I interviewed Fawn Germer yesterday, who recently released a book called “Coming Back: How to Win The Job You Want When You’ve Lost the Job You Need.” There is a link to the book on Amazon that I embedded. If you purchase it through the link, I may make $0.40.
One of her essential points is that as we get older, we lose relevance. Now, some of you may display the arrogance of youth and proclaim, “Duh,” as you read that.
Your time will come when this will be a factor for you, too.
I remember being in my early 20s, a relatively inexperienced headhunter, and asking myself the question, “What happens when they become 40? It seems like people disappear.”
The age may have shifted, but it is still happening. Part of it is societal. Part of it is individual.
“Complacency sometimes sets in for those who cling to the old way of thinking that the company will take care of its people until the end,” she writes. “You are deluding yourself if you think that what you delivered in the past should count for something. Companies are looking at your performance that way.”
“Your bosses are looking at you as a contributOR. Not someone who contributed.”
“Complacency drives elimination.”
Seniority no longer equals reward.
And there you have it.
This attitude is the employment version of the mutual fund disclaimer.
“Past performance does not indicate future returns.”
When I worked for a search firm some years ago, I was one of a handful of more senior professionals (I was in my mid-40s) in an office primarily in their 20s.
The firm’s owner encouraged the sort of disrespectful chirping that those in the 20s throw out with irreverence at those who were older. As someone who is outselling three of them combined and having had enough, I walked over to them, smiled, and made eye contact.
“Just remember one thing,” I said. “I’m your future . . . If you’re lucky.”
That is true both of the good things in the more difficult things.
Now at 70, an age I never expected to reach, I work at my relevance.
I’ve been a podcaster for ten years. I have a podcast that is number one in Apple podcasts for job search with more than 2000 episodes. My YouTube channel at JobSearchTV.com reaches even more people. I’ve converted it to OTT tv. It can be watched on Amazon, Roku, and through an app called BingeNetworks on Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.
I have been writing both here and in book form, making sure my search experiences get translated to different audiences than my podcast and videos do.
That’s looking at my past. It is what job hunters do so frequently when they interview, talking about their history without connecting it to the future. Without that connection, we are doing little or nothing to demonstrate our relevance.
It is my responsibility to connect with them by making it obvious how I can help them. Too often, more senior professionals are dismissive of those younger than they. You may not think you are, but ageism cuts both ways.
You segregated yourself with your peers of the past, creating ghettos of geezers like retirement centers for thinking. It isn’t safer there. If anything, the mental homogeneity is dangerous because it keeps you isolated.
It is felt difficult for me during the pandemic to do this because, for me, a scheduled connection is different than what occurs naturally and casually. I could use that as an excuse but don’t. I have to adapt like everyone else does.
Otherwise, the old man gets in and takes me down the road that’s useless.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.
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