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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Will you work when you’re eighty?

I spend every Sunday visiting my 94-year old grandmother. She is unusually healthy and independent for her age. But what strikes me most about her is that she is lacking in purpose. Little things take on big importance because not very much happens from day to day. And she is always looking back at the period in her life when she felt useful and productive. When she could do things and go places. This experience, coupled with the fact that I really enjoy my work, makes me think I will likely work until I can no longer work.

The interesting thing is that my grandmother doesn’t even understand what I do — a common issue for people who age and lose connection to the workforce. In fact, we had a running debate on whether “blog” was a real word since it wasn’t in her dictionary. Finally, she saw a reference on CNN to Larry King’s blog and then an article in her Readers Digest about blogs, and she conceded that I was not making up this work I claimed to do. Since my grandmother has never been on the Internet, I can understand why blogs don’t seem real. And thought it’s easy for me to say I’ll commit to staying current on the ways people work, I do wonder how hard that will be once yet to be envisioned tools are created by those generations younger than I. {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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Career advice from my readers

Usually I’m on the advice-giving side of things. But some readers have recently given such good advice in the comments that it’s about time to shine the spotlight on those wise souls who are teaching me something about careers, putting me in my place when I’ve failed to see the whole picture on something, or simply disagreeing with me.

Here’s a few of my favorite nuggets from the comments section: {Read the rest at Yahoo!}

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My Guest Blog on Yahoo!’s Shine

For the next few months I’ll be guest blogging at Yahoo!’s Shine, an online community for women. “Working the New Economy,” is going to focus on the bright lights in the world of work. Not because I’m oblivious to the news, but because there are bright lights.

Lots of people are trying their hand at entrepreneurship, volunteerism is up, social entrepreneurship is gaining traction. People are investing in themselves and reinventing through inexpensive (or free) educational tools.

I’ll be looking at the tools of the new workforce, the mindset you need to succeed, and the nuts and bolts of how to make various moves. The advice and stories I’ll be highlighting should get you thinking about how to make changes and moves in your own life.

Visit often. Sign up for RSS.

Got ideas? Please tell me.

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A Board Game for the New Rules of Work

Talking Business With Guy Kawasaki

A conversation with Guy Kawasaki, a serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, blogger, speaker and author, about his new book, "Reality Check."

Talking Business With Guy Kawasaki


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