Leadership

Age before beauty?

Jeff Dray considers the age divide in the workplace. Youth and vigour, as well as age and experience, have their place in support roles, and the combination of the two benefits everyone.

When I read job advertisements for "young go-ahead’"people wanted for exciting support roles, the cynic in me wonders whether they are really looking for dynamic or cheap people. Is youth and vigor more important than experience and wisdom? The truth is that we need a blend of both qualities to provide a rounded support experience.

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Thinking about the age divide brought this picture into my mind: Papers were blowing around the office, causing havoc. It was particularly windy outside, and it was like a ticker-tape parade inside. The younger, fitter members of the team were racing around, grabbing pieces of paper, sorting them into order, and putting them back on the table, from where they blew away again.

The oldest member of the team rose slowly to her feet, walked to the window, and closed it. She then stooped to round up the pieces of paper that had escaped from her desk. Surely, if any proof were needed, this is an example of wisdom exceeding enthusiasm.

That scenario is maybe somewhat exaggerated, yet it is indicative of the kind of thing I have witnessed over the years.

In the UK it is very difficult for anyone over the age of 40 to change jobs; most employers are interested only in taking on people fresh from school or a university, and I’m not sure why.

To read some of the recruitment advertisements that appear in the UK, you would think that people over the age of 35 are ready for the knacker’s yard. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Admittedly it is harder to mold an older recruit into the standard company image, and it is harder to convince them that a low starting pay will be reviewed as the recruit progresses through the company, but think what the positives are. You get someone who is used to work and who is less likely to fail to appear after a wild night of clubbing, and you are buying a store of wisdom about life that even the best university cannot teach.

Back in the day, people in the UK would traditionally spend their working life with one company; the phrase "Job for Life" was used. Employers justify taking on younger people by stating that they will get more years of service from them, yet this is no longer the case. On average, people stay no longer than five years with an employer, so in reality there is little to be said against taking on a 55-year-old as opposed to an 18-year-old.

The truth is that we need a full age range: we need the energy of youth, but it often needs to be tempered with the experience and wisdom gained from a lifetime in the workplace. Some things can be taught at school or college; other things need to be experienced. A well-balanced workplace needs a blend of skills, not a set of company clones.

Not everybody has the best skill set for every task, but by building your team from a wide range of people, you can ensure that you do have all the skills at hand. There is an old saying: Jack of all trades, master of none.

What is your experience of how age differences play out in the workplace?

47 comments
TechSupport1
TechSupport1

I have always showed my older colleagues respect and they in turn have shared their experiences with me. One thing they all have said to me is keep your skills up-to-date and look for ways to make yourself valuable to the company.

oded
oded

Hi Jeff, You are right in getting into client/user interfacing situation. One can then see if the user does not understand and can see what the user is actually doing and is possibly afraid or does not understand what is happening. Solving problems this way is even more satistying than using remote control. However, employers think that a good, experienced over 35, with more then 2 years experience is too costly. But he/she will be more stable, will not job hop and probably, with the hands on experience will not pass the buck or leave the job at 5 pm to finish it tomorrow. With experience comes knowledge of dealing with people, listening and patience. However, prospective bosses, probably younger with far less experience are afraid of solid experienced "older" persons. All this will still not help the over 40s to get a job. How many young ones remember that ipconfig works only in the so called "dead" DOS!? O. Szpiro CITP

bkoelrich
bkoelrich

Maybe this does not apply in the UK, but I was born and live in the United States, and it is in the U.S. that I am job hunting. I am 47, and have been unable to secure an income for some 20 months, and counting, since I was laid off! I received replies to postings I have put on online bulletin boards/blogs, from people who are older than I am, who were in well-paying careers with all the benefits, etc., and have since lost their jobs too. Some of them are luckier than me in that they at least have found new jobs, but have consistently said they make minimum wage in jobs they hate now. One of them was successful in the insurance industry for decades, until being cut loose at age 55! While my postings/blogs said one of the main reasons older people such as me do not get hired is because employers are charged FOUR TIMES as much in employee-benefits premiums, as well as more for any claims paid for medical care/operations, etc, for older employees, by their insurance carriers, this respondent said being older was THE NUMBER ONE REASON why older job seekers are not hired, and older employees are laid off! Even though I have my masters degree in clinical psychology, and my state license as a professional mental health counselor, at my age, I am lucky to get even an interview, and even those are for jobs that pay significantly less than those I have held previously! I have also expanded my job search to include ANY field/area to try to find work. I have been told I have done well at the interviews I have gone on, and my background/credit are clean (at least for now, until I run out of money!), yet these days, I either get No Thanks, or nothing at all, in response from employers. Adding to the problem is that, in the current economy, it is a buyers market for employers. They do not need to pay for recruiters/head-hunters to find candidates for them because they are inundated with resumes and applications, even for low-paying jobs, so they are already overloaded just to go through what they get, and can pick from the best of the best on their own. They have also stopped putting their direct contact information in job postings on sites like CareerBuilder, Monster, Yahoo Hotjobs, and the myriad of other job sites, because they are simply too overloaded to also have to deal with any application and/or interview follow-up emails, calls, or thank you notes, which used to be considered THE WAY to make sure they knew you were very interested, thus formerly boosting your chances of being hired. Now, I have run into a Don't call us, we'll call you mentality, across the board, from employers because they simply don't have the time for me, or anyone else who applies, until they trudge through all of the applications/interviews they have to arrive at their top 3 picks, and those lucky souls are the ONLY ones who hear back from them, and only one of them gets the job! If your resume is not EXACTLY in line with what they are looking for, you are yet another of the hundreds who goes in the trash, with no call or letter sent to tell you what happened to your application, interview, candidacy, etc., if they have decided they are not going to consider you. It has become very hard for me to keep up my morale applying and applying with nothing in reply except automated Thank you - We received your application - We will let you know emails, and nothing beyond that. I thought I must be doing something wrong until I began receiving replies from, and reading about, others going through the same or even worse in the current economy/job market. So, along with looking for work, and applying continuously, I have also been emailing President Obama and all of my political leaders who represent my state, and my region within my state, for financial help and services to keep me afloat until investor confidence, and hence the stock market, begin climbing again, so banks free up credit to spur consumer spending to help get the economy moving again, and employers to finally begin making jobs available again. So far, the most optimistic projections of when jobs might just begin to start becoming available is not until the end of 2010, or well into 2011, at the earliest. With the most recent extension in emergency expanded unemployment benefits, provided I don't have any unexpected major expenses, I should be able to scrape by until 1/1/2010 until my funds are at $0.00, and I have major credit card debt, student loans, my car loan (there goes my car - can't even live in that!), not to mention any ability to meet my rent, utilities, food costs, prescriptions, etc., are all that is left. Considering the homeless shelters and low-cost housing options are frozen, so they have not been taking anyone for approx. 2 years now, the streets, and the loss of everything I have, are all that is left. Happy 2010 to me, and millions like me! We people need the states to accept the federal economic stimulus funds, as well as to do any, and every, thing else possible, to bolster and create social services programs, not only for benefits like food stamps and such, but for real help with rent, utility, mortgage, etc., costs so we do not end up on the streets in the here and now. I have repeatedly emailed my idea of expanding less expensive - for employers and employees - distance employee/telecommuter employment positions, building on those employers who already utilize this type of employment - to Obama and all of my political leaders, asking them to get this idea rolling with business leaders. I realize this is not a viable idea for everyone, and have said so, but it is ONE way to help make jobs available while keeping costs down for all concerned. So far, however, everyone I have written to is way too entrenched in the traditional, outside-the-home, 9 to 5 job/employment model. Yet, ironically, Own your own home-based business/franchise internet scams continue to clog my email inbox. Yeah, right. Even before the current recession hit at the end of 2007, personal/small business startups in the real world had a 95% failure rate within their first year. Now is definitely NOT the time to try to strike out on your own. I could not do so anyway, even if I wanted to, because I do not have the money left even just to try to get up-and-running, much less seeing any hope of income from such ventures. Experts from all angles warn people to stay away from these Home-based business ownership internet offers, stating that, statistically, people end up spending more money than any they might make in the end. Such offers themselves, in their fine print, state outright that the multiple testimonials they list, attesting to making millions, or at least be self-supporting, are not indicative of average results, and that you may even make nothing for your investments in money and time in their systems, etc., that they advertise are sure-fire ways to leave you old job behind, and be financially independent forever. So, to everyone, scream loud and in large numbers, repeatedly, to any and all political and business leaders - actually, to everyone - right up to President Obama, to make support available so all of us can keep our homes and apartments, until his stimulus package - and whatever else it takes - garners investor confidence, so the stock market and economy genuinely start recovering enough to spur banks to free up credit, thus boosting consumer spending, thereby promoting businesses to finally start hiring again. I insist that distance employee/telecommuter employment MUST be developed into a viable, salaried, self-supporting job/career option, across all fields and careers, as ONE way to create low-cost jobs now, and always. Finally, slashing the cost of living, across the board, so people are not constantly subjected only to rising costs for everything, until they reach the point of diminishing returns and collapse - as has happened in the current recession, along with all of the junk mortgages made during the mid-2000s - so people can afford to simply live in the first place, even though doing so may cause financial issues for business and political leaders in the short run, is the only way to create real and lasting economic and employment recovery for all, now and in the long run.

mollison_98
mollison_98

While I can understand the need to have younger people in the workplace, I have often found that youth often does without thinking things through and sometimes they get lucky but when they do not it is more often the older person that ends up correcting the problem created by the younger employee and many times without being asked to. But here is where there is also a failing of the older employee in that they corrected the problem but did not show the younger person why that problem happened in the first place. I am a 55 year old that has never been and IT in the real sense of the word but I have done the job for several years and have in effect schooled many younger employees in some of the things than need to be done prior to just jumping in and doing what appears to be fixing the problem. Not all of the problems are as clearly obvious as some, many of the young tend to not think things through before they act, and they also do not ask questions to see if there was an underlying reason for the failure. On the other hand the older employees often over think things and make a bigger job out of something that was simple to fix, so yes there needs to be a balance of both, the older can recognize many of the things and correct without even thinking about it but lets all face the reality that we are all only going to be in that job for a finite time and the younger people will be the ones that become the older group after we are gone and it is the responsibility of the older people to teach the younger people how so they can then do the same as they come of age. As we are being retired weather by circumstances of health, loss of the company or by just getting old and no longer willing to be flexible and learn (Set in our ways) we are to be replaced just like a worn out part should be replaced. Am I happy with not being able to do what I used to no I'm not but I also understand why it has to be. I now do computer repairs as a part time thing since I can no longer do it full time, but if someone asks me a question about something computer related I will do my best to answer that question in a manor that they can understand.

jdclyde
jdclyde

B-) Although, in my last job, there was a young pup that thought people thought he was cool because he would hit his keyboard really fast to type in commands. Of course, those of us with a clue saw that his most used key was the backspace. His stupidity while typing took the server down one day... [i]edit because Neil is a penis :0 :p ;\

rtillotson
rtillotson

Employees at all ages and skill levels working together as a team creates synergism that, with good communicatin and leadership, can reach high levels of achievement and satisfaction. The inexperienced person looks to the experienced one for sage advice, and the experienced employee looks to the inexperienced for fresh, inovative and sometimes unorthodox ideas. With close cooperation, lots of positive things are possible.

turnejam
turnejam

In the US IT is a little worse than the UK the this regard. Once you become 40 there is an effort to make sure you are sent "out to pasture" for a younger staff person. Especially with younger managers at the helm of an organization, your experience is looked at as outdated, your perspective is considered "Old Thinking" and you do not fit the profile a newer younger manager may want to see in his department. I expereinced this kind of treatment in a Health Care system after 10 years of employment, my new manager slowly and methodically removed more and more of my tasks to his younger staff without discussion until I had very little to do, then when I became bored, I was considered disinterested and my performance evaluations became very stressful. I was pretty much pushed out the door with supervision and theatened with slow payment if I fought in any kind of way, I had enough of it and with two young children and a sick wife I signed the waivers got my comphensation and left them for good. Everyone's got a different experience but I've been in IT since 1979 so there isn't much I haven't seen. I just could have been treated with a lot more dignity and respect for my past contributions as unimportant as they may have seemed. JWTurner

SKDTech
SKDTech

I have been a jack of all trades for many years and it has usually done me well. It always helps to have someone nearby who is able to look at a task and be able to either take care of it himself or give a solid recommendation to call in an expert. Unfortunately it seem to be a hard skill/talent to properly quantify to prospective employers, at least for me.

dogknees
dogknees

Everyone goes on about the fountain of youth! I say, what we really need is a fountain of smart, we've already got plenty of youth in the world.

jdclyde
jdclyde

on the job, experience. out drinking at the bar, bring on you beauties..... :D

leif.lynch
leif.lynch

I am 25 and still use the so called "dead DOS" often. I automate alot of jobs for my office and level 1 support personel with DOS. Power shell is great and I've come across some issues I could only get to work remotely with it,but the simplicity of DOS commands make my IT work easy.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I'd like to see the cost of living go down myself, but if your screams for support are heard, I don't see my cost of living going anywhere but up.

neilb
neilb

I don't criticise, merely comment. :D

cpcca
cpcca

I've been in Electronics for 30 years starting as a tech in 1978 working up to Senior Program Manager. I built my first computer in 1979. I've been in Commercial Test Equipment, Defense Electronics, and Satellite Payload Test, in roles from Design to Program Management. That 30 years of experience does nothing but get my resume tossed into the reject pile. I was laid off at age 55 in 2003 due to plant closure. Other than a failed attempt in Real Estate Sales, I have been unemployed since. I send out 5 resumes a week. I've even re-written a "timeless" resume with minimum dates and only going back 15 years. Still my level of experience betrays my age. I fix computers and set up home and office networks on my own but I've accepted the fact that now, at 59, I am unemployable. That's the cold hard truth.

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

That doesn't seem to be the case here (I work in California). I am over 50 and my boss told me just yesterday that he plans to keep me around for years. There are a lot of people here that are older. We have some that are younger, but overall we are an older workforce. I support a software development lab. What they did to you was just wrong. Good riddance, I say.

DMambo
DMambo

No matter what your actual job performance, a "skilled" HR manager can push just about anyone out the door legally within a year or so. It takes documentation and perhaps refining the job description, but unfortunately, it's really not that difficult. The sad thing about it is that (IMO) many of these managers convince themselves that what they're doing is really the best thing to do for the organization, even beyond the simple savings in salary. This has never happened to me, but I've watched it from the sidelines.

csmith.kaze
csmith.kaze

My theory is be a jack of all trades, but still specialize in one area just enough to get the HR people to listen. You get the best of both worlds. I sure as hell ain't a programmer, but since I dabble in it, I am doing some stuff on the side. I specialize in network hardware/software, but know enough of servers and NOS's to make a me a good all around tech. Of course all of my specializing is in one field, but inside my field I try to be a jack of all trades. but that's my theory. (im still one of those young whippersnappers, though :) )

Kathy
Kathy

As a later-in-life arrival into support IT with a forward looking employer after years of courses, I love my job in spite of any flaws. It is hectic, often stressful, and users can be difficult, but previous experience dealing with intense people has provided the skills to work with it. I climb, crawl, lift, listen, empathize, etc...the usual. I deal with managers and co-workers who are all younger, but they expect me to pull my load with the team, and that's just fine. The key to getting hired in this field at my age was acquiring the technical qualifications and packaging them with soft skill experience. Several years later, I'm still learning new things and enjoying the work, the people and the energy. Age does not have to mean outdated.

tech4me
tech4me

Good post Jeff, but a tad biased and you're entire argument made you a bit of a hypocrite. There are so many reasons why employees look for younger staff and I would bet it rarely has anything to do with 'youth and vigor' or 'beauty'. Your title "Age before Beauty" and your reasons for picking older employees over younger makes for a very weak argument. I completely agree with you that a balanced age-group in the workplace is essential for ensuring you have a good mix of skills and experience at hand. I disagree however on your points on hiring a 55yo over a 18yo and the 'average' 5yr gap between job hoping. Why would a 55yo be going for the type of job you advertise for an 18yo? I prefer to have someone who is not only suited for the job I'm advertising, but also has 'potential' to move up, or just perform above expectations. If you're 55yo and still doing what would be considered an entry level role, you've probably reached the top of your game (or even on the downward slide). Who would hire this person? The 5 year gap between job changes is an 'average'. To make a valid comparison you would need to use figures comparing average job retention for different age groups. -- "The truth is that we need a full age range: we need the energy of youth, but it often needs to be tempered with the experience and wisdom gained from a lifetime in the workplace." -- Very valid point, but history has been doing it right for centuries with having the older employees in management and the younger staff working for them. You still have a mix of age and experience, but you use that 'energy of youth' to get the work done as directed by the more senior management. I don't live in the UK, but vast majority of management roles I've seen want someone with many years experience under their belt. I'm still yet to see a job ad regarding a senior role use any words like 'youth' 'energy' or 'vigor' to describe their ideal candidate. If your blog entry is solely referring to 'support roles' you must admit that 'support' work generally is entry level work and does have certain physical and technical requirements that make it ideal to the younger generation. It seems common sense to me that these jobs are being targeted at the younger workforce. 1.) Support roles are in the lower pay-scale in IT. 2.) Support roles are often in a fast-paced, rapidly changing environment and are non glorified. 3.) Support roles generally require up-to-date technical knowledge. 4.) Support role positions are also at the bottom of the organizational tree. To take things to extremes (you were a little guilty of this too) I'll use the 55yo and 18yo comparison. 1.) 18yo are willing to work for low pay. They're fresh out of school and not used to big $$$ and don't have high financial needs. 55yo's generally want more money, and even if they're happy to take this low paying job an employee has to ask the question 'Why?' 2.) Try getting a 55yo to work fast or rush down the block to one of your buildings and fix a computer. It's not impossible, but it's rare to find someone in IT that age who likes to be rushed, adapts to changes easily and doesn't mind getting under a desk and cleaning up cabling. I've never had any luck getting older employees (anyone over 40 generally) to move computers and servers because they complain about back problems or feel above such laborious tasks. 3.) I'm generalizing, but as we get older our priorities in life change. Young people like to spend hours on their computer, reading magazines, and brushing up on latest technologies. As we get older, we spent more time with spouse and children, going out on weekends, etc and less time keeping up to date with latest technologies. 4.) 55yo in a support role, will very likely be reporting to supervisors and managers who are younger, or similar age. Fair or not, it makes some people uncomfortable have someone under them who is older. Building an effective team is also about building a 'compatible team'. Good post, very relevant topic in today's changing IT workforce, but proper post should try to be objectionable and neutral.

blarman
blarman

There are pro's and cons to each. Even though age discrimination in hiring is illegal, many employers do it subconsciously until they are trained not to do it. Here are a few of the thoughts about both sides: 1) Younger employees aren't necessarily cheaper. Younger employees of today's generation are ladder-climbers. They expect you to pay top dollar for them and cater to their demands, yet are rarely worth what they think they are worth. And they tend to job-hop more, meaning that all that time you spent training them for two years to become productive just got wasted. In contrast, many more experienced workers are just exactly that: experienced. They know their value, know their abilities and limitations, and are very productive in a stable environment. In an interview, I'll take humility and honesty over self-aggrandizement any day. 2) Experience can be over-rated. The fact of the matter is that no candidate is going to come in and hit the ground running. That is a myth. At the very least, new hires have to learn your corporate culture, informal hierarchy, and politics, which can take months if not years - even in small businesses. And the technical end largely is a moot point: you want someone who comes in understanding correct _principles_ and can learn how to apply them to the technology involved. Individual programming tools and software platforms change so often and so radically that 20 years of experience just says that you know how things _used_ to work. I'm interested in whether or not you know how to apply correct design principles to MY business problems in my company's choice of tools. 3) Health. This is one area where younger applicants gain a significant psychological edge. The human brain attaches a negative stereotype to age as a debilitating factor, while the converse is true as well: youth implies health and vigor. The problem is that more youth today sit around playing video games and ignore their health. If you are concerned about the health of your employees, have them take a physical. You never know, but it's a relatively inexpensive way to test someone that may even alert them to a dangerous condition they didn't even know they had. 4) Communication is key. I think one of the reasons many experienced workers get such a bad rap is that many have failed to keep up with modern communication techniques. But is that always a bad thing? Look at your business and how people communicate, then ask questions of your applicants to determine if they use those same methods. If your company thrives on Web 2.0 Wikis for engineering, don't hire someone who relies on email. On the other hand, if your company reserves emails for official business and primarily uses instant messaging, make sure your candidate scores high on a standard typing test (>50 wpm). Also, resist the urge to allow l33t and texting to qualify as legitimate business communication. These are unprofessional and promote laziness and poor communication techniques among employees. (Feel free to disagree if you like) Overall, if you do a proper job evaluation that covers the necessary technical, communications, and other aspects of the job, you can avoid allowing age, race, etc. to become a factor because you will focus on a particular candidates abilities to fit the position.

Recycled_za
Recycled_za

When commercial employers think that you are past your sell-by date, don't even think of looking for a "Job" - rather make use of your knowledge and experience - take the plunge and be your own boss. Maybe you will have to do some local marketing, but in every town there are small business that need your expertise. You will probably command a much higher hourly rate that you were being paid in the corportate world as well. If you have reached the magic age, then if you were receiving a reasonable salary and even a retrenchment package, then you should have enough behind you to get started. Let's face it, you don't receive any income for sending out CV's or attending interviews. Been there, done it - Even got the badge.

supermariodood
supermariodood

I am wondering if the possibility of being more expensive in terms of the companys medical benefits has anything to do with this as well (and this goes for any field) i know in California, healthcare costs for employers is VERY expensive

DadsPad
DadsPad

As long as I can remember, most companies want youth over experience in most situations. There is a perception that since older people had to learn about computers and software, the younger persons grew up with the knowledge and can learn new processes faster. While this is not always true, it is hard to change the minds of management.

seanferd
seanferd

Apparently, no one has ever found the fountain of smart, either. Or wait a minute, I think it is located at the junction of paying attention and thinking. Perhaps Google and GPS receiver vendors have forgotten to include it in their maps. :0

JamesRL
JamesRL

I count myself as lucky. I am on a variable rate mortgage, and my rate has dropped to 2.5%. My line of credit, which I used to pay down credit cards, is now at 5.5%. My gas costs have also dropped, almost in half. So my actual cost of living has gone down, and I am taking the opportunity to pay off all my debts. While I survived the last round of layoffs, I may not survive for ever. My company's customers are going bankrupt quickly. But as for the previous poster, the government can't prop up everybody and everything because it will just go deeper and deeper into debt. The higher the debt, the lower the credit rating and the higher the interest costs will be. So by asking for more now, you may be damning the next generations into a higher tax rate which I do believe kills economic growth over the long haul. James

santeewelding
santeewelding

Beats mine. I thought maybe he ought to pursue another degree in the psychology of his own psychology.

jdclyde
jdclyde

:p I don't comment, merely critici[b]Z[/b]e. :D

rtillotson
rtillotson

My employer of 16 years eliminated my position in 1995, as part of a merger. I was 50 at the time and a skils trainer. I was then told I could "apply for a position" at the distant geographic location of the take-over company. This meant competing with their entrenched staff. I took severance. For 11 years, I had several jobs -- administrative assistant, assistant to a property management CEO, senior learning specialist, office administator, etc. I got some interesting jobs through Kelly Services -- three times -- one which led to a good position that lasted 2+ years. At age 62, I was hired by my present employer as a technical writer, a skill I had used at three previous employers. I have been on a constant learning curve, love every minute of this place, and been giving lots of rsponsibility and freedom. I think the answer to gaining employment at a later age depends not only on experience, but on willingness to learn new things, adaptability, good health, communication skills, professinoal appearance, honesty, and continuous perservance. I wish all of you 50+ folks good luck and good health.

yetanothername
yetanothername

Totally agree. I have over 30 years experience designing, writing and creating software and network systems. In my last job I was the IT Systems Manager for over 12 years but when the company was taken over last year, my job (along with the rest of the IT department) was "exported" to India. Now I'm jobless and with no hope of getting another IT job due to my age. My experience and ability mean nothing. I can't even get to an interview.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

What inmitigated bullsh|t! [i]1.) Support roles are in the lower pay-scale in IT.[/i] Support roles span the entire IT pay-scale because [u]every role in IT is a support role.[/u] The IT worker who doesn't understand this is doomed to unhappiness, mediocrity, or both. [i]2.) Support roles are often in a fast-paced, rapidly changing environment and are non glorified.[/i] Although the corporate environment can and does change rapidly, most changes are incremental. The mantra is "if it works, don't fix it," meaning that there must be a strong financial incentive (lost profits) for making any major changes. Glory? Glory is for heroes. I'd rather have happy customers. [i]3.) Support roles generally require up-to-date technical knowledge.[/i] [u]Every[/u] job requires up-to-date knowledge, technical or otherwise. When you go to the market, don't you expect the clerks to be able to tell you where something is? Don't you expect your mechanic to be able to repair everything on your brand-new car? [i]4.) Support role positions are also at the bottom of the organizational tree.[/i] The CIO is at the bottom of the organizational tree? He may be in management, but...see point one above. I'd say something here about tree branches not being able to exist without the trunk, but management, at least in the US, appears to have lost sight of that. Most of the 18-year-olds (and even many 20-somethings) I know are "one-trick ponies" incapable of adapting to changing work requirements because they haven't yet learned how. The older support tech usually has a wide range of experience behind him and can adapt easily. Your entire post is objectionable, but definitely not neutral. Your points are straw men you use to make yourself feel better about your age bias.

catpro-54
catpro-54

is pretty biased as well. A 55yo in a support role should not be an anomalie. Many people of that age thrive on the ever-changing requirements of a support position and are perfectly capable of performing exceptionally well without "back problems" or feeling above the requirements of the job. You show your age bias with your comments.

Jeff Dray
Jeff Dray

Where employers don't pay for healthcare for employees. the NHS screws everyone the same.

paulmck1
paulmck1

When you step away from the IT side of the equation and look at the $$$ side of things. It's much MUCH cheaper to pay a "right out of college" young person who may or may not have a couple of years experience than it is to pay that "wise" 40+ person with 20 years experience. The young ones are more apt to take a "less than desirable" salary vs. that old and wise guy who realises what he's really worth. Just my 2 cents.. take it for what it's worth.

DMambo
DMambo

packet sniffer or pocket sniffer?

santeewelding
santeewelding

Your outer beauty is subliminal. That would make Neil, well, positively ethereal.

ajohansson
ajohansson

and the others. I am one of the kids. The best colleagues I've had are all older. The people my age tended to be much lazier and self-important.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]Bar/restaurant dishwashing is for the birds.[/i] I've found anything and everything in the bus bin, from a spent .38 round :0 to [formerly] sanitary napkins. :-& There's high-class, low-class, no-class. A bar in the middle of the Mojave desert gets 'em all! edit: localizing...

santeewelding
santeewelding

I spent early years -- in the scullery, cleaning all the long, sharp, curved knives; knowing where they all were; honing them. Now I can't get away without knowing where all the nouns and verbs and pronouns and adverbs are; cleaning them; honing them.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

I had to fill in for everyone, including the dishwasher. I had to be available at the drop of a hat for any shift/position that had a no show for the day. Could not even get away with not knowing where something was, including the power strips, toilet paper, and draft lines. Bar/restaurant dishwashing is for the birds. :)

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

He's a pretty piss poor store manager if he doesn't know where to find an item. As manager, if his stock personnel don't show for a shift, it's his responsibility to stock the shelves. If his cashier/s don't show, it's his responsibility to fill that slot, he'd better know how to work the cash register and the credit card and check readers. He better know how to change light bulbs, clean toilets and floors. And if the cart guy doesn't show, he better be able to bring the carts back from the cart corrals. Big picture? We're all support personnel. Even the CEO. Just that most of them don't appear to realize that anymore.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I'm well past 50 and still crawl under desks, behind file cabinets, and even up into ceilings. Better yet, I support grocery stores. Come crawl with me under a check stand some time. No, you wouldn't do that, you're the 20-something in the chair who looks down on people who get their hands dirty. Adaptability? Got it down pat. I don't know from call to call whether I'll be troubleshooting a network connectivity issue or replacing a fuser. I maintain over 100 discreet equipment types, from hand scanners to servers, all of it to the FRU level, and some of it to the component level. Oh, and something else. 75% of my fellow techs are my age or older. I strongly suspect I've been a support tech longer than you've been out of nappies. As I said before, your points are simple mind candy so you can feel better about your age bias. Come back and play after you grow up.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Outside your (cubicle). I am a member of TR. I am, while removed from, but cognizant of, your painfully obvious radial view, dismissive of what you make out to be the general case. You neglect me. You neglect what I see. Patronize me, as you try with Nick, and you best clear your decks, unless your clutter is frozen in place. All on account of your use of, "real". Of which, I think I know a thing or three.

tech4me
tech4me

1.) The author was talking about "IT Support roles". If he was on your line of thinking, there would be no need to mention the word "Support" because according to you every IT role is a "Support Role". You're playing on words simply so you have a counter-argument, weak as it is. You know what I meant when I said "Support Roles" and you know what it means when you read the same term in job ads and websites and salary surveys, so grow up, nit-picking like that just shows you cant make a strong case. 2.) I said "often". If I said they are 'often fast paced' then any idiot can deduce I meant that they are otherwise NOT fast paced. I too have worked in large corporations (especially government) and know first hand how much slower paced they generally are then small-mid companies. Dignified or humble may have been better words then 'glorified' but you obviously didn't understand my example. With every older IT person I've worked with they always try to avoid doing things like getting under the CEO's desk and tidying up cables, etc. Especially when the said IT support person is 55 and they're crawling under desks and between filing cabinets while someone who's 30 sits in a chair watching. My point was to explain one reason why employees target younger age group when advertising these types of roles. 3.) When you move up past generalized support roles, you can become specialized. Rather then trying to support 50 different applications you only have to keep up to date with one or two. Who asks a DBA what hardware they should be getting for their desktops, or expect them to support every Adobe application used by the company? If you don't know this about the way IT positions are structured you must have never looked outside your current role. With your example, yes you DO expect the clerk to tell you where every item in the shop is, but try asking the manager of the store, who hasn't worked on the floors in years or someone in the deli! 4.) The real world doesn't label CIO as a Support Role, it's an executive management position. I'm referring to Level 1-3 Support Roles but I'm sure everyone else understood this bar you.

Lando56
Lando56

I understand your logic Paul, but if a really smart employer looked beyond the very short term, one has to consider training costs to 'shove' 20 years of experience and knowledge into kids that just don't have yet. Keep in mind supervision/oversight also. Not that the younger employee needs it to prevent 'goofing off', but to assure (and maybe assist if needed)in completing the work correctly, especially if no past 'hands on' experience. In short, paying two people that only need one to accomplish. May be a simplistic approach, but I'm looking at the forest and not the individual trees of the company as a whole. Just my 2 cents too :). (Now we're up to 4 cents! haha)

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