Re: Career Change

Subject: Re: Career Change
From: Fred Sampson <fred -at- fredsampson -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2001 12:57:09 -0800

I wasn't quite as old as Tony when I changed careers to tech writing, but I was close enough. And age discrimination is definitely out there. At one point a friend recommended that I have my hair dyed to reduce the gray, and I actually did that once-- and never again. The company that hired me at that point could not have cared less about my age. And, as obvious as it may seem, the companies that have hired me despite the gray hair have been great places to work.

My unscientific observation is that the employers who care about age want employees who will work all night every night for stock options--attributes that count for less now than a year or two ago. Those who don't mind hiring an older worker have the broader perspective, and look at skills, experience, stability, and an interest in learning new things. Just show them that you're not a fossil.


Joanne Grey wrote:

I have found that the age discrimination is much more prevalent
among programmers and engineers. In my experience, older writers
are sometimes welcomed as the voice of experience.

And Bruce wrote:

But I've seen it a few times, and I agree that it's often much stronger among developers. In fact, that's why I think it may be more of a factor in startups and small companies. These companies often include developers as founders, and, even when they don't, developers are often disproportionately represented, simply because a company needs products before it worries about marketing them. Also, many newer companies hire twentysomethings because they'll work more cheaply. By contrast, older and larger companies have more diverse employees, so age tends to matter less to them.

Fred Sampson
Technical Writer
fred -at- fredsampson -dot- com

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