Reactions to Ageism In The Workplace

ageism, mature employee

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I still hear about “the reality of ageism” a lot from Career Coaching clients.

So many people feel that being in their 50s or 60s keeps them from being considered for jobs, and therefore feel they should hide their age on their resume, job applications, etc.

My thought is this: Why would you want to work for an organization that is age discriminatory? If they don’t accept you because you’re too old, then you didn’t want to work there anyway!  Don’t focus on the hurdle with some organizations, but instead focus on your message and passion about what value you bring to an organization.

This was the topic a fellow Career Coach tackled in this recent article. I love that he included a lot of the reactions he got to his piece, citing example testimonials on the power of telling the TRUTH about your age when applying.

I loved this one:

“I decided that actions speak louder than words, so I revised my résumé, put all the dates back on, rewrote my summary to reflect that I’m a guy that did his jobs well in his career, plus mentored and coached the bench players to do the same. I took my old résumé down from where it was posted and put up my new one. Within 24 hours I got two serious calls. One of them was a guy that’s probably my age, which I know because it turns out we worked with some of the same people from years ago in our industry. I’m positive age mattered here … the right way.”

What will your story be? Will you be the person who cried “AGEISM!” because you didn’t get the job, or the person who rose above it all and got the right job at the right place because you were the right person?


4 Questions That Help Build Productive Workplace Relationships

Work friend

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I recently came across a Mashable article titled 4 Simple Questions That Will Make You More Likeable at Work.

Now, hopefully most of us don’t even need this article! But as its writer points out, sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we’ve said something, done something or inadvertently came across negatively to coworkers.

From both my HR experience and Career Coaching experience, I can tell you that while “being liked” isn’t the most important thing in your career, it definitely isn’t something you should dismiss. If you don’t have a respectful, healthy relationship with coworkers, then you can kiss a lot of opportunities away.

Which brings me back to the article, identifying a more productive way to communicate with coworkers that will inherently build a bridge to a healthier relationship. McCord brings up 4 questions all should ask:

  1. How can I help?
  2. Could you tell me more?
  3. What are your thoughts on this?
  4. Would you like to grab a cup of coffee?

Read the whole piece to get more insight into why each of these questions have the power of developing a positive workplace relationship.

And please hit up the comments below to share any stories or learnings you have about what makes people more likeable in your workplace!

Mark Your Calendars For December’s Job Shapers Network Meeting

job network

December Job Shapers Network Speaker Donna Mickens

This month’s Job Shapers Network meeting is titled “How To Get Ahead By Knowing How Promotions Really Work” and will be packed with tangible advice all job shapers need to know!

Are you strategic about how you manage your career? Do you want to get ahead but subscribe to the “If I do my job well, I will be rewarded” philosophy? Folks rarely get promoted solely because of hard work. Decisions about promotions are just as caught up in the complexities of politics and culture as other organization decisions. This month we’ll hear from Donna Mickens, a 25 year Leadership and Succession veteran, on the hidden cultural tenets of promotions and how you can increase your PQ (promotability quotient). In this session you will:

  • Learn about the unspoken rules in your job you’ll never read in print
  • Understand what kind of politics/culture fits you
  • Learn a new way of thinking that will set you up for success
  • Learn about how to build trust and healthy alliances

Join us on December 3rd, and register for the meeting here.

Here are meeting details:

Meeting Place:

Kirkwood United Church of Christ,
1603 Dougherty Ferry Rd.
Kirkwood, MO 63122

Meeting Time:

7:30am to 8:30 am. Doors open at 7am.


Online payment of $20.00 (MasterCard or Visa)
Online registration ends at 5 PM the day before session
Registration at the door*: $25.00 Cash or Check only.
*Space is limited so online registration is encouraged.

How To Know If Your Workplace is Toxic

bad work environment

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There are “bad” work environments – places that lack a sense of community identity or camaraderie – and then there are “toxic” work environments.

Toxic work environments are the places where things have gotten so bad that the culture is literally dangerous to your mental and emotional health. These are the places that you need to escape right away!

But how do you know if your workplace is truly toxic, or if you’re just going through a negative workplace stretch? This recent Business Insider article did a nice job of identifying 5 signs that your workplace is indeed toxic:

  1. Major problems in communication.
  2. Inconsistency in following policies and procedures.
  3. One or more toxic leaders in the system.
  4. A lot of negative communication is occurring (and in many different ways).
  5. Your work is affecting your health negatively – physically, emotionally and relationally.

You definitely need to read the article to get more context around each warning sign.

But remember – identifying the signs is just the beginning. If you are in a toxic work environment, you can’t ignore it.  Don’t stick your head in the sand and pretend
everything is good when there are clear signs of problems that don’t just go
away on their own.

Talk to a mentor, a Career Coach, or a manager about how you can positively impact change – and if they don’t listen, it’s probably time to start looking elsewhere.

How To Give Tough Job Performance Feedback

I recently came across this Joseph Grenny Q&A that I think anyone who’s ever had to give a performance review would find valuable:

Job Performance FeedbackThe response Joseph gives is full of insight and good ideas, and I think you should definitely take a look. Because the point is to help the person you’re reviewing grow and become better at their job. You want to help them, and sometimes that means a little tough love!

Career Insights To Be Thankful For

Fall Job News and Insights

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Every month, I deliver a newsletter to my current and past Career Coaching clients, showcasing the latest Job News, Networking Trends, Career Tools, Blog Highlights and Testimonials that I think everyone should know.

But it’s not limited to just past and present clients! Anyone can sign up to get the newsletter, and I hope you’ll pass on the good word.

Here’s a look at this month’s newsletter topics:

Job News: Getting ahead of the seasonal hiring trends

Tools of the Trade: Must-have skills for managers leading change

Networking News: 10 networking mistakes you don’t want to make

Career Str8 Talk: The Fall job search season is here

Job Lifeline: Donna’s story of going from a News 4 anchor to a PR Strategist

Check out past newsletters, and stay tuned for more newsletters in the future!

Mentor or Career Counselor: Which One Do You Need?

St. Louis Post Dispatch career column

Below is an excerpt from my latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch career column. Read the whole column here.


A trend I’m seeing a lot right now is that of business associations providing free mentorship programs, designed to deliver more value to their members.

I’ve been asked to conduct mentorship training for a few associations in town and one question is always asked (as it should be!) — “What are the key differences between using a mentor vs. a career counselor?”

There are indeed distinct differences between the two you should know about.

Let’s start with a mentor. In short, a mentor is someone whom you desire to be like. It could be someone already in a career position you aspire to attain or a professional with a skill set you desire to match. This is the same premise that drove the practice of “apprenticeships” throughout history, where younger individuals worked alongside more senior professionals in order to gain hands-on training in a skill or craft.

Colleges now promote acquiring internships more than ever. Why? Because combining education with real life application and experience (apprenticeship!) gives the student added benefits over others who apply for the same job. The important thing to remember is, once you do have a job, a major key to developing your career is embracing the fact your education is never over. Consistently calling upon a mentor can be immensely helpful, as long as you are clear about your goals and building accountability in your relationship.

Now let’s look at a career counselor. This is someone you work with in order to understand the techniques and methodology of developing your career within an organization (which could include mentoring as a step) or to strategically reposition yourself in the job market to find new employment. Although…

Read the rest of this column at

How To Support Your Significant Other After a Job Loss

job loss, support

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Coping with a job loss is a hard thing. There are so many things that impact one’s mind and soul.

The person who lost their job is likely to encounter disappointment, anxiety and fear of the unknown. So how should the spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. -of the person who lost their job act in this situation? How are they supposed to show support in a way that is productive, even if some of that anxiety and stress spills over to them?

I recently came across a Houston Chronicle article that covers this very topic. The article breaks down some very actionable tips that anyone and everyone should consider if and when their significant other goes through a job loss:

  1. Accomodate change in your home environment.
  2. Include the family when when talking about the job market; if you have children, they will have questions and be more supportive if they know what’s going on.
  3. Share your networking contacts with your significant other.
  4. Reconsider ways to look at new employment opportunities.
  5. Agree to talk about job searching progress as needed.
  6. When a much sought after job opportunity does not work out, allow time to process it and help one another move forward.

Read the whole article for more insight, and if you’ve gone through a job loss with your significant other, please share how you worked through it together!

The Fall Job Search Season Is Here

Fall job seeker

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Did you know that Fall is actually one of the times of year that companies hire new employees the most?

With that in mind, it’s essential for job seekers to buckle down and make sure they’re doing things the right way – which is why I was glad to come across an article titled Start Prepping Now For The Fall Job Search Season.

There are a lot of good tips in the article, like:

  • Be proactive
  • Do your homework
  • Plan your personal marketing campaign

However, these tips are written with the mindset of a job seeker going through what I call “the front door” of a job opportunity. That is to say that one is trying to go through advertised channels, applications, resumes, etc. that the company invites applicants to submit.

And that’s fine.

But I would also encourage people to consider going through “the back door” of a job opportunity. That means using some of this information and having a meeting with others in your targeted companies so that you can network in before there is even an opening!

From my experience, this approach leads to the most opportunities for the job seeker, be it during Fall or any other time of the year!

What has your experience been?

Consider What Your Communication Communicates In The Workplace

how you communicate

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I recently blogged about communicating with your boss when you’re a part-time employee. This got me thinking about communication as a whole in the workplace.

There are so many ways to communicate now, from email to phone calls to texts to – gasp! – talking to your coworkers in person!

I think this article at sums it up nicely:

The way you communicate reveals more about you than you might have imagined. For example you might have wonderful intentions of updating your boss however your thoughts could be running faster than your typing skills and you leave out a couple of words or misspell them creating confusion. Either way, it sends a message that you pay less attention to details. The point is: You might not be as careless if you were talking with your boss in person. You wouldn’t finish a half of a sentence and walk away or perhaps say things unfiltered, yet that’s the message you are sending through emails.

In today’s workplace environment, picking how you are going to communicate is almost as important as what you actually communicate!

But the article goes on to point out some tips that will prefer a solid foundation for how you should communicate with your coworkers.

Check it out and consider: “What am I communicating when I communicate?”