It was posed to me recently that I would lose out in this job market to the twenty-something young men who dominate my industry. Certainly, the younger have some advantages – energy, having grown up with technology from birth, quick thinking, etc.
However, I am finding that my age is not a handicap. First, although computers were not nearly as developed when I was young as they are now, I am not losing out. The basics of the machines haven’t changed. If anything, I have the advantage because I was using them as an effective tool before they were easy to use. I have an innate understanding of such things as software and hardware installation because I used to have to do it by hand without anything known as “plug and play” or a “software installation wizard”. Command lines? I laugh at command line commands and parameters. Navigating through a tree structure? No problem. Programming? I just had to learn about objects and classes. A variable is a variable … a pointer (aka a reference) is still a pointer. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. The advances in technology are phenomenal. The machines are much more powerful tools. Instead of just making one sing and dance, now I can make it fly through the air and perform acrobatics.
However, I pack a secret weapon. My abilities in procedural programming. It enables me to resort to different problem-solving tactics when the objects and classes won’t cooperate.
I also pack another secret weapon — I am not entitled to anything. I know I have to work for my money. I do really weird things like show up on time. Work. I am suffering from the “abusive” employers who required quality work for their money. Someday, I might work on getting over the “PTSD” of all of that, but since it doesn’t seem to be overly traumatic, I will probably live with it.
I have been able to adapt to the changing employment environment and remain contemporary. I fit in just fine. My industry is predominately male. The one constant in the universe is the enduring quality of men to play. They still appreciate Spider Man jokes.
I may physically age, but I don’t have to grow up or grow old. The old grey mare isn’t so old after all.