Guest blog by David Armstrong:
As an older worker, I’m sensitive to hiring issues regarding people of my vintage, however, as a manager, I always thought that I totally disregarded age when I was hiring or evaluating employees.
Recently, I had two experiences that gave me a wake-up call to own perceptions regarding age as it relates to jobs.
The first was when we were introduced to a friend of my daughter, a bright, pleasant, intelligent young man who was reviewing for his annual flight simulator qualification. He is an airline pilot and daily is responsible for the safety and hopefully uneventful shepherding of hundreds of passengers across the country. He is 27. As we left the meeting, my wife and I looked at each other and said, “”He’s too young to be a pilot”.
The other occurrence was a call I received from my niece, an accomplished musician and who has been a substitute teacher in California schools. She now expects to be out of a job due to the California budget situation. She is 51. In her call, she told me she was applying for a job as a musician on a cruise ship. When I told my wife, we both said, “She’s too old”.
There is no question that each of these individuals is fully qualified and capable to pursue their respective career interests. Yet, my experience showed to me that despite by belief that I was age “blind”, I had stereotypical notions about the “proper” age for certain positions. I am now much more sensitive to my own perception and hope that with my awareness, I will not be judgmental in the future.
Have you have a perception that certain positions can only be filled by people in a certain age range? Did you act on that perception or ignore it? What was the outcome?
David Armstrong is a Principal at Inventory Curve and a member of the LiaV community.