graphic for The 2019 Index of Intelligent Technology in HR Tech

 

The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven’t changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don’t change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion.  ~Doris Lessing

Age is the one protected class that everyone will be in eventually, if you’re lucky.  Age discrimination can happen to you. It probably will.

We are a culture that idolizes youth. We want to live forever. But we are terrified of getting old. Age discrimination lives in that paradox.

We are a culture that idolizes youth. We want to live forever. But we are terrified of getting old. Age discrimination can happen to you. It probably will.

We are a culture that idolizes youth. We want to live forever. But we are terrified of getting old. Age discrimination can happen to you. It probably will.

It’s like a 17 year old girl’s look of disgust and horror as she watches an 8 month pregnant woman heave her swollen, awkward body out of the car, and waddle in the store. We are afraid we will be like that. So we reject anything that reminds us it will happen.

We are also hard-wired to discriminate. We are built to feel comfortable with things that are familiar, and to be afraid of things that are different. We naturally divide the world into good and bad, us and them, safe and not safe.

It may have been great for the survival of the species, but it doesn’t work so well now that we don’t have to worry about being lion snacks.

As a result, we often don’t even know our own biases.

But just because we naturally filter things and get comfortable with our assumptions, doesn’t mean we’re stuck. We can change the way we think and get over our fear, our bias, and ourselves. We can get curious instead of comfortable. We can have compassion instead of consternation. And we can have courage instead of cowardice.

And age discrimination is the perfect place to start because it’s going to happen to you.

Resources:

If you want to know more about our brains and biases, read: Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow. There were also good articles in Business Insider by Bell Beth Cooper: 8 Mistakes Our Brains Make Every Day And How to Prevent Them, and Psychology Today by Annie Murphy Paul: Where Bias Begins: The Truth About Stereotypes. And definitely check out the excellent work of Joe Gerstandt on inclusion and diversity.

TChat on Age Discrimination 10/9/13

Join Steve Levy and me as we host TChat Wednesday, October 9 at 7pm ET/ 4 pm PT and explore issues of age discrimination at work in Old Dogs + New Tricks: Will HR Learn. Here’s the preview and questions we’ll be discussing.

graphic for The 2019 Index of Intelligent Technology in HR


 
Read previous post:
Photo: Termination is a good thing by Heather Bussing
Termination as a Good Thing

Making an employment change is a big deal. It’s hard, even when it’s voluntary, because we have so much of...

Close