I’m pretty sure we’ve all lied about our age at some point in our lives. Maybe to get into a movie certified with an ‘A’ or a club, consuming alcohol or even wanting to drive!
When speaking about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), it is important to not only include race, culture and gender but age as well. Ageism has sadly been the by-product of the social construct of age, and it is now strongly prevalent in many organizations.
American comedy-drama series Younger, uses Ageism in the corporate world as its central theme. This series follows Liza, a 40 year old mother’s journey back into the workforce. After repeated rejection from several organizations due to her age and her decision to take a break from work life to raise her daughter, Liza realizes her only real way back into the workforce is to pretend to be a 20 something by putting highlights in her hair and buying herself a ‘younger’ wardrobe. Surprisingly managing to pull this off, she lands a job at a prestigious publishing house. With her years of experience and wisdom that only come with age (unbeknownst to her employers) Liza manages to impress her superiors and receive promotions.
The real issue here is Age. Do we all have a professional timeline that is expiring soon? And what happens if they’ve expired and we haven’t accomplished what we’ve wanted?
A clear understanding is the only way to beat ageism in the corporate world. If the worry of organisations is that since technology updates itself everyday and the candidate applying for the position won’t be equipped with the knowledge to take on the role, then Reverse Mentorship programmes can be seen as a resolution. However candidates applying after a break from the corporate world must come with a willingness to learn.
Women who have taken a break from work to manage their households, now have new skill sets. Multitasking, patience and diplomacy being some of them and these are skills extremely useful in the corporate world. We cannot discount the courage it takes to make the decision of getting back in the field. Instead of denying them a position, using their newly honed skills to the benefit of your organisation may work out in ways you hadn’t even anticipated.
Coming back to Younger, the series is hilarious with the drama that ensues because of Liza’s ‘lie’. This show gives us something to think about the next time we dissuade someone from applying for a position based on their age or a gap in their resume and is also a good way to indulge in some good old binge watching!
Serein Inc is an end to end service partner for the implementation of gender awareness, diversity, inclusion and Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) legal compliance. We partner with companies on case redressal and policies to proactively build an inclusive and safer work cultures and diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias trainings face-to-face or virtually. For more details on diversity, inclusion and prevention of sexual harassment (POSH )training (in India, South East Asia and the US) reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org