Ageism is Alive and Well
I recently published my latest whitepaper, Dealing with Ageism – The Last Acceptable Bias White Paper where I attempted to bring together all of the views on dealing with ageism. I have spoken with a lot of experts about ageism on the Repurpose Your Career podcast. I have written a lot of articles on the topic of dealing with ageism.
Here are some examples:
- How Age Beliefs Drive Ageism and What to Do About it with Becca Levy [Podcast]
- Dilemma of Being Over 55 and Experiencing Long Term Unemployment
- Why Ageism is One of the Only Forms of Acceptable Discrimination?
- Ageism – What It Is, How to Identify It and What to Do About It [Updated]
- Generation X, Welcome to the World of Ageism
- This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism [Book Review]
- Elizabeth White on Being Fifty-Five, Underemployed, and Faking Normal [Podcast]
- Job Search Ageism: What You Need to Know
Ageism is not going away in my lifetime. We just have to learn to deal with it.
Dealing with Racism – Appearance
A number of years ago I had an African American friend speak at Metropolitan Breakfast Club about the lessons he taught his sons. He knew his sons needed to deal with racism, particularly if they were stopped by the police.
A lot of what he said was common sense. If stopped by the police, keep your hands on the steering wheel, be polite and respectful, and do not give the officer any opportunity to think badly of them.
He also said something that I still remember. When his sons went to get their drivers’ licenses (and driver’s license pictures taken) he had them dress professionally, i.e. suit and tie, and to be very well groomed. He wanted his sons to portray a professional image on their drivers’ licenses.
First impressions matter!
We all know that but do we understand how we are perceived when meeting someone the first time? Have you asked for objective feedback on your appearance?
My Image Consultant
Before my wife and I moved to Mexico in 2018, I coached individuals one-on-one. It was not unusual for me to refer my male clients to my image consultant, Jean LeFebrve. I made the referral because, in my honest opinion, they needed to update their wardrobe and needed an objective opinion on how they appeared.
Most would not even have an introductory meeting. I struggled with this issue because Jean was very gentle in her approach and would have helped tremendously.
I had one client who did go to Jean. He was a top-flight project manager, and very well respected but had difficultly landing jobs. Jean threw out his entire wardrobe. They shopped for clothes and totally changed his appearance. He landed a contract project management position at a major technology employer. He immediately noticed how people treated him differently.
My client had no idea that his dress and appearance had such a big impact how he was perceived and therefore, how he was treated.
Your Physical Aappearance
I had another client who I worked with in high technology who was struggling to find employment. His clothes, physical appearance, and mannerisms communicated that he was old and slow. It did not help that he was well into his 60s and his health was in a decline. He would run out of energy in long interviews and get brain fog.
During the pandemic he finally changed his diet, increased his daily physical activity, and therefore, he lost a fair amount of weight. His demeanor changed quite remarkably as well.
What got him to change his diet and his physical activity? I don’t know what triggered the change of behavior but he did remark how much better he felt.
When you feel good physically, it shows up in so many ways.
Positive Role Models
Since moving to Mexico, I work to surround myself with people who have a positive outlook on getting older. That is with both transplanted Americans and Canadians – but also my Mexican neighbors.
I have an 80+-year-old female neighbor who runs a little tienda (convenience store) that is no bigger that a walk-in closet. She sits out front of the store every day and greets everyone who comes by. She has an incredibly positive outward appearance. She is physically frail as she walks with a cane but her smile and behavior are of someone much younger.
I hike and bike with Americans and Canadians who are in their 70s and are much more physically active than I ever was before I moved here. I have been inspired to up my game.
Because I have so many positive age role models in my life, my own attitude has changed about what it means to get older.
Aging is Normal
We all get older. There I said it!
That does not mean we have to act old.
If you listen to my interview with Becca Levy in the podcast episode, How Age Beliefs Drive Ageism and What to Do About it with Becca Levy [Podcast], you will hear her speak about how our own age beliefs effect our health. If we look at getting older in a negative light, it will have a negative affect on our health. We will likely look and behave like we are old and therefore, we will be treated like we are old.
The one way to deal with agism is to reframe our own age beliefs. If you look at aging as a positive, you will likely live a longer, healthier, and more prosperous life.
Think about that!
What are you going to do about dealing with ageism?Marc Miller