Archive for March, 2009

Age Discrimination

So I am 50 plus how do I get employers to take me seriously?

Jacqueline Ann Mc Kenzie

Independent Human Resources Professional

“One thing that I would suggest is taking a step back and making sure that it’s a real issue and not your own insecurity. If it’s a real issue, again, check to see if there’s anything that you’re doing to make the situation worse. I started contract programming when I was 13. I was in a management position before I was 20 and I’ve always been very conscious of the exact opposite problem that you have. Now that I’m pushing <mumble mumble> I should be feeling the young bucks nipping at my heels, but instead, I still feel like the 17 year-old having to prove myself. The odd part of this is that this is somehow coming through in some subconcious behavior and I generally find myself connecting more with the younger employees than with the people my own age. On the flip side, I had a person younger than I was that was continually complaining that he was being discriminated against because of his “advanced” age. We sat down together and started documenting the issues and then had some open conversations with the team. It turns out that the “young people” felt that he was discriminating against them because of their lack of experience and they responded by treating him as the “old dude”. Once we all got on the same page, it was easy to see where the disconnects were coming from and how some subtle little turns of phrase, ways of responding and just ways of working were contributing to building walls between them. Both sides had a part to play in the problem and it became a really nasty feedback loop. In this case, simply breaking the cycle pretty much corrected the problem. I’m not suggesting that you run out and hop on the latest trends or try to act younger than you are. Just be yourself and look past age. If you expect to not be taken seriously, there’s a very real risk that you’ll create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Take the time to document what you’re seeing and how you’re responding. Then try to review it objectively when you aren’t “in the moment”. If, after taking that into account, there is still a problem, involve HR and see if you can get some dialog opened to address the issues. Good luck!”

Advice for a new Startup

Not really a question, but, I’m in desperate search of entrepreneurial advice and knowledge for start-up venture

19 y/o seeking advice and guidance, or just general knowledge on a website start-up venture.
Concept, design, brand, etc. all thought out and in writing, just looking for guidance and/or someone with experience in the field to evaluate idea. Any help is much appreciated. Thanks

Gregg McDonough

Student, Hopeful Entrepreneur

This may sound pretty basic, but I’d strongly recommend that you go through the exercise of building your business plan. Even if you have funding, have all of your resources on-board, etc., building your business plan is going to help you think through some of the challenges that you’re going to face and prepare you to answer the questions that potential investors, customers and partners are going to ask. If you take that and your concept, design and brand out to the street, you’ll get the feedback and insight that you’re probably looking for. Again, even if you have your funding, going through the exercise will help you to identify the kind of roadblocks that you’re likely to encounter. If you don’t have any experience with building business plans, pick up a book (there are dozens of them out there) or shell out for a copy of Business Plan Pro. (BPP is a great package and has tons of sample plans) I’d also recommend hooking up with your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or SCORE office (you can find a listing of both at www.sba.gov). While they don’t tend to have a lot of in-depth expertise in web startups, they do have the foundation info for building a sustainable business model. They also run cheap (often free) courses and seminars that will be valuable to any startup. They may also be able to hook you up with local angels or potential partners. If this all seems like too much and you’re really looking to just be the “idea guy”, go and talk to your local bank manager. They’ll know who in your area might be interested in working with you. You could do this online, but eventually you’re going to need to build those personal relationships and it’s often better to do it close to home. Good Luck!”

Coaching for Sociability

Which exercise you suggest for improve sociability?

If you would improve sociability, especially for people that are tendencially introverted, what you suggest? which exercise can help? what else?

Daniele Carnicella [LION]

Instal Base Administration Manager at Philips

What a great question. I’m a social introvert (my wife would say “sociophobic”), but a business extrovert. I know others that are the life of the party, but can’t form a coherent sentence in a meeting. It’s a very personal thing and everyone needs to work through it in their own way. The only general advice I would offer is 1) Find out if they *want* to improve their sociability and 2) If so, help them with opportunities to *gently* expand their comfort zone.

If the problem is being in a large group of people, then let them know that you’ll stick with them and play “anchor”. If the issue is engaging in conversation, reel them in and engage them. If it’s public speaking, put them in charge of an agenda or assign them a 2-3 minute status update every week. Start with small doses and help them work through whatever they feel is a problem. If they don’t see it as a problem, then don’t mess with it. Not everybody wants to be an extrovert and you may do more harm than good.

Dale Carnegie also offers a number of courses and programs that may be valuable. But they’ll only have value if the person actually wants to change.

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