Age gives you an edge in the workplace. Here’s how.

60 is the new 30, says Melanie Katzman. Embrace your age and the benefits that come with it.

MELANIE KATZMAN: 60 is the new 30. At least that's what I'm claiming in my chapter on embracing aging. When I started this book tour I was advised to tell people that I had 20-plus years of experience. If I said I had 30, which is really what I have, I might be seen as out of touch—too old to be relevant. And that really bothered me. I'm just getting started. I feel like I'm in my prime. I've got the connections, the information, the experience and the desire to be generous. Research shows us that generativity flows downhill. As people age they're able to see patterns in a broader way. They're more motivated to leave their legacy and to help those people who are coming up behind them. So rather than deny our age I encourage people to embrace it and to embrace the opportunity to work across generations. The people who are in positions of influence can and often will push the limits of the status quo. So that people that are coming up into an organization they're going to want to see how they can make a difference, so let's get people on both ends of the age spectrum working together. New recruits and aging boomers can really change the world together but we have to not be afraid of stating our age, particularly if you're like me. I'm 30-plus years of experience.

Let me bust a myth. We do not necessarily become more closed-minded as we age. In fact, often with age we become more confident and better able to see patterns that previously we were either too uptight or anxious to recognize. So rather than writing off your great aunt or the gray-haired person who's sitting in the corner office, approach them. Have a conversation and recognize that there's a really good chance that they are in a position because biologically they are becoming more and more wired to think broadly, not get caught up in the specifics and recognize the grand patterns that ultimately may help you find the solutions to difficult problems.

  • Melanie Katzman has 30 years of experience in her field, yet was advised to tell people she had just 20 years of experience so she wouldn't seem too out of touch.
  • Katzman strongly disagrees with that assessment of age in the workplace. Rather than see it as a liability, older professionals should embrace their age and experience. They can see patterns more broadly, plus they have deep network connections, information, and the desire to be generous.
  • "Research shows us that generativity flows downhill," says Katzman. "... New recruits and aging boomers can really change the world together but we have to not be afraid of stating our age."


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