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Watch for Signs You Could Be Aging Out of Your Job

Watch for Signs You Could Be Aging Out of Your Job

By Aaron Grossman, Monster Contributing Writer

Are you beginning to pick up signs in the workplace or on job interviews that your industry has changed and left you behind? The signs may be subtle or direct, but the reality could be that you are aging out of your job.      

Now, more than ever, it is important to understand how such communications may be transmitted so you can identify if you are at risk of aging out of your work. With this insight, you may be able to take action to protect yourself and your livelihood. Here are signs to watch for:

What Is Going on Around You?

Sometimes, organizations change -- that is a normal part of business. And while aging out is not necessarily age discrimination, some changes in your workplace or industry could lead to you being left behind in part because of your age.  

  • Demographics: Are younger,less-tenured employees being promoted ahead of you? This is a not-so-subtle sign that you are deliberately being passed over
  • Skill Sets: Has the entire division and/or company changed underneath or around you? If the company is using newer terminology you don’t use or you feel you’ve resisted technological changes that your company has instituted, this could add to your feelings of separation in the workplace. You inadvertently could be working your skills into obsolescence. 
  • At the Interview: A shallow exchange between you and the interviewer could indicate you should cut your losses, as the employer may have already made some assumptions about your hireability based on how old you look. This is a very disturbing signal. Either the recruiter or hiring manger felt obligated to interview you or was just going through the motions after already deciding you’re the wrong candidate.
Five Aging-Out Messages

When a current or potential employer uses one of the following five phrases, it could mean you’ve crested the wave in their minds:

1. ‘You’ve Been Here So Long’

If someone has actually uttered this comment in an annual review, after a meeting or casually over lunch, it could be a signal the speaker thinks you’re aging out of your position. Gayle Parker, director of Aegis Consulting, says that these kinds of remarks may be signs your tenure at the company has outlived its usefulness. Consider whether to follow up with the employee who said this and/or if it’s time to pursue outside opportunities.

2. The Position Is ‘Very Stressful’

If a supervisor describes a potential new position for you in this manner, he may really be saying that the job requires more energy or output than he’s used to seeing from you these days.

3. ‘You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks’

This means that your boss believes the company is involved in doing things you don’t know about or don’t understand, or that the language used to talk about your business has changed.

4. ‘You’re Overqualified’ or ‘You Have More Experience Than We Require”

If your years of experience only yield that you have years working in the field, you may not be offering the value today’s employers are seeking. Erika Weinstein, president and cofounder of Stephen-Bradford Search, says that senior-suite positions now require a demonstrated ability to impact the bottom line. This means job seekers and employees need to show the results of the work they’ve done.

5. ‘We’re Looking for Someone with a Fresh Approach’

This can be job interviewer code that your resume and profile are just too outdated for the job requirements. Rethink how to market your contributions you made while in your last position. Remember to emphasize how your efforts impacted the company’s mission or bottom line.

What Can You Do If You Think You Might Be Aging Out?

Before someone tells you that you’ve aged out, you have to recognize the signs yourself and do something about it. “The problems are different today and every solution is inherently different too,” says Parker.

Think about retraining and staying up-to-date on the trends and practices in your industry and affecting your company. And don’t be afraid of education at any age if it makes sense for you and your career.

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