You are a woman over 50 years and over. You have dealt with prejudices and obstacles in the workplace for decades to have a career you are proud of. But lately, you have felt that things are changing and you are afraid. No one asks for your opinion anymore. Some of their workloads have been reallocated. The younger people around him are being promoted, even when they push him out of the spotlight and into the shadows of irrelevance. That fear? It is palpable. What will happen if you lose your jobs? You have lived on the planet for more than 50 years. He has already dealt with (gender) bias and its resulting job obstacles for decades to have a career he is proud of. And now he feels that, in addition to gender issues, his age is causing things to change again, and not in a good way.
You feel helpless and victim of a system that favors youth and beauty. You wonder, what will happen to me? Will they force me out? And if that happens, what do I do next? Who will hire me?
Declare your ambition.
Tell your manager that you are ready, willing and able to do your best work. Don’t assume that he or she already knows. Prove those wrong assumptions! My recommendation is to have a face-to-face conversation with your manager so that there are no misunderstandings. Work together to create a professional career for the next few years.
Cultivate a growth mindset.
A common assumption is that as people get older, they become more fixed in their mentality and are more likely to have strong and inflexible opinions and ideas. People who face this attitude often feel helpless in the face of challenges and are more likely to consider obstacles as insurmountable. Obviously, that attitude will not bode well for you if you are a woman who is already being marginalized due to your age.
Recently, I received a Mac laptop as a birthday present. Historically, a PC user, I asked my colleagues if I should switch to the Mac. Although colleagues praised the Mac, many also advised me that I had more than 50 years to learn something new, such as browsing this new computer, it would be difficult . I thought about this for a few days and decided that I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. I needed to learn new skills. Then, I keep the Mac, challenging me. A long-term study at the University of California that followed women for 40 years and found that they obtained the highest score in their inductive reasoning between 40 and 60 years. The ability of this group to objectively evaluate contradictory ideas peaked in their 50s and 60s. The study offered more evidence that we still have a great ability to think creatively, solve problems and manage data. Therefore, be open to learning every day.
Advocate for yourself and others
It is never too late to create more visibility and credibility for you. If you are being marginalized, make sure you don’t get off the radar.
This means how your work contributes to positive business results. Unlike the description of your work, your value proposition describes how to achieve results and what they mean for the company. It gives you a platform to position yourself, as someone who can help others achieve their goals.
What does your manager expect to achieve? What are the objectives of your department? What is the mission of the company? Use your value proposition so others know how you can help them achieve those goals.