I am over 40. So a recent study of how it is difficult for workers in Silicon Valley, who are over 40, caught my attention. Were others given preferential treatment because of my age? Frankly, I haven't yet noticed. The article is worrying. The concern stems from fear. Will anyone need my expertise? Will I be able to run as fast as the others? Will I have to compromise on my principles?
There are different schools of thought regarding what happens after 40. One of them says about your life restarts. As far as I am concerned, I did not press the reset switch. Neither did anyone. There were two occasions in my life where my age was mentioned. During a high-pressure project execution, I was trying to do many things at a time. The wins were few and insignificant while the losses were noticeable and damaging. As I had walked reluctantly into the fifth decade of existence, a friend remarked. "He just turned 40. He is grappling with the existential crisis". I panicked on hearing it and quickly decided to forget about the statement. The other instance was during a heated discussion when a friend decided to throw in the age factor. The friend advised me to plan for retirement as my employable days are over. Of course, it felt harsher and crueler than I could sum up in words.
With increasing life spans and escalating costs, I often wonder if it is ever possible to retire. Some people are smart enough to create something with their intelligence and retire to a peaceful life. But what about the rest of us? When I was in my mid-thirties, a team member was astonished to find that I knew about Yahoo Messenger. When you work with a young team, there is a sudden hush when one enters a room. So I can easily understand why people want to stay younger with the help of plastic surgery. It is a sad situation but totally understandable. I for one cannot throw a stone because I color my hair. It might not be plastic surgery, but I am still covering up the reality. It still does not answer my question. What do I do if everyone else still thinks I am too old to do any job? Will my confidence of accomplishing the impossible and possessing a sharp mind good enough to go on?
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