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Susan M. Heathfield

Stay Relevant at Any Age

By March 23, 2014

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Does anyone talk with each other anymore - anyone under age 30, that is? We have employees who sit in adjacent cubicles who IM and email each other all day long. Sending an email is so easy compared to picking up a phone.

After all, if you call, the person has to be available and you have no record of the call or the response. I learn about pregnant nieces and engaged nephews on Facebook. Sure, the news would have eventually found its way through the family, but Facebook is so immediate - and convenient - and they are all chatting with their friends there anyway.

I watched a few minutes of Martha Stewart Living awhile back, because I wondered what on earth she would do with a show about social media and technology. Mainstream, right? Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder talked with Martha - he looked about 16. But, then, so do many of our employees these days. And, 40 is the new old when you listen to unemployed adults.

Where am I going with all of this? I think it's the age thing that is on my mind more than ever when I read the unemployment stories and the age discrimination stories at Alison Doyle's job searching site. If you are an adult in the workplace over 40, age discrimination is a real possibility. There are so many new things you need to keep up with to stay relevant in your workplace. If you're unemployed, it's even more difficult - yes, that person interviewing you is younger than your daughter, and just as smart.

Sure, workplaces accord some respect to white hair - men's white hair more than women's - unfortunately, but appearance, as linked by my former colleague, John Reh, still rules. According to a recent Newsweek poll, beauty is worth a lot when 84% of people surveyed think others are hesitant to hire a person who looks a lot older than their coworkers. The same poll says we dislike fat people and that women, especially, need to work on their appearance to look relevant and promotable.

See what else is important about staying relevant at any age. I provide nine tips.

Image Copyright Jack Hollingsworth / Getty Images

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