Monday, July 18, 2011

'How Not to Become Invisible After 40'? Really? ...

I subscribe to my fair share of email blasts from job sites. Some are strictly for job postings. Others are more chatty.

This morning, the headline "How Not to Become Invisible After 40" caught my eye. Mission accomplished there. So I clicked through, and I read this.

I hadn't read something that condescending in a long, long time.

The writer, who helps "people over 40 get their career mojo back," writes, "... one of the top complaints I hear from readers (especially women) is that they seem to have become transparent. Sales clerks look right through them, the opposite sex does not check them out, and even their resumes seem to disappear once it’s clear how old they are. ... [W]hat can you do to make sure you don’t become socially invisible after 40?"

I know, right?!

Here's the writer's advice. [ And my commentary in brackets. ]

1. Expand your group of friends. [ I'm on board with this one. We should all endeavor to know more people, different people. People who hold different political views, religious views, cultural views, what have you. We can all learn from each other. ]

2. Stop wearing your I-Give-Up Clothes. [ No. 1 piece of advice for women on this topic for women: Become friends with Lycra. Lycra? That's your advice, helpful mojo-reclaimer? Lycra? Yes, once you hit 40, your body immediately droops and you can never find properly fitting clothes again. Everything must stretch or you're doomed. ]

3. Innocently flirt. [ How about calling this "Being kind to other people"? When I thank someone for holding the door for me, I'm not flirting. ]

4. Embrace your grown-up-ness. "Remember when you were a kid and people like your school principal, the top teacher, and favorite athletic coach all seem to really have their sh*t together? They had that cool confidence that comes from being a Real Grown Up. You’re that grown-up now. Remember that." [ Yes, I would wager that most people over 40 recognize that they're grown ups. I would also wager that most people just wrote this writer off for using the phrase "really have their shit together." ]

5. Work out with weights. [ Get off your Hoverounds, kids, and hit the gym! Seriously? Seriously?! "Work out with weights"? Yes, our collective over-40 assumed malaise will miraculously lift if we all buy gym memberships or stock up on free weights at home. I'm all for fitness, but if you're feeling invisible, I think your problem is deeper than arm flab. ]

As my friend Carl commented upon reading this, "I agreed wholeheartedly with Point #1. After that, all I heard was 'Pretend you're 28.' That *will* get you noticed, but not in a good way."

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