Make Your Voice Heard
5 Ways to Stay Relevant and Fight Ageism at Work
Tips for standing out at work or in your job hunt
Ageism is real, and it impacts women in the workplace. Those interviewed for our story on ageism offered up 5 specific pointers that will help you stay relevant in your current job — or in preparing for a job search.
- Stay at the top of your game.
Be constantly learning — from your colleagues and direct reports. If they can’t help you move forward, find other ally-mentors. Take advantage of educational courses your company offers and look at courses at local colleges and universities. It is especially important to stay on top of what’s happening to your sector in the digital world, since it advances so quickly.
- Be aware of the power base of your company.
Who is in charge? Who will be the next generation of top managers? Make sure you’re with the power team. Who are you connected to within the company? It’s a losing proposition to be connected to a most valuable player if that MVP is on a losing team. Be strategic. This doesn’t mean you have to be conniving. you just have to be alert, smart, and political.
- Be selfish about your own needs and speak up.
Does your industry require travel? Choose the job where the travel demands meet YOUR needs. Women tend to be less vocal and don’t advocate for themselves as well as men do. Sometimes it seems that in restructurings or reorganizations, higher-ups looking to eliminate jobs or lower salaries target those less likely to speak up over issues. Don’t let that be you.
- Today’s job search is not about the same old, same old.
You cannot just be what you have done. Take an inventory of your experiences and see where and how you can apply your strengths. Be reflective and understanding about which potential you want to stretch, where you want to apply for a job, and acknowledge that it might not be where you would have applied in the past. Be realistic about compensation: It’s not a given that you will earn the same salary you have now in a new job.
- Be able to have water cooler conversations.
While you might not want to hang out with younger colleagues after work, you don’t want to be the office fuddy-duddy either. Read the style or living sections in your newspaper to keep abreast of pop culture or the cool store that opened nearby.