Q: I have followed your column for years, for your job search advice, and for your emphasis on assuming a salesperson's mindset. I have been in sales for well over 50 years, and while I don't have a question for you today, I do have a message for your readers who are 45 years young and up — and convinced that they are "over the hill."
For three years after my 70th birthday, I was pursued and recruited by a retailer in competition with my employer. I didn't accept the offers, but I appreciated that the competition was interested in me because of my reputation and track record, and never questioned my age.
I try to stay youthful, physically and mentally, and I always try to remain relevant in work in respect to dress, culture, trends, and remember that young managers have got to learn from their own experiences, not mine. If I wear my age and experience on my sleeve, it works against me. I have got to stay focused on what my role is in today's workplace, and sometimes keep my mouth shut when I see things happening that I have seen fail in the past. If young managers ask for my opinion, or my experience, we can work together, but in the meantime, I do my job.
Two days after my 77th birthday, my employer asked me to take on a new responsibility in addition to my position in sales — to conduct a customer service training program for new hires. I accepted and look forward to the assignment.
As you say, sell your strengths and skills. Keep active, keep informed, keep relevant and, if you wish, keep working! — R.W. in North Carolina
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. It is a great lesson for all. Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if all employers in every industry would accept people for what they are capable of contributing?
We do not live in a perfect world with a perfect workplace, but I agree with you that we should focus on the present, keep ourselves physically and mentally fit and youthful, and stay relevant in every aspect.
Believe in your abilities, sell your strengths and experiences, and do what others fail to do!
Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach based in Birmingham, Ala. For contact information, see marvin-walberg.com.