A poet once wrote: “Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be.”
Not in today’s business culture.
When I entered the corporate workforce in the late 1970s, young kids just out of college — like me — were at the bottom of the food chain.
The top was dominated by gray-haired managers — “20-year-men” as they were called — who’d been with the company for decades.
After all, those decades meant they knew everything — about the job, the products, the market — and I, with mere weeks on the job, knew almost nothing … and therefore could only contribute minimally.
Ironically, now that MY hair is gray and I am approaching my 30th year in direct marketing, age is no longer revered.
Indeed, workers age 50 or more are often discriminated against. Despite their knowledge and experience, no one wants to hire them, for reasons I am not 100% clear about.
I have sat in meetings where I have seen kids in their 20s completely dismiss the contributions of colleagues and vendors who have forgotten more about direct marketing than the kids have learned.
Especially in direct marketing, this makes no sense.
You learn DM through exposure to testing, and the longer you have worked in the field, the more test results you have seen and integrated into your mental bank of knowledge.
So old folks … do you feel I am accurate here? Like Rodney Dangerfield, do we get “no respect” from the young ‘uns?
Kids: Do you learn from and listen to old farts? Or dismiss them as ancient and irrelevant?
Also: Can 20 somethings and 50 somethings work together and get along? Or are the culture gaps too great? (e.g., I don’t own an iPod, Blackberry, Blue Tooth, or Cell Phone, and I couldn’t take and send a digital photo over the Internet if my life depended on it….)