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Asking for a Friend: How Do I Future-Proof My Career Against Ageism

Real or imagined?
H. Michael Burgett
Contributing Writer

Dear Mike:

Over the weekend, I found myself in a spirited debate with former colleagues about the reality of ageism in the job market. The group was divided, and it got me thinking about my own career trajectory as I recently turned 55.

While retirement may be on the horizon for some, it’s not an option I’m considering. However, it seems that staying current and relevant is more critical than ever.

So, where do you stand on the topic of ageism in our field? Is it a thing?

And what strategies should one employ to remain a valuable asset for either my current or future employer regardless of age?




Hi Chuck,

Your question about ageism is both timely and thought-provoking.

While the debate on its prevalence will continue, one thing is clear: ageism, real or perceived, is a concern that many of us have to consider at some point in our careers. I’ve seen firsthand how age can be a double-edged sword, offering a wealth of experience on one hand but potentially making one seem “outdated” or “inflexible” on the other.

To mitigate this, staying current and relevant is not just advisable; it’s imperative. Continuous learning, whether through online courses, webinars, or industry-specific literature, is a must.

And let’s not forget the power of thought leadership. Writing articles, whitepapers, or even social media posts on pertinent industry topics not only helps you stay updated but also positions you as an authority in your field.

This is a powerful counterbalance to any age-related bias, real or imagined you might encounter.

Mentorship is another avenue that serves dual purposes. It allows you to impart wisdom and insights to the younger generation while also learning about new technologies and trends that they are naturally more exposed to.

Networking, both online and offline, is invaluable. It provides you with a platform to share your thought leadership and keeps you in the loop on the latest industry happenings.

So, while the jury may still be out on the extent of ageism, one thing is certain: the key to combating it lies in our own hands. By staying relevant, continuously learning, and establishing ourselves as thought leaders, we can ensure that we are not just a number but a valuable asset to any organization.

Hope this helps. As always I will be rooting for you!



TNCR Community – what advice would you add to this thread? Do you have a perspective that you can share? Have a career question for Mike? Email him directly at

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