How relevant is your age?

We have all felt too old or too young at some point in our careers. Today there is a lot of talk about ageism and it rings true from many age perspectives.

How relevant is your age?

If you are to believe some job advertisements, it is probably around 35 because then you have had time to gain experience but have still not come too far in your career to not still be hungry for more and curious. But is it really the perfect age?

Many have small children at this age, maybe acquired a home that requires more attention than before and is in the midst of piecing together the puzzle that is their life.

On top of this can you focus and deliver the best at work then? Maybe the perfect age is as a new graduate and you enter work life wide-eyed and open-minded?

But also, without much work or life experience. Perhaps 55 is the perfect age, when you have more experience and your children are all grown up?

But at that age, some wonder, perhaps you don’t really want to learn something new?

A perfect age does not exist, or to put it more optimistically; an age is always perfect. Why is it that your age matters so much and often becomes a criterion to fill, in search for new colleagues?

What is important are the experiences you have gained along the way, what you have learned from them and how you can put them to good use and build on going forward. It’s never as simple as attributing characteristics such as mature, stable and traditional to those with 30-40years’ worth of work experience.

Nor is it possible to attribute curiosity, modern approach and hungry to those individuals who have only been working a couple of years.

I have met extremely traditional 25-year-olds and 60-year-oldswith an outstanding capacity for curiosity and ability to think fresh and in new ways.

So why do we get stuck on age? Probably from our often-preconceived ideas of what a career has traditionally looked like and how it "should be". It is time to let go and face the changing times and that a traditional career is not so common today.

We live longer, are healthier, the world has become smaller and we are overwhelmed by the many new impressions around us from all corners of the world.

Many of us will in our working life switch between different industries, change career focus and level of responsibility several times over and not let our career follow a linear path.

Curiosity will be our compass and our desire for professional as well as personal development will help steer the course.

“The traditional linear career path is quickly becoming a thing of the past.”

Today there is a lot of talk about ageism and it rings true from many different perspectives.

If you are young, it can be difficult to get a job because you lack experience and if you are older, you have too much. How can you even have too much experience?

It's all about how you as an individual chose to use your experience. With experience, you gain knowledge that leads to new insights and so it keeps growing.

Having curiosity is the key to developing and growing and it is not linked to one's age but rather to personal characteristics.

Old and young. Junior and senior. It does not have to be opposites but can complement each other, both as individuals as well as in a group.

You can be experienced in an area when you are 25 and junior when you are 65. You can be mature and curious at the same time. You can be experienced and at the same time hungry for new knowledge.

The best groups are those where we harness the differences and complement each other in experience, knowledge, gender, background and age.

We know that we just have to dare to look past the preconceived notions we ourselves make up, often in pursuit of a simplified picture.

As I heard John Mellkvist say in an interview with my colleague Carolina Engström - "To discriminate against age is to give yourself a smack on the head in the future".

Sonnica Frändberg

Senior Researcher
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This article first appeared on AlumniGlobal.

 

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