peuterey outlet peuterey sito ufficiale giubbotti peuterey outlet peuterey outlet peuterey sito ufficiale giubbotti peuterey outlet peuterey outlet peuterey sito ufficiale giubbotti peuterey outlet woolrich outlet piumini woolrich outlet giubbotti woolrich outlet peuterey outlet peuterey sito ufficiale giubbotti peuterey outlet hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet hogan outlet online moncler outlet moncler sito ufficiale piumini moncler outlet woolrich outlet piumini woolrich outlet giubbotti woolrich outlet hogan outlet scarpe hogan outlet hogan outlet online woolrich outlet piumini woolrich outlet giubbotti woolrich outlet

Supporting the workers of Indianapolis: Employed—Unemployed; Happy—Frustrated; Executive—Employee. All are welcome!

Home » The Indy At Work Blog

Managing Age Discrimination at Work


Robby

Whether you’re older or younger than colleagues, customers, or interviewers, there is a chance you will experience age discrimination at work. How do you recognize it? And what do you do when it happens?

Age Discrimination
© Flickr User Phil Whitehouse

Before we can talk about age discrimination, we have to talk about the amazing variety of ways that people have age-related prejudices:

  • Adultism is a preference for adults, or more generally an opposition to children, youth, or people not seen as adults
  • Jeunism is discrimination against older people in favor of younger ones–including a bias for vitality and the physical beauty of youth.
  • Adultocracy is a social convention which separates the world into “mature” and “immature” people, and assures that adults have authority as a result.
  • Gerontocracy is system in which leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population—such as the College of Cardinals that elect the Pope.
  • Chronocentrism is the belief that one’s own generation is the best.

Got all that? What’s important to remember is that age discrimination in the workplace is simply using someone’s apparent date of birth as a signal about their competency.

Age Discrimination
© Flickr User KimSanDiego

Recognizing Age Discrimination

It’s usually easy to notice ageism in the workplace by listening carefully. Take note of words like junior, kids, old timer, veteran, hack, whippersnapper, young turks, buck, kiddo, champ, greyhair, or punk. There’s almost never a reason to refer to someone’s age, directly or indirectly, so these terms are typically suspect.

You can also look for patterns. Are people from the same age brackets assigned to projects over and over again? Do special perks go to people who have a few more years of work experience (especially if they are newer at the company?) Does it seem like the year you were born is ever a factor in what you’re required or expected to do?

Finally, ageism can masquerade through the secondary characteristics. If the the trend is to send send young people to run errands or fetch items (because they have “more energy”), or give old people exceptions (“because they’ve earned it”) that might be age discrimination. Or: the “fresh-faced” are asked to staff the tradeshow booth while the “old hands” are expected to take on key customer meetings.

Countering Age Discrimination

Once you know it’s happening, how do you stop it? First: here’s what not to do. Resist the urge to lash out by attacking others or using sarcasm to express your frustration. This is likely to fan the flames, because it gives the other person evidence to support their prejudice against your age.

Instead, ask questions. Use a plain tone of voice and try and be genuinely curious. “Why do you feel that way?” “Can you say more?” “What is your reasoning behind that?” “Could you explain how age is a factor?”

Prejudice of all kinds falls apart under scrutiny, and the best kind of analysis is one that comes from the person who is trying to advance their bias.

Age Discrimination
© Flickr User Dept of Energy Solar Decathlon

So don’t let age discrimination happen. Catch it, and push back gently. Ask questions. Help people understand that what matters is not when you were born. It’s what you’re doing that counts.

Like this post? Share it through your social networks:

About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

Read more by

Tue, June 17 2014 » Change Managment and Learning Organization, Corporate Culture, Ethics and Fraud

One Response

  1. Laura Neidig June 19 2014 @ 11:31 pm

    Great post, on a problem that I think is the most prevalent type of discrimination in the job market or work place. This is especially hard to combat while looking for a job.

Leave a Reply