Old School

By Robert Goldman

February 7, 2019 6 min read

It's difficult to understand why someone in their 60s or 70s would want to work.

Wouldn't it be much more fun to spend these golden years taking leisurely river cruises through Europe, nibbling on brie and guzzling Merlot, or zipping luxuriously through our nation's parks, nibbling cheeseburgers and guzzling gas in a tricked-out RV three times larger than a city bus?

Sounds good to me.

Yet, when I ask seniors in the job market why they are looking for work, they have the silliest reasons like "I need to pay the rent." Often, they are struggling with an addiction problem, like the pernicious habit of eating regularly.

If seniors want jobs, the question remains — do jobs want seniors?

As a post on Glassdoor by Amy Elisa Jackson makes clear, "older workers are often confronted with many stereotypes in the workplace, from being unable to keep up with technology to being too rigid in their ways."

This is prejudice, pure and simple. If I insist on using a typewriter, am I being "rigid" to demand that the IT department bring me carbon paper?

"13 Tips to Age-Proof Your Resume" is the title of Jackson's post, and though you are decades away from being a senior yourself, it will be useful to put a few of these tips in your memory, while you still have a memory, that is.

"Focus on your recent experience" is tip No. 1. In the opinion of expert resume writer, Amanda Augustine, employers "care most about your recent work for the roles they're filling, not your experience from 15 or more years ago."

This is true. The chances of a 30-something HR drone appreciating your contribution to the development of Netflix by encouraging Thomas Edison to invent the Kinetoscope are slight, indeed.

(Be sure to update your references, as well. That glowing 360-degree review you received from Abraham Lincoln? Time to dump it.)

The need to rewrite history is so important that tip No. 2 encourages you to completely "eliminate older dates."

Reconfiguring history this way may spark certain questions in the interview, like "What were you doing between graduating college and 2005?" You certainly don't want to admit you were working all those years, getting promotions, taking on increasing levels of responsibility and helping your employers achieve business success.

That's why I recommend you simply answer, "I was in prison."

Admitting to being in prison is not usually considered a career plus when applying for a new job, but it's sure a whole lot better than admitting to being old.

"Optimize your resume with keywords" is tip No. 5. Since 75 percent of all online applications will "never be seen by human eyes thanks to the hiring bots," it is important that your resume whispers the exact words a bot most wants to hear.

Note the way I have slipped certain keywords in the following sentence without changing the meaning in a way a bot will notice.

"I am sure my Artificial Intelligence will C++ the continued success of your Unified Modeling Language in an Integrated Development Environment if I am lucky enough to be hired. Or, as I like to say, Apache Hadoop, Apache Hadoop, Apache Hadoop. "

I can't agree with tip No. 6, "Upgrade your email address." Yes, you can join the mediocre majority with a Gmail address, but keeping that AOL or Earthlink address not only shows that you were an early technology adopter, but also proves your loyalty. (And speaking of loyalty, don't forget to include a shoutout to "Clippy." Talk about technological innovations!)

Tip No. 9 is to "showcase your technical proficiencies." Given that persistent prejudice about old people not being technologically savvy, be sure to show off the high-tech e-watch that measures your physical activity. Explain to the interviewer that as an early-adopter, you have owned the gizmo for four years and, already, you've counted almost 200 steps.

Tip No. 13 is to "focus on achievements, not tasks." It's OK to blow your horn. If you don't do it, who will?

Let the hiring manager know that you introduced the Dictaphone to the typing pool and helped Robert Fulton invent the steamboat. Don't downplay your management skills. After all, you virtually invented casual Friday when you arrived at the office at the end of the week wearing a bowtie and a straw boater.

You may be old and you may never work — or eat — again, but even the most callow hiring manager will appreciate the opportunity to interview the person behind the rallying cry, "No spats Friday!"

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at creators.com.

Photo credit: at Pixabay

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