If you’re a baby-boomer executive who’s recently landed on the ripe side of 50, there’s probably less to worry about than there was a generation ago. Except for the economy, of course.
Mark Jaffe, author of Let Me Give It To You Straight: An Outspoken Guide to Working with Headhunters, Advancing Your Career and Reaching Enlightenment…Without the Sugarcoating has some words of wisdom and reassurance for the over-50 job seeking generation. A veteran head-hunter, he recalls interviewing a candidate for a Silicon Valley Chief Technology Officer position; while both Jaffe and the client liked the candidate, he was into his 60s, and Jaffe had to check his references (and evaluate his abilities) by asking questions about “‘bandwidth’ and ‘energy level’ and ‘stamina’ and ‘ability to withstand constant pressure.'” Fortunately that candidate had a lot to offer on all fronts, and performed well once hired, leading Jaffe to realize the following:
But if the current trend in CEO hiring is any indicator, boards of directors have become hugely risk-averse and appear to be more than willing than ever to sacrifice youthful edge and velocity for a few gray hairs.
Although the stakes are higher for baby boomer employees, and starting in a new position can sometimes feel like a demotion, Jaffe urges workers, via sports metaphors, to keep your skills sharp, “play like you mean it”, and count on your expertise and mileage to outweigh the newest risky flash-in-the-pan who interviewed right before you.
Career advice for the baby boomer: If Peyton Manning is old, then so are we
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