I worked for just over a decade in Washington, DC at the national headquarters of AARP where I developed an awareness about employment challenges for older workers (people age 40 and beyond) that I share here today with you. AARP switched their marketing focus to appeal to people born from 1946 through 1964, which was a departure from the initial AARP target audience of people born during or before the Second World War. This marketing change was so AARP could remain relevant at least from 2011 through 2029, the span of years that the baby boom generation hits age 65.
Whether AARP is the best organization to benefit you as an older worker (versus a retired person) is not the focus of my commentary here today. But, it is true that AARP consistently has tried to socialize how people today can try to cope with workplace age discrimination.
The marketing phrase that stands out for me is this one: “Age is just a number and life is what you make it.” Various versions of that sentiment found their way into AARP marketing over many years since the mid-1990s. There is some logical truth in that phrase, of course. However, in the real world, how many birthdays you’ve reached has much more significance than being “just a number” for you.
Experiencing age discrimination in the workplace (either while attempting to get hired, or, on the job, itself) in the United States happens to be what’s “normal” for most people. Some career paths, of course, are exceptions to this cultural norm. But, most of us have already learned painful lessons from our experiences with workplace age discrimination.
I work as a professional life coach and business improvement coach. On the personal coaching side, I mentor people who are older workers to reinvent and restart as the preferred way to fight back against workplace age discrimination. The methods I use are proprietary, but I can describe here how this works.
Very few people are born with a built-in skill to use their mind always for their own good and prosperity. So, I teach people that skill to augment what’s already in their set of skills. What happens after my coaching, consulting and mentoring is a person becomes confidently skilled at using their mind in proven ways that lead to their own good and prosperity. There is no magic or medications and nothing to take. Anyone with a mind that works can attain this newly-acquired skill.
Older workers know that age discrimination is reality. No marketing campaigns from any organization can diminish this. Age discrimination will not go away for you in the workplace if you attempt to “appear younger” by coloring your hair. White hair looks cool. You can fight back against such workplace discrimination by learning how you can use your mind to succeed personally and professionally and leave your competitors behind.
Reinventing and restarting yourself at any age is neither simple nor painless. But, not reinventing or restarting yourself may lead to you remaining stuck in life. Don’t let that happen.