Ageism is a very real fear for many of the women who I coach.
Some are afraid that they’re too old to make a change in their career.
Others worry about being unemployable in the imminent future because of their age.
And these aren’t just women in their third act. Some of these women are only in their THIRTIES!
Whatever your age, instead of being worried about ageism, the bigger concern we need to focus on is the changing nature of work.
We’re shifting more towards a contract, gig economy and technology, including artificial intelligence, is rapidly changing the nature of many professions.
In light of these changes, there are two skills that will be increasingly important: empathy and critical thinking.
A 2018 Accenture study supports this notion. The study found that for almost every single role in the future, a combination of complex reasoning, creativity, socio-emotional intelligence and sensory perception skills are critical for success.
The study also found that today’s education and training systems are ill-equipped to build these skills.
That’s because these are the type of skills that are acquired from experience and practice, usually over many years.
This bodes well for older, experienced workers (and even for you younger workers in your thirties).
You’re in an excellent position to leverage the wisdom and learnings you’ve acquired over you career.
You can use your experiences – the successes and the failures – as a framework from which to make decisions and to help you better understand other people’s motivations and behaviors.
I see some women doing this very well.
The have high emotional intelligence, exceptional communication skills, sound judgment and are extremely adaptable.
I also see some women who struggle with this.
When you struggle in this area, you may misread situations or people. And this can lead to contention, passive aggressive behavior and arguments.
Or you may find yourself marginalized or sidelined from the action at work. Your colleagues may feel it’s easier to move forward without you rather than include you in the decision-making.
These situations SUCK.
The good news is that it IS possible to work on these softer skills.
You can become a stronger communicator and more empathetic.
You can get better at reading other people and situations so you can understand what drives them.
You can learn how to think more critically and improve how you make decisions.
But you won’t be able to learn this from a traditional training or leadership development program.
This type of transformation requires a different approach.
I support women in strengthening these softer skills all the time.
If this is an area where you can use some support, send me a message and we can work to customize a program to meet your needs.
You’re not too old.
You’re not doomed to be marginalized or misunderstood.
You CAN build the empathy and critical thinking skills to help you rock the future of work.