Pro Tip: avoid sounding like a geezer when complaining to me about my age discrimination article

My article today “Youth is the symptom, not the cause, of age discrimination” elicited a big response from our audience. One e-mailer demonstrated the wrong tack to take:

Subject: Age is a Mindset Article

How is an article like this supposed to help already stressed out older workers? And you are stating that 52 is old in the minds of recruiters? I am 66 years old, was a School Psychologist, and am looking for work. I am very sickened by these types of attitudes and articles; and by the way, there is something you can do about it. Older workers generally get along better with their co-workers because they do not spend so much time tweeting rather than real relationship building with other real people. Who in the world would want to work for a company that doesnt respect face to face and phone communication skills, writing and research ability without having to resort to “spellcheck”, etc.

Sincerely,
Nancy

I responded:

“Hi Nancy -

The article is designed to help stressed-out older workers by giving them relatively easy steps to overcome mindset discrimination. Writing angry emails to the author is emblematic of the “not invented here” attitude that younger hiring mangers fear in an older worker.

I would’ve recommended that you start with a proper intro such as “Dear Marc”, provided one or two nice thoughts about what you liked about the article, or at least acknowledged that the author was trying to be a positive force for change, before introducing your criticisms. I would’ve also avoided the run-on sentences and would’ve properly punctuated your final question.

Presenting yourself as a “criticize first” personality in today’s marketplace will not help you land your next great gig.

Hope that feedback helps — good luck with your search.

Best / Marc”

Folks, there are enough things going against you when you’re over 52 in the US labor market. You need to realize that this approach of talking down your nose to others isn’t helping you get where you want to go, and could accidentally allow others to misperceive you as a ‘geezer’. And you need to avoid that if you want to land your next great role.

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