Tackle Ageism At Your Workplace Like A Boss

by | April 22, 2022, 14:21 IST


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It’s said that age is just a number, but when at work, this number can sometimes become your whole identity. Comments like “You’re too young to helm a company”, “You’re too old to switch careers” and “It’s your age to get married” are often passed off as well-intentioned advice in offices, without the realization of how demotivating they can be to the receivers. Women are especially taunted for defying the stereotypes attached to their age. Everything from how they speak to what they wear is criticized if it doesn’t meet society’s definition of ‘appropriate’. It’s time we stop this casual ageism at workplaces (and otherwise), and let people grow at their own pace. Here’s how -

Show Up Every Day

Show up every day

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Whether you think you’re too young or too old, don’t use age as an excuse to be lackadaisical at work. Show up every day and at least try to get things done, even if something seems daunting at first. Strive for progress instead of perfection. When people see you making a serious effort, the stereotypes that come with your age will be shattered.

Be Willing To Learn

Be willing to learn

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If you want to rise up the ranks in your workplace despite it being unlikely to get a promotion at your age, you have to stop being stuck in your ways. Be willing to learn new skills and constantly adapt to changes in order to remain competent. Naivety is expected out of young, inexperienced employees and inertia, from older ones. The only way to break out of this image is to show maturity and shoulder responsibility.

Call Ageist Comments Out

Call ageist comments out

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Sometimes it’s really not about you. You may be doing everything and more to prove your potential at work, but there could be someone who still can’t help but look at you through their ageist lens. Make sure you don’t entertain their comments, no matter how innocuous they appear to be. Call them out while being as professional as you can. When you tolerate inappropriate behaviour, you also encourage it.

Educate Your Co-Workers

Educate your co-workers

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Poking fun at people’s age in birthday cards or giving them ageist nicknames is common practice in workplaces, and may be done in good taste. So before you throw a fit of rage and taint your reputation, try to gauge if someone means ill or they genuinely don’t know any better. In case of the latter, empathise with the person and educate them, instead of telling them off straight away.

Be Yourself

Be yourself

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For people to see you for more than your age, you have to believe it first. Don’t feel the pressure of conducting yourself a certain way because of your age. You can be young and wise, opinionated and assertive. You can be old and still ignorant and unsure about things. There’s no one way of carrying yourself at work.

Also read: Glennon Doyle's 'Untamed' Is Essential Reading For Modern Women 

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