This is important

“That federal law protects individuals who are 40 years of age or older from employment discrimination based on age.” HR drones everywhere are rolling on the carpet laughing. Ever tried to get HR to pass your resume along if they spot any clue that you are 50+?

As we get older, That we should accrue several skills that are hard to commoditize (sp?), such as:

  1. veritable expertise in a domain (several domains preferably to act as fall-back plan A, plan B, plan C, etc.),
  2. a reliable professional network,
  3. a portfolio of work (something, anything),
  4. increased business acumen,
  5. leadership skills,
  6. cross-domain troubleshooting abilities (software/hardware/network troubleshooting),
  7. and an ability to do lateral moves, however painful they might be, to put food on the table without significantly sacrificing our current lifestyles.

All of that crap translates to the following: By the time we hit 40’s we shouldn’t not be directly competing for the same type of jobs with right-out-of-school kids. Or in more general terms, we should allow ourselves to fall into a situation of having to compete with people 15-20 years our junior.

If we are, then we didn’t pay attention to our career development. I saw this in earnest because I spent (wasted) a good chunk of my mid-career years being happy as a “code warrior”, disdainfully avoiding any opportunities to take greater responsibilities or broadening my professional and technical horizons. I wasn’t being lazy as I would happily clock 60/70 hours “just coding”. I was just being ignorant (and ignorance is bliss, right?)

It wasn’t until I had people depending on me that I realize how stupid and dangerous that is. We do not get any younger, and we must have something to show from all those years of experience (show something other than coding abilities.)

I oppose age discrimination on principle (and any kind of discrimination unrelated to reasonable work requirements – working more for less is not a reasonable working requirement.)

But I see too many people resting on their laurels expecting to retire doing the same shit they have been doing for the last 20-30 years. That *dream* started to get shattered when the Japanese started beating the crap of American manufacturing 30-40 years ago.

Some people really hadn’t gotten the memo yet.