I think I’m being discriminated against. I have been looking for a job for quite a while and haven’t even received an offer yet. I am in my 40s and my friends think there’s age discrimination too. What can I do? A.D., San Diego, CA
Whoa! I think concluding that age discrimination is the reason you haven’t received a job offer is a huge leap. I chose your question because it demonstrates how we disempower and paralyze ourselves.
I am operating in the dark here because you didn’t provide any specifics like your industry, level, what you’re looking for, your approach, whether you are currently employed, etc.
What I see here, however, is that you’ve decided the reason you are not getting offers is that you are being victimized. Beyond the fact that you have no proof to support your theory, what is the benefit to you in believing that this is true? It isn’t motivating. It just provides an excuse for not getting what you want. Instead, create a neutral or positive story that could be equally true, based on the facts that you have. For instance, perhaps you’ve not received an offer yet because you’ve not found the right fit. Believing this interpretation instead allows you to move forward with your search more freely.
“Age discrimination” most likely represents a fear that you and your friends share. Having them validate your theory does not make it any more true—it just ratchets up the drama and anxiety. There is no benefit—even if it were actually true—it just makes everything harder for you.
Job hunting is a unique experience and one that is hard to identify with if you’re not in the same situation. While your friends and family want to support you, it’s hard for them to separate their own fears when giving you advice. Instead, find someone who is also job hunting and buddy up with them. Sharing the journey with someone who is in the same situation is invaluable. They can help buoy your spirits when you are in the inevitable lows and share the highs when you have good experiences. If you don’t know anyone personally, put the word out among your friends and family. Seek out job hunting groups or seminars as a likely place to find a buddy. It is well worth the effort.
If you're wondering why corporations act as they do or would like advice on how to navigate the corporate landscape, please Ask Amanda and submit your question here.
You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from “Our Corporate Life®,” a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. Copyright © MMXVI Amanda Mitchell and Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.takingcontrolofyourcareer.com/subscribe