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IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
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TreeInMyCube
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TreeInMyCube,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2013 | 9:14:06 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
Good stuff, Jonathan. I appreciate the IEEE data sources and quotes from professors -- a welcome antidote from pontificating. I also agree with Somedude8 -- the enthusiasm level among 40-something and 50-something IT workers is often substantially different from that of 20-somethings. The desire for excellence remains, but the passion has become more nuanced. "I know what it feels like to push really hard, and not seem to make progress -- been there, did that. Give me some tough, technical problem to solve and get outta my way!" Another factor affecting passion/enthusiasm for older IT pros are those who have spent some time in supervision (like me). Are my technical chops current? Um, no. I had to invest some time and effort in improving my leadership and people skills. Will that help me get a job doing mobile app development or big data analytics? Nope. More importantly, how would I position those skills to distinguish me from the bazillion other IT supervisors who may also have been laid off in a recen re-org or outsourcing?
John80224
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John80224,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2013 | 7:32:33 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
I've not yet read that far into your article, but to answer your first question:

Welcome to corporate America. It may be a distorted view, but we generally have three options: 1) work where a future exists, 2) work where a fabulous future might exist if the cards fall right or 3) work where there's no future but comfort. The last two are essentially the same--smallish companies. (2) is simply newer or still thinks they're destined for bigger things. The first then is the only established option--large corporations who treat employees like cattle, but where there's an infrastructure that retirement, movement, new initiatives and the annual reorg at least provide potential for growth. Also, just because the current management in your company may be stupid does not guarantee that the next reorg's will be.

Personally, I was recruited and ready to be a manager days before the layoffs started. It left me four years away from being in even a partially similar situation again.

And sometimes, not all of us get to have our dream job. I find it fairly cavalier possibly even naive to insinuate we should be happy to be tossed aside because of what we see as current poor management.
$28018109
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$28018109,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2013 | 7:13:17 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur

Over the years I have come to judge IT departmental management by the level of urgency - or lack of urgency - of their personnel needs as displayed in the job requirements submitted to their preferred vendors (personnel agencies). Requirements like ***HOT***!!! URGENT!! *IMMEDIATE* START!!! ... I know already that the management of the department is poor and does little to no planning. They've probably piled all the knowledge, work, and responsibility onto one person with a name - that name is leaving - and no system was ever in place to spread that knowledge beyond that one person. And if I submit my resume and get and take the assignment, I know that I will be walking into a Mess. At that point I have to think about the rate, the commute, and any other perks and decide if they are worth walking into the Mess.
This speaks to the plea we hear from the executives and lobbyists that the companies simply can't be bound to a process of having to look for American talent first before reaching for the phone and calling the H-1B visa mill, because they need people almost immediately due the exigencies of the tech business blah blah blah... I just call it poor planning.

Somedude8
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Somedude8,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2013 | 5:49:48 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
For older IT people that keep their skills up to date and relevant, there seems to be no shortage of work, at least form what I am seeing. However, there does seem to be some expectation that if you are older, you probably haven't kept your skillset up to date.
Another thing that sags with age for too many people is the interest in the work, the excitement about it. Finding an older person who has kept current, and is still excited about cool new stuff is not so easy. I am one of them though, and have had no problem finding work. In fact, I have turned away more work in the last 2 or 3 years than ever.
I can't blame companies if my skills lag behind what they need, or I am not excited about my work.
DDURBIN1
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DDURBIN1,
User Rank: Ninja
3/12/2013 | 5:24:27 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
Technology changes faster than corporations are willing to invest. Corporations are all grasshoppers not ants that prepare. When they decide its time to invest in new technology, most often their staff are NOT up to the task. Instead of investing in people, they'd rather raid overseas companies that do. Its very hard for the current staff to keep up to date on technology not used by the current employer and when the employer finally decides to upgrade there isn't enough time to retrain existing staff. They are disgraded for those that have the new technology skills.
vbierschwale
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vbierschwale,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/12/2013 | 5:02:35 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
While I can't disagree with the technology portions, you still are missing the point.

When you have applied for all civil service jobs.
When you have applied for all private sector jobs.

And you can't buy a interview.

What do you suggest?

I ask because I believe the people that I hear from at Keep America at Work would like to know.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
3/12/2013 | 4:21:50 PM
re: IT Age Discrimination: You're Not The Dinosaur
Jonathan makes some good points, yet I suspect some of his advice may not be very soothing for people who have never worked in a smaller company, never mind a startup. Running your own company, or even working at a startup, is not a fit for every personality.

There is no shame in saying you don't want to run your own company but you do want to work with a smart team at a small or midsize company. But if that's where you are at, your personal network will be crucial.

Laurianne McLaughlin
InformationWeek
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