1)Do you think age matters at the work place?

2)Do you think your company discriminates against age?

3)Do you think we can learn from the young just as much from the old?


1)What is happening in this picture?

2)Do you agree this is a on-going issue as we age?

3)How can we prevent this from happening?

Article Highlights

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Productivity is the virtue that all business managers seek from current working employees and potential future hires. It is the ability to create ever-increasing value well more than that cost of that talent. In our digital age, people are recognizing that there is a cost for the 24/7, always-on approach to business and life. Many report being distracted from key duties, yearning for time to think and plan and finding that they lack the ability to stay on task long enough to be effective. Although this epidemic of distraction is rife throughout society, older workers have a strong potential to resist the temptation and, as such, can present themselves as strong job candidates for many positions.

This appeal to old-school practices, like keeping work and home life separate, not succumbing to time-stealing social media addictions and simply knowing what is important and what is not to a given mission are critical attributes associated with older workers. Of course, older job candidates must be careful because one of the stereotypes that some harbor about them is that they "do not get it" with regard to technology. As Curt Steinhorst, the author of "Can I Have Your Attention?" puts it, "Older job candidates must be careful not to come across as tech illiterate or out of date while at the same time emphasizing their perspective that personal social media and internet surfing is reserved for out of the office. By hiring them, you get someone who understands what it means to work."

Being Present

How many job interviews are interrupted by the candidate's cellphone buzzing or sounding off every few minutes with a ringtone that seemed funny when acquired but is entirely inappropriate for an office setting? Turn off all devices and make sure that you are focused on your interviewer with good eye contact and confident body language. Come into an interview up to date on the general news of the day and prepared to make small talk that shows you live in the real world. By giving undivided attention to the interviewer while remaining fully aware of one's surroundings, the candidate will communicate that he or she will be similarly focused on the work task required by the job.

Staying on Point

Most of us are guilty of running on and on every once in a while during a business conversation. A skilled job seeker will know enough about the position to have a focused elevator pitch on why they are a fit. Like a politician who answers, "strong defense, low taxes and better education" no matter what the question, a job seeker needs to know the product he or she is "selling" inside and out. That degree of focus will highlight the strengths of the candidate while minimizing any deficiencies. Savvy employers know that a candidate who stays focused in the job search process will likely remain so on the job.

Communications Follow-Up

Older workers may remember the day when follow-up thank-you notes were sent by hand and phone calls were made without appointments. They should not feel intimidated because they do not feel comfortable with Snapchat or some other trendy communications platform. Indeed, older communication approaches can actually call attention in a positive way. Whereas the near immediacy of a specific and focused follow-up email is always appropriate, an old-school handwritten note, phone call or voicemail can break right through the clutter.

It is an accurate cliche that our world is moving at ever-increasing speed. Businesses are conceived, grow and even die at a rate inconceivable a generation ago. Yet, anthropologically, humans have not evolved as quickly. There are still limits to the number of work hours in a day and the capacity of each worker to contribute meaningfully to joint goals. This is why the concept of focus is gaining such interest from managers and other leaders. As Steinhorst says, "When we understand the problem is about focus – and not productivity or even distraction in and of itself – we can begin to change our decision-making around how we structure every aspect of our businesses. Does this technology solution promote focus or interruption for employees? Am I establishing clear boundaries for my employees so they can be fully present at work and at home? What skills do I need to prioritize in hiring and training to make up for the consequences of constant connectivity?"

In other words, we are coming full circle to understand that certain behaviors and habits of older workers that some have dismissed as old-fashioned are keys to future success. Multitasking leads to scattered thinking and substandard outcomes. Today's organizations need better outcomes, and older workers are well-prepared to deliver them.


  1. Do you agree with the takeaways of this article?
  2. Do you agree that the older generation are just as beneficial in the work place?
  3. Why would you want to hire an older person over a younger one?
  4. When job security was more common, salaries climbed as you age. This is no longer true now. What do you think?
  5. When you started to look for a job after school, did you struggle due to lack of experience?
  6. Why is job hunting so difficult at any point of your life?
  7. Do you feel young people are not present and on point during meetings?
  8. How do we improve people’s communication such as presence, follow up, staying on point?