Hi friends!I'm starting a new passion project called Coming of Agency that relates to ageism, particularly as it pertains to women. We are not taken seriously as leaders until our late 20s, yet written off in our 40s (and in speaking with colleagues in tech/media/creative industries - sometimes it's earlier than that). If anyone has any personal experiences with ageism on either end of the age spectrum, I would LOVE to hear. While I happen to be in the "prime" of my career right now from an age perspective, I believe changing our age-discriminant society will require allyship among age coalitions, just like with any other movement.It would mean so much if you checked out the website/newsletter/instagram if this topic speaks to you. Please let me know if you or anyone you know has any personal experiences with ageism, or would just like to learn more.
I would love to speak. Interesting data points that you can tease out are the following. YC typically only has 4-5 over the age of 40 in any of their 200 companies. Agism is real.
Not surprised but disappointing nonetheless to hear that about YC! I just messaged you to chat. :)
I decided a while ago to take my graduation years off of my public profiles and resume, in part because I thought I would be taken more seriously. This is purely anecdotal, but I'm convinced that it has helped me get leveled higher in job interviews and offers.
With my last job search (last year), I removed my graduation year from undergrad and also removed my first job out of college (which lasted two years). I'm in my late 30s and was still going after manager-level roles and worried I would be viewed as "too old."
I'm sorry to hear that, but I can absolutely relate. It's advice that we tell and take all too often.
@rebeccachen I LOVE this and would like to learn more. Now in my early 40s, I'm at a point where most of the people I'm working with are often 10 plus years younger. The same holds true for podcasts I listen to, articles I read about founders, etc. I'm sort of expecting to start facing ageism soon, but haven't yet fortunately. I would love to see/hear more 40+ voices out there...As an independent consultant, I'm not sure whether age can help bring perceived credibility or if I'm going to reach a point where I seem less relevant, so I make sure I am continuously learning...
This is such a great point, becca! The window for women to be "credible AND relevant" seems to be so short - blink and you'll miss it! I too would also love to see/hear more 40+ voices out there.
@rebeccachen where can we share our experiences confidentially/anonymously?
Hi there! You can share it anonymously through a form on my website! Thank you!
Congratulations on your project, wonderful idea! Sad but true it truly occurs at both ends of the spectrum. I’ve experienced both and it’s a challenge. Happy to share my story with you. I signed up for your newsletter 😊
thank you so much - couldn't agree more! Looking forward to staying connected!
Hi Rebecca! This is awesome! I was *just* challenging myself to embrace my age and looking for others who want to redefine what a "2nd half of life" looks like for women in tech. I turn 50 in October and just got my first engineering job at a start up about 6 months ago after a first career as a high school teacher. Personally, I feel smarter, and more relevant than ever, but the stereotypes that I should spend the next couple decades playing shuffleboard persist.
Hi there! Kudos to you for the exciting career move, and I agree that a "2nd half of life" needs to be revisited for women in a way that does not tie our aspirations to our age! I would love to hear about how your engineering job is going!
What a great concept! I'm definitely interested in this topic. I recently had a call with an older professional maybe 20 years my senior. She suggested a reporter didn't respond to my message because of my 'experience level.' As a senior level director approaching 30 it stung.
Wow, sorry to hear that @lsheehy, but also not surprised (sadly!) How did you conduct your outreach to the reporter (email, voicenote, etc.)? Do you think it had to do with your youthful "look"/voice or did this person look up your years of experience on LinkedIn? In any case, would love if you could share your specific experience below to help shed light on these age 'microaggressions' (feel free to do so anonymously), so that we can all be more aware and do better in the future!:
I love this! I've definitely experienced plenty of discrimination due to my age (disbelief that I'd held the roles/responsibilities I'd had within organizations due to my age, dismissal of successes that I'd had because I happened to also be in college at the time). There's certainly plenty of age discrimination against "over-40s" as well, although I haven't gotten there personally yet.I feel like stereotypes run rampant in the startup space, with the assumption that founders are supposed to be young and VCs are supposed to be old (the data says otherwise). Looking forward to hearing these stories :)
Hi Abby! Thank you for sharing your insights -- if you're interested, I would love if you could submit your story here to help spread awareness on what these age 'microaggressions' look like (And you can feel free to do so anonymously too, of course!): I couldn't agree more that the assumption that founders are supposed to be young and VCs are supposed to be old could not be more backward!
Happy to! Thanks for doing this important work :)
Hi @rebeccachen! I've been working to gather data on the intersection of ageism and labor migration, especially regarding the tech industry. In the US, having H-1B status or waiting for green card approval can limit one's job function from growing and changing with the industry, and trap one into doing the same tasks for many years. This is a difficult situation in a fast-changing industry like tech, and I wonder if, as a result, (im)migrant tech workers experience an intersectional kind of ageism. I would love to chat more if this interests you! But also no worries if it's too narrowly focused relative to your goals. :)
Hi Rebecca! Absolutely intersectionality is always at play with ageism and I think this is such an important case of that! I would love to collaborate and chat more -- DMing you now!
Hi Rebecca!!So interesting. I actually had a similar idea in relation to age. I absolutely agree that there is an age bias in the tech community but I noticed that is not only there.First of all after a certain age, both men and women have problems finding jobs. But if you are a woman you have more problems of course :(I will sign up but let’s get in touch if you wish maybe we can combine the two ideas and collaborate :)
Hi Alessandra! Yes absolutely, this issue definitely applies beyond tech. I started with tech because of Elpha's focus but I 100% agree that it is so pervasive in all facets of life, PARTICULARLY for women! will DM you to further chat - thank you!!!
I am 55 and am currently in a job search. I can't tell you the number of times I've gotten far along in the process, only to lose-out to a person with 2-3 years' TOTAL experience! I've been told that my salary range is right in the ballpark of what the company had budgeted for the role, so I don't think I am too expensive. I am not applying for positions lower than my experience dictates, so I'm not under-valuing myself. I realize only one person can receive an offer and that maybe there are ways I am showing I am not a good fit, but I also seriously believe ageism is at play. Like others, I've removed the years off of my degrees and only list the past 10 years' experience on my resume.
Hi there! WOW - this is really interesting - thank you for sharing. I also appreciate you sharing that your salary range is in the ballpark of what your company had budgeted, because folks often think that the only reason why older candidates are discriminated against is because they are too expensive for the firm. But it goes far beyond that! Would you elaborating on what field you are currently working in or submitting a story to our website?:
Thank you for replying! I currently work for a large B2B software and data company. I've been applying to Product Manager roles with smaller, remote, mission-driven companies. The last rejection email I received literally stated that they were moving forward with a candidate, who "the hiring manager felt could help him better with..."(xyz). Is that code for someone inexperienced ("help him")? I don't know, but I assume so. I'll submit a story!
That's a great example of an age microaggression that we all need to be more aware of. Thank you for submtiting so we can amplify and raise awareness around how ageism tangibly manifests itself in all of our day-to-day lives!
The feminine force, the one that creates life and nurtures it, has largely been missing from human society until only a few decades ago. Just as in nature, the masculine and feminine forces are equally strong yet distinctly different, and each contributes its own vital addition to the whole. Organizations, society must now learn how to incorporate women into society in a constructive manner. At the moment, many women who have reached management positions have done so, in many cases, by adopting masculine attitudes. This is counterproductive because it’s precisely the nurturing and caring feminine quality that we need.We have yet to discover what it means to add the feminine element to public life.
Love this, Rebecca! Just signed up for the newsletter and am following on IG. πŸ™Œ I can definitely relate to this.
Thanks so much @hannahlake! That means a lot! Glad to have you following the journey.