involves a potential violation in US Labor Law. With that being said, the purpose of this publication series is not about how to find yourself engaged in a multiyear law suit, but rather proactively avoid the practice of ageism in your job search.

“Ageism”, being an “ism”, means that it is a matter of “subjective” thought. The implication, ageism is a matter of “Perception”, which as an employee, or job candidate, you have some level of control. Historically, those most concerned, were largely those in their 50’s. Ageism, is now a metaphor, which is multi-dimensional, and evolving. While ageism is known to affect organizational hiring practices, you as an employee or job candidate, have more “self-control”, today, than ever before, as to how you are perceived. This publication series deals with these topics.

 

Series Introduction

“Ageism”, being an “ism”, means that it is a matter of subjective thought. The implication: Ageism is a matter of perception, which as an employee or job candidate, you have some level of control. Historically, those most concerned were largely those in their 50s. Now we have the millennials; who are known to place quality of life ahead of work achievement. Ageism is now a metaphor, which is multi-dimensional and evolving. With better healthcare, many in their 50s are performing at the same level as those in the past did when they were in their 40s. While ageism is known to affect organizational hiring practices, you as an employee or job candidate have more control as to how you’re perceived now than ever before.

After six years with a Vietnam government commercial enterprise, returning to the US reflected a lack of professional collegial individuals to interact with. In essence, I had no professional network. As a basis to re-establish a network, many advised that I needed to attend conferences and summits, where I could meet and connect with certain individuals in-person for mutual benefit. While this approach to networking has proven time and time again to be successful, it required time and a great deal of patience, which I simply did not attribute to myself.

Henry Mintzberg took on Harvard Business School’s teaching methodologies, in his widely acclaimed book Managers Not MBAs, by arguing that “conventional MBA classrooms overemphasize the science of management while ignoring its art.” In acknowledgement, management in this post is considered an ever evolving set of practices shaped by the cultural environment one finds him or herself in, where the “art of management” is to be practiced.

This year, like none other, digital commerce is becoming the lived reality for all. When visiting assisted living facilities, it is not uncommon to find residents with their tablet computer at hand. When meeting someone for the first time, a colleague, potential employer, friend, etc., your name will likely be googled. As such regardless of personal preference, establishing your personal brand is essential to remain relevant in the emerging digital age.

In the 1980s, business publications took note that employers were making a fundamental mindset change as to how their employees are viewed due the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution pension plans. Employers who offered defined benefit pension plans encouraged and rewarded long-term career employment. In essence, the longer you remained with an organization, the greater your personal long-term benefits. In contrast, when employers shifted to defined contribution pension plans, this represented one of the greatest mindset shifts of employers in recent decades. Born was the age of employees as objectified commodities and employee free agency.

The manner in which you join the management team of a new organization results in you being branded. How you’re initially perceived at your organization can have material implications to your short and long term success. A mind set-based metaphoric example could be the first time you taste a new fruit: aroma, texture, size, shape, flavour, and overall desire for further purchase represents the subjectivity of being branded. One either likes or dislikes the fruit based upon these subjective measurements.

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