When You Think It's Your Age

Everyday I see something posted regarding a new Diversity-Equity-Inclusion officer hired, a new DEI initiative, a DEI role posted. Rarely, if ever, do I see any content related to age discrimination. It’s hardly ever discussed, neglected from many DEI trainings and is a huge problem. I know this because of the number of clients I have who experience this. It’s the largest segment of my executive coaching practice. 

DEI Officers: When you omit this as a priority from your programs you undercut your effectiveness because you lose buyin from this audience who start noticing ageism in their 40s. They are sitting there, but not buying in. No other group of constituents is larger or better posed to help you advance change than those from 40 to 67. 

Everyone Else: You may not think a lot about discrimination because it doesn’t effect you. Don’t discriminate at any level because it’s wrong and demonstrates your lack of compassion, intelligence and awareness. But this area is one area where you and everyone else will eventually feel the pain. So take appropriate action now. 

We are all dying from the day we are born. 

In your 30s you’re living the life and don’t even think about age discrimination. You notice how old people complain about their health and say that will never be you. 

In your 40s you’re focused on your career and say if you don’t get the promotion by 45 it might be too late. You see people retiring and dread going to their receptions. 

In your 50s you are acutely aware that your career has plateaued. You don’t get called for interviews even though you aren't afraid of one-on-one conversations, can build rapport, know how to negotiate and influence. Your friends in the same age group are getting laid off. Their positions are eliminated and those left behind assume the work for a year until there is a reorganization and someone younger is now doing their job. You worry if you’re next, don’t take risks and have no career aspirations but to hope you can stay where you are. 

In your 60s you’re just counting the days to retirement because you don’t get purposeful work, the organization has discounted your input by how they don’t include you in strategy sessions. You feel dismissed and if your time has passed.  Deep down you see the mistakes less experienced people are making but are afraid to speak up. You notice how people refer to 60 as “old” and hate that Congress moved the social security retirement age from 65 to 67 while nobody was looking. You now know why people in their 60s complain about their health. 

I invite you to post in the comments what ageism you’ve experienced. Let’s educate for the purpose of improvement. 

For those experiencing ageism I’ve written a free report on 10 Tips When You Fear Age Bias

THE STILL SPACE PODCAST EPISODE: Episode #9 Ask the Coach - How Do You Deal With Ageism?Ageism is a form of discrimination that isn’t talked about and is felt my one of the largest subsets of the population. By the time employees are in their 40s they begin to see signs of it. Know what those signs are and 10 tips to counter them. Listen here.


Listen wherever you listen to podcasts or at these links: 

Mary Lee’s website



If you want more executive presence tips here’s a link to my FREE report: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World 

Your coach,

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE


P.S. Feel free to forward this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life looking for a hand to hold. Sometimes we must be the hand that reaches out.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 19-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Request a free consultation call.


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