Is “old” a dirty word?

Shortly after writing the post, “Are your work habits making you look old?,” with Pamela Redmond Satran, author of the book, “How Not to Act Old,” I got an email from Barbara Raab, a friend who works in television.

“What’s wrong with acting “old” (a.k.a. one’s actual age) at work?” she wrote. “I don’t think you meant it to be ageist, but I really think this post IS ageist. You haven’t told me WHY I should not look over 40 at work; you seem to take it as a given that seeming one’s age, if that age is over 40, is something no one would actually want.”

She continued: “How about wearing tight jeans and a thong that shows? Or coming to work hung over? These are also things that young people do? Why did you buy into the whole notion of acting younger at work?”

Barbara makes some excellent points. Being perceived as “old” in the workplace shouldn’t be considered a bad thing. In fact, experienced (older, mature, choose your word) workers have tremendous value in the workplace and I didn’t mean to suggest otherwise in that post. She’s also correct  that younger people make huge missteps at work that can often be traced to their youth or inexperience.

I wrote that post with full knowledge that ageism exists and that it is insidious. And those are the same reasons that Pamela Redmond Satran says motivated her to write her book, “How Not to Act Old.” {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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