INSIDE EVERY OLD PERSON IS A YOUNG PERSON WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED
Ageing is something we all face. At nearly 44 I'm in throws of proper middle age and all that comes with it. The "all" of which I speak is mostly unpleasant and it's only once you reach a 'certain' age do you realise it. I encounter a weird kind of ageism in my job quite often, where people assume I am much younger and therefore often dismiss my opinions and thoughts, not realising that the decisions I make are actually based on many years experience. It's made me a much more forceful person but it's annoying I have to continually explain to people I have 20 years experience in my job.
But ageism can be far more destructive. It's the 'ism' that isn't spoken about as much as all the others but it is no less devastating. In fashion we all know age is frowned upon (well, you can frown upon it as long as you get Botox afterwards), especially if you're a woman, but western society in general places absolutely no value in older people.
This has really been brought home recently when Prince B got made redundant last year at 53 years old. Prince B, aside from being the photographer behind my outfit shots, has also got an impressive work CV yet, nearly a year down the line, he's still out of work. No matter what jobs he's applied, and there have been nearly 200, he rarely gets an interview. It's devastating as Prince B loves working and thrives on stress! It's also devastating for us a couple too as I make money freelancing but not enough to keep two people. We felt powerless to battle the ageism that was clearly taking place. Had he been 25 he'd have been snapped up.
I don't have much in my arsenal to help him other than design, writing and blogging skills. So I decided to put them to use. Even though he doesn't work in the creative industries, I decided he needed a web presence where we could put his CV but also directly address the age issue and all the assumptions which revolve around those in their 40's and beyond.
We started a little campaign called Age Is More Than Just A Number. We gently try to remind employers that with age comes a vast array of wonderful, valuable attrributes.
We're hoping that by tackling the misconceptions about older workers on his website at least one employer will reconsider dismissing an older candidate. Will it get Prince B a job? Who knows, but even if it doesn't we are both up to the challenge of tackling ageism head on!