Over the weekend, Serena Williams won her 6th Wimbledon title at the ripe age of 33 years old. In the past, most women would be retired by now and if not, they certainly wouldn’t be ranked as WTA’s #1 player. If she can win the US Open later this year, she would be the first person since 1988 to have won all Grand Slam events in a calendar year.
In our culture where being young is everything and ageism is not considered discrimination by most, Serena’s victory not only displays her domination in tennis, but also shows how ridiculous ageism is in general. 40 is the new 30; 50 is the new 40, and on and on. You get the picture. We have these sayings because we are so much more than our age. And, being 40 is not quite the same as when our grandmothers turned 40. Life isn’t over at a predetermined age. There are 70 year old weightlifters after all.
So, why can’t this translate to the workforce? Must we be put out to pasture when we turn 40 or 50? Don’t we still have something to offer the young’uns? Heck yeah we do. Now, I’m not talking about those older workers who don’t want to change, learn new technology, or get with the times. But, there are plenty of older workers who are capable of blending new trends with acquired wisdom from past experiences. I think we need these older workers to have an organization that is about more than flash and no substance. Let’s have flash with substance. Let’s be sexy cool with intelligence.
And, this isn’t just happening in my workplace. I’ve spoken with friends in very different fields and they all express a similar phenomenon. It’s not always what works best for the customer or patient. It’s sometimes about having the latest gadget whether you or your customer/patient need it or not. It’s about what will impress the boss. But, can we impress the boss while serving our clientele best which may mean using a tried and tested method blended with a new trend?
Is this just happening to me and my friends? Any ageism or flashism or your job? (Yeah, I just made up the word: flashism.)