What if Someone Younger Takes My Job?

When today’s companies need to cut costs, many look to replace aging workers with younger staff. Younger workers will do the same job for lower pay, and they may work longer hours to prove their value. But what if you feel you’ve already proved your value? Sixty-four percent of workers say they’ve seen or experienced ageism in the workplace1. This is the modern preference of fresh talent over experienced and skilled staff. But you’ve worked many years to gain that critical experience. So the question is: what can you do about it?

First, remind them how valuable you are. Showcase your skills by offering assistance where you see it needed. Wouldn’t you rather be seen as the irreplaceable, wise sage of the office rather than an outdated burden? Make sure your company sees you as an asset they can’t afford to lose. Because many companies automatically see age as a demerit rather than a benefit, it’s vital that you actively work against this bias. A Deloitte survey of 10,000 companies revealed that over two thirds of the companies believed age to be a competitive disadvantage rather than a competitive advantage.2 This reminds us how we must actively work against these biases. Don’t be afraid to prove them wrong. Assert yourself in company meetings, take on a mentoring role for new staff, or find a way to go above and beyond in a way that showcases your value. And if you’re still unsure of the best ways to do this, read on. You can learn how to give yourself a competitive edge above the new bucks. It starts with reminding them how invaluable you already are. 

Second, keep on learning. Take a close look at your current knowledge and skillset, and identify what is lacking. If your company needs social media content and technological savvy, take time to learn. Find out what the long-term goals of your company are, and evolve with your company. Prove your capacity for growth, and you can hold your place in any growing company.

Third, don’t forget about the social side of work. Reflect on how well you get along with members of your team and how much you try to connect with them. According to the Wall Street Journal, likeability is critical to workplace success and career longevity. Likable people are “more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven”.3 So how does one ‘get more likeable’? Well, focus on careful listening, building common ground with colleagues, and being warm and engaged in social interactions. Spend time connecting with the people you work with, and take genuine interest in their lives. Trust that this is not peripheral to a successful career; the evidence shows that if your colleagues value your presence, your company is much more likely to value your work.

So, all of these things are within your power to change, and it’s never too late to try building these skills.  But inevitably there are things we cannot control. So, how do we hope for the best while also planning for the worst? That’s where the advisors at RGA can help. Ask yourself if you have a solid plan in place if you were to lose your job tomorrow. Walk yourself through the steps of what would happen and where your money would come from. Are you sure your current retirement plan would provide you with enough income to live on? Have you considered what an early retirement would mean for you and your family? Do you understand what tax penalties, fees, and fine print affect you?

If going through these questions is overwhelming, it may be worth your time to arrange your first consultation with RGA. We’ve made the first meeting free of charge so you feel no pressure to work with us and can make sure we can achieve what you want. So let me ask you one final question. Considering all the unknowns in life, wouldn’t you rather take control of as much as you can with a trusted advisor by your side? Schedule your consultation today.

SOURCES
  1. AARP Bulletin. “Forced Out, Older Workers are Fighting Back” https://www.aarp.org/work/on-the-job/info-2014/workplace-age-discrimination-infographic.html
  2. Harvard Business Review. “The Case for Older Workers” https://hbr.org/2019/09/the-case-for-hiring-older-workers
  3. The Wall Street Journal. “Why Likeability Matters More at Work” https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-likability-matters-more-at-work-1395788402

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