"Whiz kids need geezers."
October 26, 2015 3:45 PM Subscribe
Medium's Steven Levy asks for ideas on how to end age discrimination in tech companies. Readers respond.
Age diversity is clearly lacking in many Silicon Valley tech companies. . . "culture fit" likely plays a role in the lack of representation of different age groups, especially if culture fit is defined loosely and subjectively, as it is in so many companies, as "who you want to grab a beer with."
It's interesting to have spent most of my life as a standard-issue white guy from the First World, exceptional in no demographic respects — until I got old. Once that happened, I experienced ageist prejudice first hand, as my real and apparent value moved on diverging paths, one up and one down.
Companies aren't adaptable and creative because their employees are young. They're adaptable and creative despite it.
A woman in her mid-40s, with an excellent resume and recent coding expertise, described to me how a 35-year-old with hiring responsibility told her outright, "I'm an ageist." He opined that "older" people usually have dire flaws that will lead to remorse on the part of companies that took them on. To her credit, this woman felt not anger but pity on the man's behalf. After, all by his standards, his own shelf life was reaching an end.
To her further credit, she remains upbeat. "I'll land in a company that does value the experience, trial and error, failure and success," she wrote to me.
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