Field Notes About Ageism
Field notes about ageism from your image consultant: Claim the ownership of your own image and turn your age into a competitive advantage rather than a liability.
Ageism means stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. In many countries people are protected by law against discrimination by age, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, disabilities etc.
Sadly there are sneaky ways to go around the law. Discrimination at workplace and during hiring process can be difficult and time consuming to prove.
Global studies show that especially women are facing persistent age discrimination at the workplace as they get older. This Financial Times article from December 2018 quotes Professor Lynda Gratton:
“Ageism at work began at 40 for women and 45 for men”– Professor Lynda Gratton, co-author of “The 100 Year Life: Living and Work in an Age of Longevity”
Field Notes About Ageism: Do We Have An Expiration Date?
A wonderful line of spectacular women who I am proud to call my friends, clients and business partners are now +40. You might be the same age, or approaching it wondering what will change.
For me it feels impossible to imagine that these amazing, witty, multi-talented, highly educated and very experienced women are approaching, or actually already past, a point in their life where they are no longer considered valuable, desirable or worth investing in.
I am sad to acknowledge that ageism is a real problem for women, and men too, in the workplace. Empowering women over (and below!) a certain age, mothers, ethnic minorities is an absolute must in order to prep your business for the new era.
Women have never been more capable than they are today. Reducing them to a product with an expiry date is just an utter waste of fabulous resources.
My job as an image consultant is to help you to be the best possible version of yourself at all ages and in any situation.
Confidence Over Botox
My clients often ask for a fresher, younger and more dynamic look. They have come to the right address because I love to create strong signature looks that work for them.
You too can achieve this with me. I consider your body unique shape, your naturally radiant colors, your lifestyle and style preferences. I won’t make you look like someone else, I promise that!
My approach is kind of an anti-thesis to the current youth-admiring status quo that forces people in a mold where they don’t necessarily feel comfortable in.
I am myself unapologetic about my age: I am turning 44 later this year and won’t keep it a secret. My life has been great and I have learned a lot over the years, especially after starting my own business in 2015. This kind of confidence makes me look better than Botox!
Work On Your Personal Brand
I always advice to be open and honest about your age, just as you would be honest about your skills. Think about you the courses you have taken, seminars and conferences you have attended, things that interest you so much that you find yourself wanting to read more and more about the topic.
These are all great assets to have and you may have not have had them when you were 20. Certainly you didn’t know then everything that you know today. Every year you are more wiser and more experienced. Keep yourself up to date on what’s going on in the world and in your industry.
Stay curious and keep that spark going on. Strive to educate yourself regularly by taking courses and attending workshops. Try to meet new people outside of your immediate circles by attending networking events and meetups.
As a result of your continuously increasing experience and life-long learning you are an improved version of yourself today. This is the image you want to show to the outer world regardless of your age.
Work On Your Digital Presence
Your digital presence consists of all your social media profiles, your website, all photos of you that have ever been posted online and everything you have ever written or that has been written about you on online.
Managing it all in a cool way can feel like a daunting task but luckily we have been blessed with a myriad of easy-to-use tools that put us right on the edge of the latest technology without actually being incredibly tech savvy.
Use your online presence in your advantage and success. Utilize the best of all features that your relevant social media platforms offer. Many of these features are available for free or at low cost.
Have a professional business head shot taken for your socials or play around with your phone for a nice DIY profile photo.
Work On Your Personal Style
Regarding your personal style, allow yourself to live a little of your dreams. If you love a certain style or item, go for it. Life is too short to think if you can pull it off. If it makes you heart skip a beat, it’s probably the right item for you.
Add in your wardrobe a couple of statement items that are a logical part of your narrative. These can also be accessories. I find that less is often more and you don’t need to change a lot to make a big impact.
I give style advice based on body shapes and best colors. Very often I notice that women already know what suits them. They just unsure on how to incorporate it in their every day life.
Many clients also ask if they can wear certain items past a certain age. REPEAT AFTER ME: We wear what we love to wear. Increased confidence is one of the best things about aging and it’s the key to your natural charisma.
That is what people will initially find the most fascinating about you. Your age is really just a number, and the world is about to see what you are made of. You just need to step up and claim the ownership of your personal image.
I would also like to encourage you to educate the people around you to wake up and see what is going on. Help your friends and peers to learn about their rights. The more people know about their rights, the better for everyone.
Stand up for those who are being discriminated. Be a catalyst for change in your organization. You can start by sharing these field notes about ageism with your peers.
Educate also people above you to learn the value of a diverse workplace because everyone will profit of this in a long run, including yourself. Buy from companies that are actively driving change by recruiting people of all ages.
Give positive feedback and share their success stories in social media. One easy way to start is to share this article and see what kind of discussion it will spark.
Read some other really great ideas on keeping your personal brand up to date and challenging the status quo in this Forbes article: “Age Discrimination And Women In The Workplace: How To Avoid Getting Pushed Out”
In the end of the day, age is just a number. What YOU make out of it counts more than anything else. I am delighted to help you to navigate this transformation with ease. You don’t have to do it all alone.
I hope you found this article helpful and encouraging. I would also like to hear from your experiences and views on ageism. Together we can make a better world!
This article was originally published on 20th March 2016 and updated on 27th August 2020 with a better structure and new cover photo.