Age is interesting. Not particularly fun, unless you're like my niece who's eight-and-one-half going on nine. That ˜half ™ is so important when we're young.
For me, my age number has very little to do with how I feel or think, or even how I act, for that matter. It's a mere birthday statistic, a way to document how long the world has put up with me.
Doesn't seem to matter to my hubby either, even if he is five-and-one-half years younger (the half is very important here too; I ™m not rounding up). Only time we even think about the age gap is at birthdays or when we're recalling some point in history that I remember yet he can't because he was in diapers. Guess I was a cougar before we knew what the term meant.
Watching my grandmother, she never seemed to pay much attention to her age. As a kid I remember being amazed at how old she was numerically. Was this really the same lady who just rode all the rides with us at Six Flags? At age 95, she would volunteer her time visiting the nursing home to cheer up the old folks (her words). Funny that she was older than most of the residents.
She loved make-up, fashion and jewelry. When she was in her 80's she noticed that I had double-pierced one of my ears. Always wanting to be in vogue, she asked me if she should get a double piercing as well. Not the sort of thing you expect to hear from your almost 90 year old grandmother, huh? Uh, no grandma, you're good with just the single earrings. If I had said yes, she would have jumped in the car faster than lightening for me to take her to the mall for new studs.
From a granddaughter's POV, grandma was relevant. She knew her age, yet her mind, physical ability and spirit were years or decades younger.
It's something that I want to do as well “ remain relevant in all aspects of life.
Never realized how important this was until the lay-off. Especially for those of us who have hit the big four-oh or beyond.
As I meet with friends or attend various networking sessions and other functions, it's occurred to me that not everyone understands the importance of being relevant in the workplace.
I ™m not talking just about clothing, hairstyle, ink or piercings. While those are things to consider (for a variety of reasons), relevance is a complete package that also includes attitude, voice, familiarity with trends and technology, etc.
Attending one such networking meeting, I glanced around the room. Even if we forget some of the poor style choices that were displayed, there was a definite lack of energy and relevance. When I met some of the attendees, it was not hard to figure out why they had been out of work for extended periods.
Me: What do you do? Them: Well, I was in engineering, then I was laid-off. Now I ™m too old and no one wants to hire someone my age. Me: You have great skills and can't be more than 45 . Them: Doesn't matter, NO ONE's hiring my age . Yes, you ™ve mentioned that at least 20 times since we met thirty seconds ago.
Of course you're not getting interviews, what with all this negative energy. If you think you're too old, then so does the prospective employer. And your Velcro gym shoes aren't helping either.
Me: I ™m on LinkedIn; let's connect. Them: I haven't gotten around to using LinkedIn yet . HUH?
Geez. This is not a big technological leap for anyone who can use email. Plus it's been around forever, it seems like. It's easy self-marketing. Hello? – recruiters and employers look at the site.
Me: Are you on Facebook? How about Twitter? Them: I haven't gotten on the Facebook yet; don't have time .
Okayyyyy. First of all, it's not the Facebook. Second, you ™d better make time to join the rest of the world on the technology train as it's pulling out of the station. Or should I just send grandma to visit you in the nursing home?
Sadly this is something I ™ve seen over and over again. People who refuse to adapt, to shift, to change “ to attempt to stay relevant.
For anyone out there looking for work, take a minute to assess your relevance. If you can converse with your teenage niece and keep up with the conversation, you're at least on the right track.
Look at your clothes, your attitude, and your skills and make sure they're 21st century. I ™m so sensitive about this I ™ve been known to cut my hair to make sure I look the part. Read People Magazine to know who's who and surf the net to stay up on trends.
Seems to me that exuding enthusiasm and projecting relevance is almost more important than our skill set.
Take a moment, channel your inner teenager, and get a haircut. Can't hurt.