Age-Proof Your Career

1. You look old if you think only birds tweet. 

Social media isn’t a flash trend, it is part of a high-tech cultural shift.

The Age Proofer: Become part of the Twitterati. Sign up for an account at Twitter.com. Create profiles at Facebook.com and LinkedIn.com.

2. You look old if you love the big meeting. 

Boomers worked long hours and the line between work and life were blurred. Frequent meetings served as a pseudo-social outlet. Young employees have a different philosophy. Get the job done and get a life. They embrace flexible schedules and use new tools to work more efficiently.

The Age Proofer: Hold fewer meetings and keep them short. Rely on more on texting and webinars. Collaborate on projects using the wiki tool. Set up videochats to replace traditional gatherings.

3. You look old if you called the project an “epic fail”. 

If you try to use a trendy term, it may come across as sounding pathetic or just plain silly. You’ll just remind them of your age rather than encourage them to forget.

The Age Proofer: Know what the latest phrases mean, so you’re not insulted if a young colleague calls your work “sick”. But as for using them, don’t.

4. You look old if you’re always referencing the glory days. 

Among the deadliest phrases is, “Let me tell you how we used to do it.” The blank stares may tell you they could care less. Mentioning the old ways may cause you to be seen as out of touch.

The Age Proofer: Focus on the future. Show you have a handle on emerging issues in your field. Broaden your knowledge of the industry. Be viewed as an asset, not an artifact.

5. You look old if you fashion sense is straight out of 1989. 

If you are still sporting a briefcase or a tie, you’re showing your age. If you dress more formal than the rest of the office, you may be perceived as being rigid.

The Age Proofer: Find the right balance. Don’t try to wear clothes too young for your age, but you may want to ditch the tie to join the gang.

You can read the full article by Dan Kadlec at the Money magazine web site.