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Too young to retire, too old to rehire: increasingly common challenge

(Business) Many people are feeling right now like they still have a lot of work years left in them, but feel threatened by competing with young job candidates – let’s address this increasingly common challenge.

baby boomers and mobile ads

Age discrimination at work on the rise

Age discrimination reports have gone up over the last decade, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 2003, they received 19,124 reports. In 2013, the number of reports was 21,396. It’s not a question of “does age discrimination exist?” but a question of how you deal with it when you’re trying to get hired.

If you’re over 50 years old, you’re probably aware of how hard it can be to find another job. Proving that you weren’t hired because of age is even more difficult without inside information about the process, so making a complaint probably won’t assist your cause. How do you get past the age problem?

Look at it from an employer’s standpoint. These are some common concerns:

  • You may not have the stamina that a younger worker has.
  • There is a concern that you aren’t up to speed with the newer technology.
  • You may be more unwilling to try new ways of doing things.
  • You might be insulted because they can’t offer you the salary you are worth.
  • It may be difficult for you to take orders from a younger manager and work with team members that are significantly younger than you.

These are reasonable concerns. If you take steps to address them, you’ll come off more confident and as a better candidate. You don’t have to be able to run a marathon, but regular exercise will give you more energy, and help you to exude more energy. Have an up-to-date online presence. Future employers will check out your social media presence. It’s not just Facebook. Be active on LinkedIn.

How to turn the tide on your own

When you’re in an interview, you need to be prepared with examples of how these concerns are not relevant. Being proactive is the way to turn the tide. You can also ask deeper questions about the industry and processes of the company so that you sound more like a consultant with inside information.

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Looking for a job at any age is difficult, but as you get older, the difficulty increases. Network with everyone you know, and look at smaller businesses and non-profits that value experience. Being able to step into a position and start working immediately with your know-how is a good way to get your foot in the door.


Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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