What would happen to you if rolled your eyes at a work colleague who is a person of color or LGBT
orientation? You’d be marched into HR for
a session in sensitivity training and you might even be fired. But it’s perfectly acceptable to dismiss
older workers that way. Ageism is the last acceptable form of workplace discrimination.
According to PwC, while 64% of companies have a formal diversity and inclusivity
strategy, only 8% of those include age as a criteria. While technically illegal, companies
use code words with recruiters like “rising in their career” to signal that
they are looking for someone young.
The irony is that “old” is the one demographic of which we will ALL become members. We
won’t all gradually change our ethnicity, race or gender. But we will all grow old, whether that’s
defined as 40 or 50 or 60. And if you wanted to launch your own venture after
you age out of your industry, good luck with fundraising. In 2011, Sun Microsystems
co-founder and VC Vinod Khosla told a conference that “People under 35
are the people who make change happen. People over 45 basically die in terms of
new ideas.” Khosla said he based this statement on his belief that old
entrepreneurs can’t innovate because they keep “falling back on old habits”.
P.S. Khosla is 64 years old. Payback is a real bitch.