Are you a baby boomer and believe you’ve been discriminated against because of your age? Chances are you’re right.
Ageism – discrimination in the workplace based on age – is rampant in America in nearly every sector. Google the term and you’ll see more than 100,000 search results.
The term, ageism, is a term originated by Robert Butler, founder of the National Institute on Aging in 1969. His goal was to eliminate the policies and practices that enable ageism.
In fact, almost 25 percent of all claims filed by workers with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, eeoc.gov) deal with age-based discrimination.
Although as a law more than 50 years old, ageism is still occurring despite the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) passed in 1967. But the ADEA’s birthday not celebrated universally.
The ADEA was designed to protect all applicants and workers who are 40 years of age or older from discrimination.
Provisions include compensation, hiring, promotion, termination and other conditions or privileges of employment.
In 2018, the EEOC issued a disturbing report:
“Despite decades of research finding that age does not predict ability or performance, employers often fall back on precisely the ageist stereotypes the ADEA was enacted to prohibit. After 50 years of a federal law whose purpose is to promote the employment of older workers based on ability, age discrimination remains too common and too accepted.”
Many seniors want to turn to courts for relief. However, there’s a prerequisite. They learn they must file a complaint with the EEOC before to court. The EEOC often acts in their behalf.
If you have been victimized by ageism, you can take legal action. But it’s a time-consuming, gut-wrenching process.
Here are four positive options:
- Get a mentor
People don’t have to be alone in making career decisions. No matter what you do for a living, there’s one investment on which you can count to improve your career. Plus, it won’t cost you any money. With a mentor you won’t be alone in making career decisions.
- If you’re still employed, learn to deal with ageism in your job
Many boomers are saddled with a boss who is a young, less-experienced Millenial. That can be hard to take but it doesn’t have to be. See: 6 Tips for Baby Boomers to Cope with a Younger Boss.
Plus, for more on dealing with bosses, click on these links:
- Start your own business
Ordinarily, it makes good sense to have business experience before launching a company. Entrepreneurs have to understand what it really means to manage their money, time and employees.
Also, learn about cash flow and basic finance. Budget planning is imperative for maximizing performance.
This includes understanding accounting / finance – why and how to determine the break-even point to be successful.
For startups, there are questions about getting the work done before hiring, and how to quit your job before starting a business. So avoid growing pains in your startup.
For blockbuster publicity, use the best practice in free marketing — public relations with great press releases – see: How You Can Leverage the News Media to Brand your Business.
Newsjacking – the art and science of obtaining mountains of free media coverage and social-media spin by getting your content injected into late-breaking news stories – read : How to Newsjack for Publicity of Your Content Marketing.
- Turn your passion or volunteer work into a paid position as head of a nonprofit
You can launch a nonprofit even if you don’t have experience.
Approach your local bar association to get a pro-bono lawyer, who is experienced in forming nonprofits. In every state, there are attorneys who volunteer their expertise for good causes.
In order to start a successful tax-exempt nonprofit, be aware you’ll be launching a complex organization and you must first realize two salient things. It has to be operated in a businesslike fashion, and you’ll encounter fierce competition for money – See: Checklist for Launching a Successful Nonprofit 501(c)(3).
Consider crowdfunding. If you’re a women, that’s even better. You might be surprised to learn that women are more successful in raising funds from crowdfunding than men.
Use social media to request money for her nonprofit. For example, social media has leveled the playing field for small nonprofits competing with large nonprofits in looking for dollars. Read how: Social Media Tips for Nonprofits to Capture Fundraising Dollars.
From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more advice I’ve given to entrepreneurial readers of The New York Times: “Been There… Done That… Here’s How – New York Times.”
When The New York Times invited its readers to submit questions to me, it published my solutions: “Advice on Taking an Entrepreneurial Leap – New York Times.”
“Now that I’ve experienced ageism, I don’t regard it as a bad thing. It’s been a transition to something more exciting and maybe edgier.”