In this time where the current NBA MVP was born the same year the A-Team ended, college dropouts are billionaires, and successful, qualified 40-50 year-olds are unemployed or underemployed, this 27 year-old (aka ME) is having a hard time understanding where I should be in my career and what I should be doing.
Can I really be this woman with a well-paying management position six years from now or would companies see me as being "too young"? That got me thinking about other 20-somethings in my shoes.
Should degrees matter as much as they do? Is this structure of "advanced degrees = more money" the correct structure to promote in a time where college costs are rising and people aren't putting an emphasis on education as much as they should be? I know people with masters and doctorates degrees that are not doing as great of a job as one should expect. In the meantime, there are passionate, innovative, and extremely talented young people who are constantly being looked over because they do not have enough years under their belt or letters after their name. Age discrimination?
Unfortunately, age discrimination doesn't work for those under 40...
I understand that there are certain skills and competencies that can only be acquired through experience but can't there be a way to recognize a talented, employable individual standing in the front office with a nice suit, youthful glow, and a brain more powerful than any computer in the building? Don't even get me started on how companies undervalue our young Military Veterans!"Age discrimination involves treating someone (an applicant or employee) less favorably because of his age.The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. It does not protect workers under the age of 40, although some states do have laws that protect younger workers from age discrimination.
- US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/age.cfm) 10:35 PM EDT March 27, 2012
Companies, here's an idea, if you aren't doing this already; provide these young individuals a mentor (current staff) to build the skills and competencies you see necessary to do the work! Your company will actually do some succession planning (ensuring the future of your company) AND will benefit from the technological skills, youthful energy, and innovative minds of the younger generation (not saying that the older generations don't have those skills...). Plus, you'll be investing in the future instead of pretending to be.
Is society's demographics, talents, education, and technological competency not matching up to the traditional "I've-been-here-for-25-years-and-I-deserve-that-management-position" mentality of yesterday?
Until the current culture of employment and career mobility changes, I think that there will be more and more frustrated, talented, educated, innovative, hard working, passionate, young adults (Vets and Non-Vets) walking around feeling as if they are unemployable AND companies continuing to be frustrated, understaffed/poorly staffed, and struggling thinking that there just aren't people qualified for their positions.