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3/4/2013
01:06 PM
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IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?

There is bona fide ageism and there is failure to learn new skills in a constantly changing field. Let's not confuse the two.

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A reader wrote me last week about my column "4 IT Leadership Failures That Make Employees Leave," pointing to the practice of driving away graying employees as yet another leadership failure at IT organizations. "This is supposedly being done because senior IT staff are not keeping up, when it is actually being done as cost control," the reader wrote.

Not to be harsh, but we need to be clearer about what's happening.

I agree 100% that driving away senior, experienced personnel is just bad business. But there's a big difference between getting rid of people because they're old and shedding people who aren't cutting it. To put a finer point on the matter: Thoughtful cost control doesn't equate to age discrimination.

You often get what you pay for. But as we know in the innovation game, sometimes you can pay less because of market or business developments or because of new, less expensive processes. So the question gets reframed: Can you spend less and get the same quality of service? If you can, you have no choice but to make changes.

[ Computer programming is the answer to joblessness, says organization. Read Code.org Urges Students To Embrace Programming. ]

We see this in our IT environments all the time. For example, we got rid of expensive circuit-switched phone calling in favor of less expensive IP-based services. If there's a staffing equivalent in your organization, well, that's regrettable, and we hope that your business handles the matter in a way that preserves the employee's dignity and provides some transition time. But fundamentally, you must part ways.

Let's also consider the argument that companies are getting rid of older employees under the guise of competency issues. Let's all agree that plenty of senior IT pros are eminently competent. Looking to another field, my dad, in his 80s, is still practicing medicine. Lest you say that his patients are in danger, I'll point out that he once again passed his medical boards recently. And although medicine might not be moving at the breakneck speed of IT, when my dad started practicing in the 1960s, it was leeches and bloodletting compared to the sophistication of today. He has surely had to keep up. I've known his equivalent on the IT front lines as well.

But a fair number of senior IT pros rest on their laurels, not because of their age, but because of inertia. I once told an employee that we were getting rid of a certain type of technology, his specialty, in a few years and that it was time for him to start preparing for the transition. We wrote as much into his goal plan, but he didn't avail himself of the training opportunities. A year went by, and we had the same conversation and again wrote it into his goal plan. Nothing. The tech transition happened as planned, the employee wasn't ready, and it was time to have a difficult conversation about parting ways. Had I not documented our expectation, I could have been accused of ageism. My point: Don't confuse ageism with accountability.

All of the above points assume a competent, reasonable leadership team, when we all know there are plenty of dysfunctional ones out there. If all you're hanging on to is the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, best of luck. It's a 10,000-word document that's incomprehensible by the common man. According to two of my trusted legal and HR colleagues, it does not prohibit organizations from laying off "the expensive people." Typically, if the layoffs have a well articulated, plausible reason and don't affect older people exclusively, it will be hard to prove age discrimination.

My question to you: If your employer is engaged in true age discrimination, are you better off taking it to court or finding another, more ethical company that will value your experience and talents? My advice: Leave the question of ageism to the class-action lawyers. If you've truly had a rich career with many accomplishments, and you've kept your skill set sharp, there's more work to be had and done. Leave the idiot employers behind and find it.

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vbierschwale
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vbierschwale,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 5:33:05 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
I couldn't agree with you more and I'm even pushing a petition to end age discrimination in the software industry.

https://petitions.whitehouse.g...

The problem is, many firms are not even interested in interviewing people that are well qualified and can bring decades of experience to the table as in the case of a EE that I recently featured at Keep America At Work.

I myself am teaching myself PHP/MySQL so that I can maintain KAAW and use them to build Buried Where in the coming months.

All of this stuff can be done on a person's off time, but it is much easier to learn when you're not wondering where your next penny is coming from.

If we have people that can no longer cut the mustard, let's do like we always did and find them a position that they are better suited for.

But to destroy the sovereign state of your own country like we are doing is the absolute worst thing that we could be doing.
TreeInMyCube
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TreeInMyCube,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 5:51:48 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Thanks for your candor, and your precision in describing the underlying issues. A universal truth is that older IT pros want to remain gainfully employed, and to be recognized for their talents and contributions. You've shined the spotlight on a key aspect of those people (which include me, who has past 50) -- what are we willing to do, to stay employed and relevant? Are there formal training courses or programs, vs. simply taking on a new role and getting OJT? Are the managers given the latitude to spend money to train vetereans in a new skill, or are those managers encouraged to recruit a contractor or outsourcer who already has the skill? Does the performance appraisal system penalize someone for being new in a role, as would need to happen in the course of re-training?
I'm sorry to read your story of a person who was given a clear signal (adapt or die), and who chose not to adapt. After beating the drum of "keep learning new skills" for more than 15 years across our industry, I'm surprised at how people still refuse to hear it.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2013 | 6:43:11 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Its been my experience most publicly traded companies prefer to not offer career transitioning skill training for IT workers. Like a capital asset past its usefullness its cheaper to disgard and replace. I've worked at several companies were the technology was being moved from IBM mainframes running IMS database to HP Unix machines running Oracle. All of the mainframe personnel were replaced including DBAs and programmers, first with consultants then with new hires.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/6/2013 | 6:21:40 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
In the late nineties IBM began laying off most all employees over 50. These employees filed a class action suit against IBM that went to the US Supreme Court. IBM won. According to the court, as long as all 50 year olds at IBM were treated the same it was not age discrimination. So much for the Age Discrimination Act of 1967 as it's 10,000 pages of wasted paper.

As mid-sized corporations and larger are providing their own healthcare coverage (self-insuring employees) the older employee bares more risk and cost to the company. Add to the fact younger people work for less, I know of very few people that actually retire out of the IT department. Between 1999 to 2005 over 3 million IT workers over the age of 50 lost their jobs while at the same time the H1-B visa maxes out every year.
Melanie Rodier
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Melanie Rodier,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 7:08:27 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
I would have thought it would be age discrimination as long as the 50-year-olds were not treated the same way as 25-year-olds, but I'm not a lawyer. Anyway, the prospects for older employees will probably soon be the same in other industries too, as companies seek more ways to cut costs. Companies need more soldiers than upper management, particularly given tight budgets. If young employees - who are willing to work for much lower pay - have the same skills as older employees who cost a lot more, employers will continue to hire young workers and lay off older ones, however unfair that may be. Older employees need to continue to diversify their skill sets and probably be more open-minded about less conventional career paths, particularly once they hit 50.
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:53:07 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Well in that case, using the same logic, it's time older workers move up and replace CEOs. Why they hell do CEOs get paid $40 million if the goal is maximizing Korporate Profits? I am an engineer with 20 years' experience AND a degree in Business Admin. Why am I not replacing a $40 million CEO and make $250K instead? After all, cutting costs and maximizing shareholder value, right? I could do any CEO's job and do it better than 90% of them.

Oh wait, that would mean we would have apply the same cost-cutting logic to overpaid elitist CEOs.

This isn't about cost cutting - it's about elites feeling that their prestige is threatened by star workers.
I give
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I give,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 6:58:52 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
The same perspective applies to all fields of endeavor where and employer pays an employee for services rendered. The more value you provide the more compensation you should be able to procure, within a competitive marketplace for your skills. Whether you are 25 or 65 years of age, you are not being paid according to the year you were born, what you did 15 years ago, nor what you believe you are worth. If an employer wants to pay you a premium over your current value based on the potential the employer is hoping you meet 5 years from now, the employer is free to do so. If you feel you have more potential now or in the foreseeable future, it is up to you and your employer to reach an agreement about how that effects your current pay. There are as many kids who think they are worth more than their employer does, as there are old folks who think the same thing.
mattmc
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mattmc,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 7:00:13 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
" Thoughtful cost control doesn't equate to age discrimination. " What world do you live in you freaking company man - management boy! Thoughtful cost control. So it's ok to pay an increasing pay to this, how did you put it, "Employee that does not keep up", to the point that the employee becomes a "cost control" issue. And the reason they are let go is because they don't keep up. Geez I cannot stand people like this boxer clown who wrote this article. How dare you write this. I am personally offended. You can tell this clown has never been laid off do to a workforce reduction.

It is not age discrimination - but in a sense it is. The employee was good enough to get hired, stay employed and escalate their pay to a point where MANAGEMENT finds it cheaper to higher a new grad. DUH!! No age discrimination - but don't shovel this crap about not keeping up. IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY. Nothing else. Are there exceptions to this rule. Sure. I've worked with lazy people - who hasn't. And workforce reductions a great opportunity for companies to get rid of lazy employees. Of course worthless management people, like the author of this article, are seldom affected. They are the last.

This link should get posted at every Unemployment resource web site. This clown would get hunted down. TreeInMyCube must work for him too.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/6/2013 | 7:23:53 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Jonathan, what advice would you give older IT pros who have kept their skills up to date, got laid off because they were expensive, are now job hunting -- and feel like they are not getting the right interviews/call backs due to age? It is hard if not impossible to hide age from recruiters.This might be a whole other column but it is an important follow up.

If you can't get through the door for the interview, you can't show off your up to date skills.

Laurianne McLaughlin
InformationWeek
pduffy82001
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pduffy82001,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 7:28:57 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
I think treating people like "equipment" - old circuit switching technology - is a big mistake and leads me into my soapbox as to when Personnel Departments became "Human Resource" departments. It was when staff ceased to be treated as people and became resources to be dumped when no longer needed, like an old Circuit Switch. Some enlightened companies see using the experience of older staff as invaluable. Unfortunately in the US healthcare costs come into it so if the average age of the workforce is higher then healthcare costs are also higher - not an issue in many other countries.
mattmc
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mattmc,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2013 | 5:14:59 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
You are right on pduffy.
SAuge
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SAuge,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 7:34:42 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
"If you've truly had a rich career with many accomplishments, and you've kept your skill set sharp, there's more work to be had and done. Leave the idiot employers behind and find it. "

Yea, move to India.
Melanie Rodier
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Melanie Rodier,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/6/2013 | 10:10:59 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
"If your employer is engaged in true age discrimination," they should be held accountable, by someone, or some watchdog. Plus, I agree with Laurianne. If there are older IT pros who have kept their skills up to date, but simply got laid off because they were expensive, it might not be so easy for them to get past the resume' stage when they job hunt. And they might be jobless and with few prospects at a pre-retirement age. Should everyone just let it go?
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 2:48:06 AM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
What about all these useless old ineffective farts we have running Congress with a 9% approval rating. We're paying these dinosaurs $175K a year to wreck our country. Why aren't we getting rid of them, cutting all their salaries in 1/2 and getting some energetic young blood in there to run the place right.

Dinos like Reid, Pelosi, Feinstein, Schumer, Liberman, and the rest. These old hacks are killing us.

Why is only IT being targeted? Why doesn't this same efficiency apply to pols, lawyers, and all CEOs?

Me thinks the dinos are jealous of the hip IT people who out produce, out earn, and out-prestige them.

Their solution? Flood the industry with cheap crappy labor from India in order to destroy the whole industry.

Then the dino-elites can get their prestige back.
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
3/8/2013 | 3:17:08 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
What watchdog? Are you aware of the existance of an IT union such as many other trades or professions have for collective bargaining? Honestly, many of the unions I deal with today try to or have stepped beyond their charter of protecting the interests of the employee to stifle company growth and flexibility on the operational and strategic level.
MikeMorales
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MikeMorales,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/10/2013 | 1:58:04 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
It seems that older workers, IT or otherwise, have become the victims of their own success. If they have done well over the years, and gotten raises and promotions they inevitably become "expensive" and as replaceable as "old circuits". Those younger workers that are commenting here should consider the fact that they too (if they are lucky) will become an older worker and have this to look forward to.
MikeBak
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MikeBak,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 12:04:37 AM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Jonathan's column on how he worked the system to get rid of an older employee that he wanted fired is absolutely inspiring. So inspiring that it has motivated me to create value by framing some salient questions:

1. Can any readers in North Carolina tell us which city government Jonathan works for?

2. Can said readers access publicly available information and tell us what Jonathan is paid?

3. Is there a social-media-adept, younger, more dynamic, more credentialed CIO candidate out there who might Jonathan's job for less money and leaner benefits?

4. Could this theoretical candidate be brought in before Jonathan is fully vested in his pension, thereby enriching his taxpayers/stakeholders?

Let your conscience be Jonathan's guide.....
MyW0r1d
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MyW0r1d,
User Rank: Strategist
3/8/2013 | 3:26:51 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
The part Jonathan left out, which would be important, is if the company offered to pay for the retraining of the employee due to the new system they wanted. If the retraining was to be assumed by the aging employee and it was a niche or not a marketable skill set, then the company should have assumed the cost to retrain staff and the employee justified on not assuming the cost personally. In this case, if the employee still refused having the retraining costs assumed, then termination was absolutely justified. Unfortunately, he left out this critical piece which would have separated just cause from an all too familiar and largely indefensible HR game for trimming labor costs.
jfeldman
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jfeldman,
User Rank: Strategist
3/8/2013 | 7:05:42 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
MyW0r1d, of course. You are on the money on that one. I have been very fortunate in that I have mostly worked for good organizations that invest in employees and understand the long-term value of experience and seasoning.
markdavidgraybill
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markdavidgraybill,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 12:30:44 AM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Your comment "Can you spend less and get the same quality of service? If you can, you have no choice but to make changes" is a bit naive.

After more than 30 years and consulting at over 36 organizations, I have seen a fair share of what goes on in the trenches. When bottom line is salient to leaders, such a focus can skew perceptions and can infuse justifications that donG«÷t exist. It is in our nature to do so and once in power, stereotyping tendencies tend to increase. This is an issue for several reasons.

Junior technical types are far more likely to make rash technical decisions because they lack the experience seniors have that warrants caution, and besides, the fun is in the execution not decision process. Management types like execution and can see seniors as moving slow. IG«÷ve witnessed confident juniors spewing remarkably logically-sounding justification for technical decisions resisted by seniors that was all bull. They find out in the end but since few companies have sufficient individual and project performance metrics that would reveal this disparity, they have no way of knowing what is really going on.

Getting back to the bottom line salience, IG«÷ll share one of my experiences that is an example of the kind of stupidity that can occur in leadership. It was a company that sold silicon-wafer inspection equipment and services to customize the software. Since I was looking to get out of consulting I was interested in this gig because it was a contract-to-hire offer. I stepped up everything - including refining a mathematical formula I used for forecasting tasks.

Two projects I revealed my technical and project management acumen that resulted in saving $1.2M they were going to lose for that quarter - $500K would never have been signed. So they made their quarterly projection and the execs were happy.

The difference in senior salaries and new hires was about $50K per year. That was enough where the VP of engineering, wanting to cut costs, decided to lay off their most senior engineers - and renege the offer to hire me. He admitted to me that I did very well, but he was looking for G«£more bang for the buckG«•. Before I left he had hired H-1B visa engineers to replace those who were laid off.

It wasnG«÷t long before missing enough quarterly projections dropped their stock below the radar and they had to sell. That VP was fired but it was a small company and was too late.
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 2:43:26 AM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
I have 11 years of Objective-C (hottest language right now), 13 apps in the App Store, iOS, Xcode, 20 years' Mac programming experience, former Apple, Sony, and Hitachi employee. Oh and I worked on PlayStation at Sony.

If that isn't relevant, then I don't know what is.

Where is my job Mr. Feldman?

Out of date skills or jealous foreign parasite races who want to take over things Americans created?
Stephane Parent
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Stephane Parent,
User Rank: Strategist
3/7/2013 | 12:23:53 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
When I was laid off with almost thirty years of IT experience, it was impossible to find an employer who would hire me at the salary I had left.

As a new empty-nester, with lowered expenses, I did however have the flexibility of reducing my salary expectations. My current employer got an experienced IT worker at a reasonable price.

I suspect younger employees would have a harder time reducing their expectations as their value increase.
GBARRINGTON196
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GBARRINGTON196,
User Rank: Strategist
3/7/2013 | 2:01:01 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
He'll change his tune when it happens to him. And it will. And to those who think current technological competence is a talisman that will prevent human obsolescence are simply wrong. IT is all about youth, both the image and fact. Steady wisdom and thoughtful judgement simply have no place on the playing field. (nor does Gray hair!)

A tech career is like a football career writ in slow motion. The thing is, we are just now starting to realize it in the IT industry. The athlete knows his career is only going to last 5 - 10 years. In IT, you get 20 - 30 years, depending on when you start. The secret is to be ready for it just like the smarter athletes. So while he is playing, the smart athlete knows he needs to divert some of that money for a post retirement life.

Save for retirement like your goal is to retire at 50. That way, when it DOES happen to you at age 55 or 60, you are ready. An IT career pays a bit more than other careers. Spend a little less, and save a little more. I did, and now I'm not suffering after my "incident" like so many others.

To the younger guys, I say, look at the oldest guy in your shop. Keep an eye on his fate. That is your fate, and you simply CAN NOT avoid it.
markdavidgraybill
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markdavidgraybill,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 10:04:24 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
There was an article about age discrimination in Silicon Valley. A CEO type found he had to make himself look younger (such as shaving off his gray hair). As soon as he did this he landed a CEO job.

http://www.reuters.com/article...
Tech Guy
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Tech Guy,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 2:25:54 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science specializing in Computer Information Systems and am still seeking employment! I have had a couple of part time jobs that closed due to a bad economy and have been working independently on projects in order to make ends meet, but how does someone who just turned 50 with a college degree and a few years of experience break into the Tech Industry?
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:55:16 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Hate to tell you, you just wasted a lot of time in college. That degree is worthless. Unemployment among college grads is 50% and there are a whole lot of them out there a whole lot younger than you. You'll never get a job in tech especially if you have no experience. My advice is get a tech management job at your age. The IT industry is known the world over for age discrimination.
awittmann941
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awittmann941,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 5:32:49 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
The article is an oversimplification of a very complex issue. Here's a better simplification: bottom line is that your company probably doesn't care what you did for them five years ago or five minutes ago. Companies today care mostly about meeting the short term objectives laid out by whoever their owners are. The bigger the company, the less they'll care about or will even consider your personal contributions. If you fit the mold of someone who should be cut (we need to save money, we need to do it with the smallest possible loss of headcount, so we'll do it by cutting expensive workers - period), then you'll be cut.

Smart older workers should not count on the loyalty of anyone around them. It doesn't exist. You should have your eye on the next thing you want to do, and be ready to pull the trigger at any time. If your company is hurting - if their business is weak, if their plan for success doesn't make sense to you and isn't likely to hing on you, you should be looking to leave it. Your company is a loser, and you owe it nothing - because when push comes to shove, that's how the company will view you. Everyone is infinitely replaceable.

Always be looking, always have a plan, always think about how you could make your life better or at least as comfortable without your current job. You may never need to pull that trigger, but if you do - you'll be very happy you were ready.

Sure, this is a cynical view, but it's about self preservation. No one, and I mean no one will look out for you but you. Count on it. Take it to heart, and you'll fair much better than those who believe that if they they do well by their company the company will do well by them. That's only true up until the moment it isn't.

If you're skill set won't land you a new job, figure out how to update it while you have a job. If you aren't aware of three or four places where you could go if you had to, figure it out. Think about it, have a plan, be prepared. Someone somewhere will probably view you as this article suggests: "we got rid of expensive circuit-switched phone calling in favor of less expensive IP-based services". Whether it's true or not, if you know yourself to be in a high paid job at a weak company, someone somewhere sometime will think about laying you off, because there is always a lower cost option - no matter how good you think you are. In every layoff good people get cut along with bad people.

It happens all the time. Own it, understand it, plan for it. And if you can find yourself a way into a better company, take it. Loyalty doesn't exist - period.
lgarey@techweb.com
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lgarey@techweb.com,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 7:08:46 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
I think that many companies view younger workers as malleable, able to be trained to work "the Intel way" and lacking loyalty to a previous employer. More senior people may simply be seen as having baggage. Not saying it's fair, but I have a friend who regularly hires engineering technicians and would always rather get someone just out of school and train them on company processes. Not saying it's right or fair, but it's reality.
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:56:02 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
It's all about elites and moron managers feeling threatened by very experienced older smart workers. That is why they want to get rid of us.
spintreebob
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spintreebob,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 8:50:51 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
ageism, sexism, racism all exist. Discrimination against the ugly is bigger than any of them. There is even bigger discrimination based on technology biases. Life is not fair. boo hoo. The goal is to succeed inspite of the many obstacles that one faces as the biggest obstacles are in one's own head.
markdavidgraybill
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markdavidgraybill,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 10:10:46 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
You have a point. Leaders should be smart not impetuous, and understand their own biases. Leaders should avoid the execute now, clean up later simply so they come across as confident and on the ball. On the flip side, we can learn to override being at the wrong end of discrimination.

However, your point is lost in the reality that when actual discrimination exists, it is because we are not acting as evolved as we supposedly are. Boo hoo the world isn't fair because people are animals shouldn't be closure.
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:57:52 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
We live in a childish society.
markdavidgraybill
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markdavidgraybill,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2013 | 5:49:00 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Years ago I had the opportunity to experience Corporate Japan first hand. I greatly appreciated their cultural management and above all, the respect for elders.

That's not the case here, and IT techs aren't the only ones suffering age discrimination. It is across the board.

Also, Medicare has already been cut and larger cuts and lower age cutoffs for procedures are coming. Moreover, retirement age is rising.

All this adds up to is: "Baby boomers, please just die!"

Some companies even sneak in age discrimination into management training under the guise of generational education, only visible by statements such as "baby boomers can't do this."

Well I can do anything the youth can - I even hit the gym and run 5K every daily. My energy and enthusiasm is matched only by my confidence and leadership abilities. But, I still hear such tings as, "More bang for the buck", or, "We felt the other candidate's personality was a better fit" (no personality requirements in the job description.)

When you are passed over by someone with 1/3 of your experience, it speaks volumes to what is really going on.

So I'm working on additional streams income. Have to.
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:57:28 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
True. When I was 30 I was in top shape and got any tech job I wanted. Now I am 44 and not so good-looking and no one will hire me. Despite having been a developer at Apple, Sony, and Hitachi. If you're not cool, hip, and attractive today, forget getting a job. We live in a childish superficial society.
markdavidgraybill
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markdavidgraybill,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/7/2013 | 10:11:55 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
This might be a related topic:

http://www.aboutleaders.com/?P...
NorthWoods
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NorthWoods,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 3:10:25 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
BEE in 1969, MSEE in 1981, MS Software Engineering in 2001, Certified Enterprise Architect in 2005, lead technical engineer that won a $1.8B DoD contract in 2003, and laid off senior staff computer systems architect in 2010 at the age of 62 along with a large number of other older workers. Our management wasn't knowledgeable enough to see the value of the individual but rather was focussed on stereotyping employees. I started a start-up company and am trying to develop a medical diagnostic software product using general DoD technologies that haven't yet transitioned to the medical field. I think that age discrimination is alive and well and caused by management ignorance of employee value.
Wakjob2
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Wakjob2,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 5:58:40 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
We live in a superficial, shallow society.
rpeterson537
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rpeterson537,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/8/2013 | 11:05:02 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Older employees may get retired early to reduce medical insurance costs.

There is an effort to deskill the workplace with IBM, SAP, and Oracle leading the charge.

Mid-level managers want to protect their jobs by not having any potential replacements around.

Age should be an affirmative action category.
Dutch Clogger
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Dutch Clogger,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/10/2013 | 1:02:43 AM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Many of my peers, as well as myself, have spent the majority of our careers at Boeing in IT and then ALONG CAME A SPIDER. We negotiated with India to buy our planes and the offset for that deal cost Boeing EO&T employees their jobs. We had to cut costs in order for our share holders to increase their profits - More senior EO&T employees are let go. Remarkably, the SPIDER found enough money to hire younger, less expensive employees, not batting her deceiving blue eyes as she destroyed lives. It's bad enough we've been fed a crock of B.S., so that SHE WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED can create her legacy, calling herself a transformational leader all the while raking in the big bucks while telling us we're overpaid. EXCUSE ME???? She brings all her Yes men with her under the guise of infusing new blood into our ranks. The latest visionary change the SPIDER unleashes is that in order to gain efficiencies and to save money she is creating centers of excellence. We're a global company and have managed to meld the best IT members from all our mergers and acquisitions, regardless of their work location. Ms. SPIDER has the notion that everyone has to sit together, come from the same geographical region, never question the status quo, follow the leader or be banished for life. What's ironic, it's not because we're old and not keeping up with advances in technology or our output has diminished. It's all about the mighty dollar. Now, one of Spider's yes men just told us that St. Louis is a low cost center, so that's the direction we'll most likely be headed. Can you believe it? Oh and those of us who are vested and working until we retire are just draining the profits. I quote, "We're a company that builds planes, not a retirement company." Up until two years ago the St. Louis salaried pay scale was identical to Puget Sound and now that sequestration threatens the military side of our business they're low cost. Someone needs to tell Ms. Spider that the legacy she strives to achieve is only in her head and that the Boeing EO&T employees across the company don't consider her transformational, visionary or even a leader. If SHE continues to get raises, bonuses and retirement, will she want to leave? What if someone told her she was too expensive to keep? The canyon between the upper crust and the middle class continues to widen, but it's now so deep there's no crossing the great divide.

Yes, I ranted and raved. When are the big shots running these large companies going to get it? If they keep letting American workers go so they can increase their bottom line there's not going to be consumers with enough discretionary funds to purchase and/or use their products.

Note to Ms. Spider you are making a big big mistake. All the young IT talent doesn't live in St. Louis and they all don't want to move there either. Keep an open mind, keep your resources eclectic and you may just earn that legacy instead of creating a false one only recognized by your country club friends.
bkohlhepp287
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bkohlhepp287,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/11/2013 | 3:24:08 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
Apparently you've never had to search for a job when you're over 50. "Just go somewhere else" doesn't work. Check the job postings - "degree with 5 years experience" is the standard profile (and these days employers hyper-specify experience down to package versions). It doesn't matter what certifications you have, what you've accomplished, or what you know. Every employer is looking for that young guy who will work his ass off to prove himself, trying to find the lowest price per pound, and avoiding "insurance risk" professionals over 50, even over 40. The older computing professionals I know love the field and their specialties as much as they ever did, are computer nerds still tinkering in their bedrooms on personal time, and can contribute accumulated wisdom along with specific tech skills. Yet it takes years for us to find a new position, frequently at a lower salary. I know some who have not been able to get a new position at all and are now bank tellers and retail clerks. Instances of age discrimination far exceed the few cases of technical dissonance or "inertia".
TSRL
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TSRL,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/11/2013 | 11:04:08 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination Or Employee Inertia?
The bottom line is just that. Many, if not most, companies today are only interested in short term goals "for the shareholders". Senior employees are usually paid more so they are the first ones to go if someone in upper management wants to reduce costs. The fallacy in the argument is that you can get the same skill set cheaper in a new graduate.

Try applying that to the medical field. Who would you rather have for your heart surgeon - a freshly minted new college grad or an experienced surgeon with a couple of hundred successful surgeries to his credit?

I and my team were recently "retired" from a marketing/sales/engineering post at a large computer company. We had been successfully selling large high performance computer clusters (10,000 machines and above) to a wide variety of customers world-wide. We were replaced within two weeks with a new team with no experience but much lower salaries. It has been almost 3 years now and the new team has yet to make a single sale of any size. Did the share holders win that one?
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