How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

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justsomeguy2018
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How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by justsomeguy2018 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm

I will be turning 38 years old this year. I got a late-ish start to my career (started around age ~27) so I am probably not as far along financially as someone who started straight out of a decent undergrad. Not as far along as I would like to be. I also tend to worry a lot.

My financial projections have me retiring comfortably in my mid-60s assuming no financial disasters, or decrease in employment, and after near maxing out retirement accounts.

I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment. I fear this will disrupt my financial projections/planning and I may come up short in retirement.

What should I focus on to ensure I stay relevant as I begin to become an older person in the workplace and potentially face age discrimination? Career is in marketing analytics.

Thecallofduty
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Thecallofduty » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:08 pm

Increase the amount you save. This will allow you to become financially independent sooner.
-thecallofduty

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Sandtrap
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:11 pm

You will not be "irrelevant" as long as you contribute to work, others, and the world around you all at once and continuously improve so that those contributions become stronger and deeper and broader with time.
You will never be "irrelevant" as long as you have value.
j :happy
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AlohaJoe
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by AlohaJoe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:57 pm

I think there is 1 big mistake, 1 medium mistake, and 1 small mistake that people make when planning & living out their careers.

The 1 big mistake is staying too long in the same company/industry. The longer you stay at any one company the more you learn about "how to succeed at Company X" -- which makes you very valuable at Company X but it isn't necessarily a transferrable skill. You know why systems work in a certain way, and how to navigate them. You know why historical decisions were made and why they were good for the company. And so on. So your salary at Company X might be $150,000 but your salary at any other company might only be $120,000. Because it is hard to give up that salary, people can find themselves trapped.

The 1 medium mistake is not doing enough to build up a network of acquaintances and ex-coworkers and strengthen people skills. The easiest way to get a job at another company or in another industry is if someone already working there recommends you. This often means stepping out of one's comfort zone -- talking to people on other teams, in different departments, having lunch or coffee with different people. It isn't "networking", it just "making friends".

The 1 small mistake is not keeping technical skills up to date. I rate this as a small mistake because it is the most obvious one and many people do a decent job on this. They need to keep up to date because their job or industry requires it anyway. It is hard when you've got a family, hobbies outside of work, and maybe aren't even totally in love with your chosen field any more. But if you don't spend at least some of your personal time keeping up to date then you run the risk of one day finding out the world has passed you by and you every job interview you go for says, "Oh, you've never used X in a job? Really? That's been the global standard for at least five years."

freebeer
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by freebeer » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:01 pm

justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
I will be turning 38 years old this year. I got a late-ish start to my career (started around age ~27) so I am probably not as far along financially as someone who started straight out of a decent undergrad. Not as far along as I would like to be. I also tend to worry a lot.

My financial projections have me retiring comfortably in my mid-60s assuming no financial disasters, or decrease in employment, and after near maxing out retirement accounts.

I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment. I fear this will disrupt my financial projections/planning and I may come up short in retirement.

What should I focus on to ensure I stay relevant as I begin to become an older person in the workplace and potentially face age discrimination? Career is in marketing analytics.
You will become irrelevant as an employee as you get into 50s/60s. Age discrimination is real especially in technically oriented areas like marketing analytics. My antidote has been entrepreneurial endeavors. There is no age discrimination when you are the boss.

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justsomeguy2018
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by justsomeguy2018 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:02 pm

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:57 pm
I think there is 1 big mistake, 1 medium mistake, and 1 small mistake that people make when planning & living out their careers.

The 1 big mistake is staying too long in the same company/industry. The longer you stay at any one company the more you learn about "how to succeed at Company X" -- which makes you very valuable at Company X but it isn't necessarily a transferrable skill. You know why systems work in a certain way, and how to navigate them. You know why historical decisions were made and why they were good for the company. And so on. So your salary at Company X might be $150,000 but your salary at any other company might only be $120,000. Because it is hard to give up that salary, people can find themselves trapped.

The 1 medium mistake is not doing enough to build up a network of acquaintances and ex-coworkers and strengthen people skills. The easiest way to get a job at another company or in another industry is if someone already working there recommends you. This often means stepping out of one's comfort zone -- talking to people on other teams, in different departments, having lunch or coffee with different people. It isn't "networking", it just "making friends".

The 1 small mistake is not keeping technical skills up to date. I rate this as a small mistake because it is the most obvious one and many people do a decent job on this. They need to keep up to date because their job or industry requires it anyway. It is hard when you've got a family, hobbies outside of work, and maybe aren't even totally in love with your chosen field any more. But if you don't spend at least some of your personal time keeping up to date then you run the risk of one day finding out the world has passed you by and you every job interview you go for says, "Oh, you've never used X in a job? Really? That's been the global standard for at least five years."
Good advice, thanks.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by visualguy » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:11 pm

freebeer wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:01 pm
You will become irrelevant as an employee as you get into 50s/60s. Age discrimination is real especially in technically oriented areas like marketing analytics. My antidote has been entrepreneurial endeavors. There is no age discrimination when you are the boss.
You may still face age discrimination from investors and even customers.

I remember when I was working with a couple of buddies on raising money from VCs, and some of them were making jokes about starting a company as old geezers. We were in our early-to-mid forties, although one of us looked quite a bit older than his age. The funny thing is that many years before that I was doing the same thing with a younger team, and the VCs were making jokes about starting a company while having babies, so I guess you can't win.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Jimmie » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:27 pm

I am an engineer, age 61 and have a ton of experience in my field. My company hires mostly right out of college. Actually, even earlier than that since we have an extensive co-op program. These co-ops, many of which are hard workers willing to learn, have a good track record of getting job offers after graduation.

I make it a priority to mentor these young engineers and share my knowledge and experiences. Although, patience is not my strongest suit, I am flattered to teach them. There are no stupid questions because so far, they are only "book smart". The only issue I encounter is when one of them thinks he is a "know-it-all". Instead of arguing with them, I just watch them crash and burn until they realize their own mistakes. To date, there have only been a couple I can remember.

These new engineers are appreciative and I know this gets back to my managers because I have been told so in my reviews. Consequently, I never worry about finding another job, if the need should ever arise.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by badger42 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 pm

Do your best to keep up with the younger crowd. Stay in shape, keep up with the tech, and keep up with the culture and slang as much as you can. Build your network, be a mentor, but realize that you need to show yourself as culturally 'up to date' in your conversations with 23-year-olds.

Avoid being the stereotype of "old person on the internet" - make sure you know how to use current tech, you should be at least as adept as said 23-year-olds. If you can't use words like "Yeet" in the correct way, you're already falling behind.

crswvc
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by crswvc » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:59 pm

Lately I find myself working for good health insurance, as I don't need the money to pay the bills.
I would work for minimum wage (not legal to work for free AND get good health insurance),
Truly not interested in passing myself off as a 23 year old :annoyed (get off my lawn)

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:02 am

Mind your health, and stay fit, in addition to improving your work related skills. There's a world of difference between being 63 and passing for 50 and being 63 and looking 70.

visualguy
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by visualguy » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:05 am

getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:02 am
Mind your health, and stay fit, in addition to improving your work related skills. There's a world of difference between being 63 and passing for 50 and being 63 and looking 70.
Much of the health and appearance stuff is genetics, unfortunately.

Username1
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Username1 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:14 am

Your perspective is wrong. Instead of looking to avoid becoming irrelevant, seek becoming more valuable.

You're 39. You have more life experience and (hopefully) common sense than the young 20 somethings working at tech companies.

You can easily move into management.

This is from a 29 year old hiring manager.

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Watty
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Watty » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:16 am

One thing you have a lot of control of is your spending. Keeping your lifestyle a notch or two lower not only allows you to save more but it also makes it easier to fund a retirement lifestyle that is the same. There are likely people that you work with that make a third less than you do and they manage to get by OK.
justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
What should I focus on to ensure I stay relevant as I begin to become an older person in the workplace and potentially face age discrimination?
I worked in IT and one thing that helped me last until I was ready to retire was that I was always willing to try to help other people in other departments when they had problems even if it was not directly my responsibility. I was also willing to help people in the IT department informally find a bug in one of their programs without making them feel bad about it.

For example I was pretty good with spreadsheets when someone in accounting was in a panic they would sometimes ask me for help with a spreadsheet to find a problem. Often it was not a big deal and might only take 15 minutes, occasionally I might spend an hour or two trying to help them. Even when I could not actually help them they still really appreciated the effort. I pretty much did this informally and it might only be every few months. My manager knew that I did it but I still got my normal work done so he tolerated it since it help build up goodwill with other departments.

Even though I generally did not work directly with them higher people like controllers and directors in other departments knew that I was a possible "go to" person when there was a problem and would at sometimes tell people to ask me for help. They would also occasionally specifically ask for me to be on a project or when there was an urgent problem like getting some month end numbers to balance. Having a high level manager in another department specifically ask your managers manager for you by name is never a bad thing.

It was not really Machiavellian since it was out in the open but when there were layoffs having good relations with people in other departments does make it harder for them to select you to be laid off.

visualguy
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by visualguy » Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:26 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:57 pm
I think there is 1 big mistake, 1 medium mistake, and 1 small mistake that people make when planning & living out their careers.

The 1 big mistake is staying too long in the same company/industry. The longer you stay at any one company the more you learn about "how to succeed at Company X" -- which makes you very valuable at Company X but it isn't necessarily a transferrable skill. You know why systems work in a certain way, and how to navigate them. You know why historical decisions were made and why they were good for the company. And so on. So your salary at Company X might be $150,000 but your salary at any other company might only be $120,000. Because it is hard to give up that salary, people can find themselves trapped.

The 1 medium mistake is not doing enough to build up a network of acquaintances and ex-coworkers and strengthen people skills. The easiest way to get a job at another company or in another industry is if someone already working there recommends you. This often means stepping out of one's comfort zone -- talking to people on other teams, in different departments, having lunch or coffee with different people. It isn't "networking", it just "making friends".

The 1 small mistake is not keeping technical skills up to date. I rate this as a small mistake because it is the most obvious one and many people do a decent job on this. They need to keep up to date because their job or industry requires it anyway. It is hard when you've got a family, hobbies outside of work, and maybe aren't even totally in love with your chosen field any more. But if you don't spend at least some of your personal time keeping up to date then you run the risk of one day finding out the world has passed you by and you every job interview you go for says, "Oh, you've never used X in a job? Really? That's been the global standard for at least five years."
+1

Knowing people in other parts of your company and in other companies is key to getting new jobs when you reach the later stages of your career. Basically, when you run out of contacts who can help you get that next job, you run out of luck. The question is how to build and maintain this network - it's not always easy in the long run. It tends to stagnate like everything else.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by blackfish » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:25 am

badger42 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 pm
Do your best to keep up with the younger crowd. Stay in shape, keep up with the tech, and keep up with the culture and slang as much as you can. Build your network, be a mentor, but realize that you need to show yourself as culturally 'up to date' in your conversations with 23-year-olds.

Avoid being the stereotype of "old person on the internet" - make sure you know how to use current tech, you should be at least as adept as said 23-year-olds. If you can't use words like "Yeet" in the correct way, you're already falling behind.
I just turned 30 in January and have absolutely no idea what Yeet means. Under no circumstances could I use it in the correct way.

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Watty
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Watty » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:34 am

blackfish wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:25 am
badger42 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 pm
Do your best to keep up with the younger crowd. Stay in shape, keep up with the tech, and keep up with the culture and slang as much as you can. Build your network, be a mentor, but realize that you need to show yourself as culturally 'up to date' in your conversations with 23-year-olds.

Avoid being the stereotype of "old person on the internet" - make sure you know how to use current tech, you should be at least as adept as said 23-year-olds. If you can't use words like "Yeet" in the correct way, you're already falling behind.
I just turned 30 in January and have absolutely no idea what Yeet means. Under no circumstances could I use it in the correct way.
It is a apparently a millennial version on the word "groovy" from my generation, which even "back in the day" was pretty pathetic when used by anyone who was old enough to buy beer without a fake ID.

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Sandtrap
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:36 am

blackfish wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:25 am
badger42 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 pm
Do your best to keep up with the younger crowd. Stay in shape, keep up with the tech, and keep up with the culture and slang as much as you can. Build your network, be a mentor, but realize that you need to show yourself as culturally 'up to date' in your conversations with 23-year-olds.

Avoid being the stereotype of "old person on the internet" - make sure you know how to use current tech, you should be at least as adept as said 23-year-olds. If you can't use words like "Yeet" in the correct way, you're already falling behind.
I just turned 30 in January and have absolutely no idea what Yeet means. Under no circumstances could I use it in the correct way.
Seriously.
What is a yeet ??

old person on the internet
opoti
j :shock:

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JBTX
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by JBTX » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:47 am

AlohaJoe wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:57 pm
I think there is 1 big mistake, 1 medium mistake, and 1 small mistake that people make when planning & living out their careers.

The 1 big mistake is staying too long in the same company/industry. The longer you stay at any one company the more you learn about "how to succeed at Company X" -- which makes you very valuable at Company X but it isn't necessarily a transferrable skill. You know why systems work in a certain way, and how to navigate them. You know why historical decisions were made and why they were good for the company. And so on. So your salary at Company X might be $150,000 but your salary at any other company might only be $120,000. Because it is hard to give up that salary, people can find themselves trapped.

The 1 medium mistake is not doing enough to build up a network of acquaintances and ex-coworkers and strengthen people skills. The easiest way to get a job at another company or in another industry is if someone already working there recommends you. This often means stepping out of one's comfort zone -- talking to people on other teams, in different departments, having lunch or coffee with different people. It isn't "networking", it just "making friends".

The 1 small mistake is not keeping technical skills up to date. I rate this as a small mistake because it is the most obvious one and many people do a decent job on this. They need to keep up to date because their job or industry requires it anyway. It is hard when you've got a family, hobbies outside of work, and maybe aren't even totally in love with your chosen field any more. But if you don't spend at least some of your personal time keeping up to date then you run the risk of one day finding out the world has passed you by and you every job interview you go for says, "Oh, you've never used X in a job? Really? That's been the global standard for at least five years."
All great advice.

I would add keeping a laser sharp focus on what your internal and external customers value. Not just your boss, but dotted line people up the chain or maybe even out of your dotted line responsibility. What can you do to help them succeed and make their job easier. That isn't the same as what you are good at, what you like to do or what you think adds the most value. And it's OK to ask, but you probably won't get a clear answer. Often you have to observe and figure out what they value.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Atilla » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:53 am

You can get a government job and not worry about becoming irrelevant.
Moderator Warning-Free Since 2017.

KlangFool
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by KlangFool » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:02 am

OP,

I do not know. The year that I was laid off, I won multiple employee excellence awards for helping to solve multiple crucial projects across other departments.

The golden rule
He who has the gold makes the rule.

I prefer to have the money ("Gold") and financial freedom to make my employer, customer, and so on to be irrelevant. I get to choose whether to be employed or do business with someone. Many of my family members are millionaires and they achieved that.

KlangFool

Shallowpockets
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:14 am

I see a lot of worry and fear in your post. This is a limiting and driving and paralyzingly factor in your outlook. You are only 38 and you are already worried about 40s/50s/60s. Everyone will be aging up. And some will be aging out, thus making room. I guess you have to look at the demographics of your age group and see if ageism will be likely due to the numbers.
Your attitude of worry and fear seems to be an anchor for you. Perhaps a few TED talks can alleviate some of this and you can move forward from a new perspective. It certainly is worth a try. I know several people who live in anxiety and indecision and it does not apear to be a fun life when faced with challenges or change.

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tadamsmar
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by tadamsmar » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:22 am

From my reading, two things will be in demand: (1) good people skills and (2) the ability to add value to computer systems. And the latter should be interpreted very broadly, not just coders.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by jharkin » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:29 am

Watty wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:16 am
I worked in IT and one thing that helped me last until I was ready to retire was that I was always willing to try to help other people in other departments when they had problems even if it was not directly my responsibility. I was also willing to help people in the IT department informally find a bug in one of their programs without making them feel bad about it.
+1

I didn't quote the entire post for brevity sake but this strategy has also worked well for me. Banish the words" that's not in my job description" from your vocabulary. Say 'yes' and help people out with small favors whenever you can with no expectation of anything in return and you will build a strong reputation and network. I did this for many years at a company that was known as a pressure cooker layoff factory, went though more rounds of restructuring than I care to remember and never seriously feared for my job. I knew people who would preach about "not doing work they are not getting paid for" and more than once my supervisors would lecture me about boundary setting and focusing on my core deliverables... but the funny thing is they where the ones who all got laid off and I survived. We would get a new head of development every couple years who would come in and grandstand to scare the underlings but I just grinned to myself knowing in a couple years they would burn out and get replaced by the next flashy new exec, yet I and a few other key people who actually got things done would still be there keeping the lights on.

And there will come a time when its time to move on. That network of people who "owe you one" for favors will come in handy then as well. When I finally got to the point I couldn't take it anymore at the company above (at 20+ years), I decided to make a move, carefully chose a company I liked, called in some favors and got multiple referrals - and landed the first position I applied for... All based off working my network. And I'm nothing special, I dont even have a graduate degree and I'm in a field where I'm surrounded by people who have Masters and PhDs in CS, mathematics, engineering, etc. Some of those very smart people could write a deep learning system over morning coffee, but yet are struggling to find another job because they never invested the time to make friends and network.

Build that network.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by KlangFool » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:31 am

OP,

There are 4 parts that define what you are. This is the same as investing.

A) What you do

B) What you know

C) Who you know

D) Who knows you

As you get older, you are moving more from (A) to (D). But, you need to invest time and effort in (D). It does not happen by accident. (D) is equivalent to your reputation/brand.

The best book that I had read at some level about this is

"How to be a star at work" by Robert E. Kelley

It is the concept of building a professional social network.

KlangFool

pward
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by pward » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:36 am

Like most people here, I'm also going to use the assumption that you're also in the tech industry, since that is the industry most notorious for age discrimination. I think this is something we all kind of think of. At 37 I still have a ways to go before I reach that point, but here are at least a few thoughts that come to mind:

1) At 38 you're not too old to begin hyper-accumulation mode. I would look at trying to budget, cut expenses as much as possible, and try to really increase your savings/investing rates. Once you reach the wonderful world of "FU money" (meaning having enough assets to live the rest of your life if you had to) then your fear of age discrimination will go away. Realistically, even if you were starting from 0 now, if you really put your nose to the grindstone and get your savings rate up to 50% or more, then you should be able to get there in 10-15 years, still putting you young enough to not have to worry.

2) Look for opportunities for advancement. If you were a software engineer like me, that could be going down the technical path of becoming an architect, or down the management path. Both are great options, and both paths tend to value older grizzled veterans. When you're 55 it's going to be hard to compete for entry level jobs with the young energetic newbies (not just because they are young and energetic, but also because their salary requirements are so much less) but you won't have to worry about competing with them for management or architectural positions. This is the path I'm starting to walk down myself, I've already spoken to my boss and my director about this and am currently taking the recommended steps for promotion.

3) Continuing education. Make sure you stay up to date with the latest and greatest. You don't want to become too overly specialized in any one thing, as if that thing becomes obsolete, so do you.

4) Appearance. If you eat healthy, keep yourself in shape, and dress more like a younger person, you will look younger and that will prolong the period of time you have to worry about this. One of the most important things I learned in my time in the military is that appearances do matter; matter of fact, it might not be fair, but appearances are probably the single most important factor in your career. If you take care of yourself, you will look younger, and people won't start thinking of you as the old guy.

Every things free
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Every things free » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:52 am

I recently read a book about artificial intelligence. The author claimed within the next 30 years 40% of current jobs will become obsolete. Many will rightfully worry about becoming obsolete. He mentioned a greater worry. That of becoming irrelevant. When you no longer feel needed it will affect your health, willingness and zeal for life.
Stay relevant. Keep learning, contribute, be useful, have goals and hopes. Then you won't become obsolete.

Kim
You know when you are rich. You can buy anything you want but want nothing.

getthatmarshmallow
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by getthatmarshmallow » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:37 pm

visualguy wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:05 am
getthatmarshmallow wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:02 am
Mind your health, and stay fit, in addition to improving your work related skills. There's a world of difference between being 63 and passing for 50 and being 63 and looking 70.
Much of the health and appearance stuff is genetics, unfortunately.
Of course -- there are no guarantees. But if one stays at a healthy weight and avoids smoking and too much alcohol, one can make the best of one's genetic lot.

quantAndHold
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:46 pm

The biggest thing you can do is to be worth what they are paying you. As we advance in our careers, we typically make increasing amounts of money. What do you do to be worth the increasing amounts of money they pay you? Do you have technical knowledge that the younger people don’t have? Do you have business skills and experience that took years to develop? Are you better at managing people? Or are you doing the same thing as your younger peers, but collecting a larger paycheck.

As long as you have an answer to the question “what do I have to offer that makes me worth what they’re paying me?” You will be fine.

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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:54 pm

Observe.

When I was the target of Megacorp's "no old people" program, I had either been in denial or just not noticed others like me, just a bit older retiring, finding new jobs, going away. After being pushed out, I had lunch with another who had been pushed out before me, hitting a magic age and he had been in contact with at least 10 from our office of 50 who had similar stories. There was literally nothing I could have done save going to HR and bringing a forged birth certificate to make myself 10 years younger. I was a top 5% in the company performer. Didn't matter.

If you see people going, be overly curious why they left. Perhaps get in touch with them. Buy them lunch. If they left for more money, promotion, better job.....great. If they were pushed out, they'll tell you the story.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Barsoom
Posts: 210
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Barsoom » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:14 pm

justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment.
I may have a minority opinion here, but take a look at slide 26 in this JP Morgan quarterly analysis. The slide is on workforce participation. https://am.jpmorgan.com/blob-gim/138340 ... cale=en_US

There is a huge population of "boomers" who are retiring and leaving the workforce and leaving a vacuum behind. I don't know if the past perceptions of age discrimination in older workers will be the same when you reach that age, simply because the workforce is projected to be smaller and you will have an even smaller class behind you.

"Global" workforce may be more of a threat to you than "aging" workforce when you reach 50.

-B

bluquark
Posts: 854
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by bluquark » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:35 pm

Barsoom wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:14 pm
There is a huge population of "boomers" who are retiring and leaving the workforce and leaving a vacuum behind. I don't know if the past perceptions of age discrimination in older workers will be the same when you reach that age, simply because the workforce is projected to be smaller and you will have an even smaller class behind you.
That's optimistic about the ability of employers to set aside their biases because of economic incentives. I think corporations are particularly irrational when it comes to hiring and they won't let it go easily. And if you would answer that with "then the existing corporations will be disrupted by new entrants who *are* rational": I notice that disruption comes mostly from the tech industry which has the most age discrimination of them all.

As a comparison, Japan is in a similar aging population bind and for them the most obvious fix is to reduce gender discrimination. But their corporations have been extremely reluctant to change their entrenched culture, and women's labor participation remains stubbornly low.

LiterallyIronic
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by LiterallyIronic » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:41 pm

justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
I got a late-ish start to my career (started around age ~27) so I am probably not as far along financially as someone who started straight out of a decent undergrad.

I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment. I fear this will disrupt my financial projections/planning and I may come up short in retirement.
I finished my undergrad in Computer Science at age 32. I assume I'll see the same age discrimination, too. Which is why I save at a rate that will allow me to retire at 50 (assuming I average 4% annual market returns). I'm now 35, but people guess my age to be 25-28. Try to keep a youthful appearance and attitude and I think that will help.

SRenaeP
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by SRenaeP » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:52 pm

Barsoom wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:14 pm
justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment.
I may have a minority opinion here, but take a look at slide 26 in this JP Morgan quarterly analysis. The slide is on workforce participation. https://am.jpmorgan.com/blob-gim/138340 ... cale=en_US

There is a huge population of "boomers" who are retiring and leaving the workforce and leaving a vacuum behind. I don't know if the past perceptions of age discrimination in older workers will be the same when you reach that age, simply because the workforce is projected to be smaller and you will have an even smaller class behind you.

"Global" workforce may be more of a threat to you than "aging" workforce when you reach 50.

-B
I've been hearing that for literally 15+ years and it hasn't come to fruition yet. I'm not that much older than the OP and I see employees at my level and above being gently urged out the door. The last time my megacorp was going through layoffs, I was eligible for voluntary separation and I wasn't even 40 yet!

Like others have said upthread, in addition to maintaining technical skills and a good network, I think the most important thing is to secure your financial situation. While I'm not necessarily waiting for the other shoe to drop, I've prepared myself in case it does. Plan for the worst but expect the best.

Halicar
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Location: Midwest

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Halicar » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:57 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:36 am
Seriously.
What is a yeet ??

old person on the internet
opoti
It's what you say when you throw something. It was popularized by a Vine video a few years ago. According to my 12 year old son, it would be "cringy" if an adult said it.

Quirkz
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Quirkz » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:12 pm

I didn't see it in the list, but one defense may be to make sure as you age you end up at companies that seem to value older workers. Look for places where people actually make it to retirement age, and not everybody in the break room is under 30. I'm 43, and one of the youngest people on my team, and probably barely average for the IT group I'm with. Whatever problems my company might have, age discrimination clearly isn't one of them.

Barsoom
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Barsoom » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:18 pm

SRenaeP wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:52 pm
Barsoom wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:14 pm
justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment.
I may have a minority opinion here, but take a look at slide 26 in this JP Morgan quarterly analysis. The slide is on workforce participation. https://am.jpmorgan.com/blob-gim/138340 ... cale=en_US

There is a huge population of "boomers" who are retiring and leaving the workforce and leaving a vacuum behind. I don't know if the past perceptions of age discrimination in older workers will be the same when you reach that age, simply because the workforce is projected to be smaller and you will have an even smaller class behind you.

"Global" workforce may be more of a threat to you than "aging" workforce when you reach 50.

-B
I've been hearing that for literally 15+ years and it hasn't come to fruition yet. I'm not that much older than the OP and I see employees at my level and above being gently urged out the door. The last time my megacorp was going through layoffs, I was eligible for voluntary separation and I wasn't even 40 yet!

Like others have said upthread, in addition to maintaining technical skills and a good network, I think the most important thing is to secure your financial situation. While I'm not necessarily waiting for the other shoe to drop, I've prepared myself in case it does. Plan for the worst but expect the best.
Understood, but the clock is still ticking. The last of the boomers are in their early 60s now. I've seen the stories of those that are clinging to their jobs because of college-age children, but it won't be long before this bubble finally ages out.

In 20 years, employers may NEED their incumbents to stay just for the numbers.

-B

GaryA505
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Location: New Mexico

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by GaryA505 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:46 pm

As an engineer in a technical field, I've never been unemployed except for one 6 month period, and that was because I decided to take a short break after being layed off (that was at age 53, BTW).

If you do good work and people know it, you'll never be out of work.

knowledge
Posts: 203
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:44 pm

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by knowledge » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:56 pm

badger42 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 pm
Do your best to keep up with the younger crowd. Stay in shape, keep up with the tech, and keep up with the culture and slang as much as you can. Build your network, be a mentor, but realize that you need to show yourself as culturally 'up to date' in your conversations with 23-year-olds.

Avoid being the stereotype of "old person on the internet" - make sure you know how to use current tech, you should be at least as adept as said 23-year-olds. If you can't use words like "Yeet" in the correct way, you're already falling behind.
OMG, please no. Can you imagine someone 20 years your senior trying to "act" younger and it working? 1If I'm willing to hazard one broad generalization for the younger generation out there, it would be that they're the most attuned to "authenticity" out of prior generations - and not only will they cringe, they'll likely call you out for it.

What would be better would be to be a person that was respected & got along with all manners of people, while staying true to yourself.

Dottie57
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Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:04 pm

knowledge wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:56 pm
badger42 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:37 pm
Do your best to keep up with the younger crowd. Stay in shape, keep up with the tech, and keep up with the culture and slang as much as you can. Build your network, be a mentor, but realize that you need to show yourself as culturally 'up to date' in your conversations with 23-year-olds.

Avoid being the stereotype of "old person on the internet" - make sure you know how to use current tech, you should be at least as adept as said 23-year-olds. If you can't use words like "Yeet" in the correct way, you're already falling behind.
OMG, please no. Can you imagine someone 20 years your senior trying to "act" younger and it working? 1If I'm willing to hazard one broad generalization for the younger generation out there, it would be that they're the most attuned to "authenticity" out of prior generations - and not only will they cringe, they'll likely call you out for it.

What would be better would be to be a person that was respected & got along with all manners of people, while staying true to yourself.
Amen.

rich126
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by rich126 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:17 pm

justsomeguy2018 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm
I will be turning 38 years old this year. I got a late-ish start to my career (started around age ~27) so I am probably not as far along financially as someone who started straight out of a decent undergrad. Not as far along as I would like to be. I also tend to worry a lot.

My financial projections have me retiring comfortably in my mid-60s assuming no financial disasters, or decrease in employment, and after near maxing out retirement accounts.

I worry as I start to near my late 40s/50s/60s, I will face age discrimination in the workplace. I am talking about layoffs or issues finding new employment. I fear this will disrupt my financial projections/planning and I may come up short in retirement.

What should I focus on to ensure I stay relevant as I begin to become an older person in the workplace and potentially face age discrimination? Career is in marketing analytics.
I've worked off and on in the private sector as well as in the government. I think several others have given good advice.

1. Do good work. I'm constantly amazed at how people view themselves. I don't know what mirrors they look into but I'm an engineer and some of the people I work with think they are doing a good job despite marginal performance reviews, constantly needing help, unable to meet deadlines, unreliable, etc. You gotta be honest with yourself. And if you are in an area where you aren't doing well, try to find an area where you can do a good job.

2. Pay attention to the company. Most layoffs don't come out of the blue (well, they do if you ignore what is going on). For example I worked at one company where the following items were occurring: Had an all hands meeting where the manager kept stressing we needed to be more efficient; we were losing out on our proposals but management didn't think we needed to change (?). To me those were huge warning signs and you needed to update your resume and start considering job searches since less awarded work usually means less jobs. In about 6 months the layoffs came, they didn't affect me but I certainly wasn't surprised and was already planning my exit even though I was "safe". I probably could still be there but I didn't care for the morale after the layoffs and I figured I needed to work another decade or so and didn't think the company would be around that long, it wasn't a gamble I was willing to take.

3. Be careful if you work in middle management. In my experience they are the first ones let go when things go bad. They usually want to keep the people doing the hands on work, at least those doing a good job since w/o those people you don't have a product to sell and the upper management tends to protect each other.

4. Take training in your field as well as training to stretch you into new fields.

5. Try to do things that make the company more efficient and help others.

I'm in my 50s and fortunately have never been unemployed, fired, etc. and am currently looking for a new job before I retire in 4-5 years and have had a number of inquiries. I'm not saying age discrimination doesn't happen, it does but one reason older people have issues with finding jobs is that their salary expectations exceed their current job skills. If you've been programming in an out-dated programming language for 20+ years, you are going to have issues but if you've migrated to new languages or new areas (cloud, cyber security, etc.) and are competent then you should be ok.

And it is much easier to find a job when you have a job. Waiting to stay until you get laid off usually isn't a wise thing. Maybe if you got some kind of generous severance pay it is ok but even then you may be fighting a stigma of being let go.

Freefun
Posts: 525
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Freefun » Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:31 pm

Lots of good advice here (as is customary for this forum)

Kudos for being ambitious.

Consider a username like justthemostuniqueguy.
Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

2015
Posts: 2906
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by 2015 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:00 pm

KlangFool wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:02 am
OP,

I do not know. The year that I was laid off, I won multiple employee excellence awards for helping to solve multiple crucial projects across other departments.

The golden rule
He who has the gold makes the rule.

I prefer to have the money ("Gold") and financial freedom to make my employer, customer, and so on to be irrelevant. I get to choose whether to be employed or do business with someone. Many of my family members are millionaires and they achieved that.

KlangFool
KF, I always enjoy your posts because you never fail to bring The Reality Hammer with you.

OP, when I first joined the ranks of KlangFool's vaulted "Those Most Screwed While Employed", it was because of politics and politics rules supreme in organizations, particularly the higher you go up the leadership ranks. I read a book at that time which represented what Tyler Cohen refers to as "quake knowledge". Such knowledge changes one's world view on life (as opposed to say, something as silly and useless as wondering if 3% is the new 4%).

This was that book:

https://www.exploitingchaos.com/

Should you choose to read it, I'll leave it to you to decide if your view on change is changed.

User avatar
market timer
Posts: 6172
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by market timer » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:14 pm

OP, I'm about your age and have similar concerns. For me, it is not just about becoming irrelevant, but the likelihood of having more experience and a better resume than the hiring manager. The older I get, the fewer jobs I'm eligible to take. Also, I moved away from doing technical work long ago, so am really only eligible for management roles. I think it's very likely the only jobs I'll consider in a few years are running my own business or going into academia.

Currently, things are good, but I know the income picture could change any day. The hardest part is explaining to my wife why we can't live on today's income, but should consider ourselves similar to lottery winners who need to make a windfall last.

lws
Posts: 82
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Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by lws » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:23 pm

Consider continuous education
Keep up with your industry
Befriend people young as well as old people
Make being relevant one of your main goals
Keep reminding yourself of what can happen if you cease being relevant

dknightd
Posts: 1860
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2018 11:57 am

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by dknightd » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:33 pm

I think the reality is the older you get the the harder you have to work.
Then you realize it is not worth it any more. So you retire.

Cycle
Posts: 1497
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Location: Minneapolis

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by Cycle » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:29 pm

As an old millennial, I like to out millennial young millennials. Need to practice all the latest millennial practices.

No car, bike to work
Don't eat beef/pork.
Strict Paleo.
Eat once per day.
Power lift.
Save 70% of income.
Shame air travel.
Live in a dense city.

I've even noticed two of my colleagues have stopped eating lunch. Contagion.

When I'm not changing diapers, I spend my free time taking MOOCs in technical areas. I also earned an engineering master degree part time on the companies dollar a while back.
Never look back unless you are planning to go that way

stimulacra
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Location: Houston

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by stimulacra » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:46 pm

I'm a few years ahead of you so am dealing with the same issues in a more roundabout way.

Focus on your health and being the best version of you possible.

Take nothing for granted. Being complacent in your skillsets is probably the quickest way to irrelevance. Stake out fresh territory.

The most expedient way to combatting discrimination is to neutralize or sidestep stereotypes. If over the age of 40, minimize the amount of signaling you give off in regards to age. Parents in nursing homes, kids in college, keep that agita to yourself. Unfortunately this means keeping firm boundaries between life and work.

sid hartha
Posts: 153
Joined: Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:17 pm

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by sid hartha » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:26 am

You should focus on continually learning new things and mental resiliency.

cyfairslam
Posts: 22
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: How do I keep from becoming irrelevant

Post by cyfairslam » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:48 am

You will never be irrelevant.

A lot of good advice here. I would just add that you should try to have your retirement saving completely funded by age 55. I am not saying you should retire at 55 but be ready to work off and on or at a wage reduction until you are ready to retire.

I have seen too many of my friends get laid off near 55 for many reasons and not because of age. If you are competent at your job and have networked somewhat, you should be able to find some work between 55 to 65+ or whenever you wish to retire. If you continually work until you wish to retire.....walking in high cotton.

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