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Old 11-19-2014, 11:13 AM   #41
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What if a 45-50 year-old, in the midst of a career change, is willing to accept compensation in line with what a new college graduate might get in the new industry?

Tim
I've got older friends of mine who tried to do that, and it didn't work out. Employers were hesitant to employ them, thinking that they would get bored, or frustrated at the low pay, and look to leave for a better opportunity the first chance they got.

And they were right to think that way, because that's exactly what my friends said they'd do. They were only willing to take a lower paying job to escape whatever hellhole they were currently in, and maybe learn new skills and do some networking, but the "I'll work for less" thing was never going to tide them over for long.

I've taken pay cuts a couple times in my career to work for startups, but it was always accompanied by a worthwhile chunk of equity to make up for it. I never have, and never would, accept college graduate pay, because I know I'd do the same thing as my friends, and the skeptical employers out there - leave for a better opportunity as soon as one became available.
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Old 11-19-2014, 02:00 PM   #42
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......She is very experienced and knowledgeable, but irritates the younger IT people because her experience contradicts things that they still think are good ideas to do. I think that situation is typically where some of any friction between older more experienced persons and younger persons occurs.
I know this 'youth vs experience' conflict has gone on for decades, but I really think it is worse now. Too many 20-somethings truly believe that a quick web search trumps OTJ experience
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Old 11-19-2014, 03:33 PM   #43
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I am in management and experience really helps. In technical field, you can't compete with younger brains. I realized that a SW engineer approaching 40 and decided to get into management. The end result, I put int less hours but get more stress.
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:00 PM   #44
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I've found it somewhat ironic that there's only a sweet spot of about 5 years in Corporate America. Before 35, you're generally considered too junior for some assignments (I've actually heard the phrase: "send in the gray hairs" used in certain situations). Above 40, well if you haven't escalated by then...

I've been fortunate in one respect. In my career specialty, there is continuous demand and always an under supply of skills for the kind of work I do. Experience is also much more highly valued than training or credentials. This has allowed me to never worry about finding more work if I want it - this is fortuitous since I've come to loathe networking events off hours - life is too short to spend it with people I don't care about.
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Old 11-19-2014, 07:14 PM   #45
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In Quality, in a regulated industry, it seems to depend largely on how well you adapt to change. I've seen first-hand where the prejudice against older workers comes from. I see just enough 50+-year-old QEs who think that "we did it this way 15 years ago and that was good enough" is acceptable, when the FDA is ratcheting up requirements all the time. Other countries' agencies too.

OTOH, you have our VP, who wanted to retire but was wooed to work for us. He's somewhere near normal retirement age, but has kept abreast of all the industry best practices, and is constantly pushing us to be better and better. So, flexibility and the willingness to learn, grow, and change are requirements. A lot of the "old guys" have a hidebound mindset, and it doesn't work well in our industry.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:14 PM   #46
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I've heard it is worse in China, and other East Asian countries. Forced retirement is common. Peer pressure to either move up or quit as one ages is prevalent.
It is worse in China because it isn't just a middle aged thing, and it is spelled out in black and white.

Ever flown on a Chinese airline and wondered how all eight of the flight attendants are young and hot? Because they answered an ad that said seeking single women who are under 25, at least 5'4 with a thin build, and conversational in either English or Japanese.
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Old 11-19-2014, 10:32 PM   #47
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......She is very experienced and knowledgeable, but irritates the younger IT people because her experience contradicts things that they still think are good ideas to do. I think that situation is typically where some of any friction between older more experienced persons and younger persons occurs.
I'm sorry to say I've seen this over and over. Experienced folks, some with hundreds of successful product releases, are often ignored when they try to provide quite sensible guidance to younger "leaders" who are trying to make a mark with their first big project. Often management wants to go with the new, and surprisingly many projects make mistakes that cost huge delays and cost overruns for almost exactly the reasons that similar projects did before. It's often an impossible situation for the older "voice of reason" so hopefully they have saved up their retirement fund and can ER to escape the nonsense.
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Old 11-20-2014, 10:17 AM   #48
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I'm sorry to say I've seen this over and over. Experienced folks, some with hundreds of successful product releases, are often ignored when they try to provide quite sensible guidance to younger "leaders" who are trying to make a mark with their first big project. Often management wants to go with the new, and surprisingly many projects make mistakes that cost huge delays and cost overruns for almost exactly the reasons that similar projects did before. It's often an impossible situation for the older "voice of reason" so hopefully they have saved up their retirement fund and can ER to escape the nonsense.
All too true. Hare vs. Turtle mentality.

I've seem some older workers - who have a retirement stash - decide that they're not done working and start their own companies. Being the boss, they hire younger workers to do the grunt work.
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