Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Government IT

Can Older IT Workers 'Navigate' Ageism? (cio.com) 274

Slashdot reader snydeq writes, "In an industry that favors youth over experience, the best defense against age discrimination may be avoiding becoming a victim in the first place, writes Bob Violino in a report on your rights and how to deal with ageism in IT." From the article: That includes being a lifelong learner and staying on top of developments in your field at every stage of your career, and seeking out training at your workplace and on your own. Make sure your employer knows you're willing to undertake training to retain and gain knowledge and skills. It's also important to show current or potential employers that you bring value to the organization through experience and flexibility.
The article suggests bringing any concerns about ageism to your Human Resources department -- and documenting any age-related incidents. But it also quotes a labor attorney who argues "Many employers believe that older workers are reluctant to try new technologies," adding that age discrimination is more prevalent in specific industries including technology. Another labor attorney even suggests tech firms are hiring younger workers because they ask for lower salaries and less time off. He also points out that in the U.S. laid-off workers are actually entitled to a list showing the positions and ages of all other affected employees -- which in cases of age discrimination can provide grounds for a class action lawsuit.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Can Older IT Workers 'Navigate' Ageism?

Comments Filter:
  • But toss creimer in the water and he floats pretty good!
    • No, I got too much muscle to float. But I can jog in the swimming pool with the waterline at my jowls.
    • by shanen ( 462549 )

      I guess it's funny that Slashdot 7-digit members are approaching the 5-million mark? But really, that spelling error was the only funny comment on the deep topic? Even acknowledging the intrinsic sadness of the topic, that's a new level of disappointment for Slashdot. Wasn't really expecting any insight, so no real disappointment there.

      Ekronomics 101. 'Nuff said.

      Okay, I'll say a bit more. http://www.timewellspent.io/ [timewellspent.io] is interesting and relevant in various ways.

  • Another labor attorney even suggests tech firms are hiring younger workers because they ask for lower salaries and less time off

    As an older person, you can also ask for lower salary and less time off.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ageism is the first step of the screening process to make absolutely certain old people don't make it to the interview and have no opportunity to negotiate.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:12AM (#54542143)

      Or, alternatively, you can provide much better value than the young and inexperienced. Then you can ask for a significantly higher salary and more time off.

      If you stopped learning at 25, that will not be an option though.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:40AM (#54542247)

        Had two young hotshots in from a consulting firm who worked on a problem for months. Got stuck.
        Finally sent an old timer over to review work. He said he could not figure out what they were trying to do.
        Asked for user requirements, designed solution in two days.
        Gave it to a junior employee who had it coded and tested in 2 weeks.
        Got a refund from the consulting company.

        It is a lot easier to teach an old dog new development environments that to teach the business and tricks of the trade to hot shot college graduates.
        Just ask the BBC.
           

        • Consulting companies send the people that they have, not the people that you need.

          • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @05:46PM (#54543641)

            It really depends. Small consulting businesses (say 2...20 employees) usually try very hard to send you the person you need, because they do not have a well-known name and need to compete on merit. Large consulting enterprises (IBM, etc.) send you however they have and often worse people than they could have sent because they will work more hours on a problem and hence bring in more money.

            Caveat: I have experience with an IBM consulting team working for a large enterprise. "Incompetent and arrogant" sums it up pretty well. Initially I proposed to have regular meeting with them because I was working on something similar (I am from one of those small consulting companies) and I thought there could be synergies. We quietly decided to not have any meetings anymore after the first one after one of these pricks tried to explain to me how a web-server works and just managed to demonstrate his utter cluelessness. A few months later their project failed completely, because they could not deliver anything that worked within 4 years. For example, in all that time they never bothered to find out what load they needed to cope with (I know because I was asked for my numbers by the people that had to clean up that mess).

          • Consulting companies send the people that they have, not the people that you need.

            And they tell the client that the person being sent is "THE SME [wikipedia.org] in the configuration and use of system / program / language XYZ". Meanwhile the poor schmuck being sent has never even seen XYZ and is expected to memorize the cryptic XYZ manuals on the red-eye flight to the client.

          • Hahaha....lots of experience with this game. Here is how it's played:

            Big Consulting Company:

            All of them (IBM, Deloitte, etc.) have the same model - up or out. Meaning that the one and only goal is to get promoted to partner. If you make it, it's the land of milk and honey. If you don't you're gone. So what happens is that a lot of the really good, strong technical people get fed up with the politics and leave. What remains, generally, are the ass kissers. That and a bunch of wet behind the ears recent grads

      • If you stopped learning at 25, that will not be an option though.

        This. I've known people who got stuck in their tech careers because they thought learning was for school and saw no need to learn as an adult. Several became drug store clerks after getting laid off in the dot com bust, taking six month vacations on unemployment benefits, and being told that their skills were obsolete by recruiters. A book, a boot camp or professional development courses was all they needed to jump start their careers.

        • All through my professional career I've bought eval boards for various new products so I can play with them in my weekends. Several of my coworkers thought I was crazy to pay stuff from my own money, and to work in my own time.

        • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @12:27PM (#54542621)

          My experience as well.

          The longer they are able to stay employed without learning they harder it is on them.

          I have had co-workers doing the same tasks more or less unchanged in 20 years. I can't wait until they retire so they can be replaced with a cron job that doesn't need vacation.

          • I can't wait until they retire so they can be replaced with a cron job that doesn't need vacation.

            Hire a contractor. That usually scares the crap out of old timers. From my experience most of the time old timers are curious about taking a six month vacation on unemployment benefits, which I strongly recommend against. Only at my government IT job did I get a hostile reception as the old timers thought that contractors were going to replace them. They're getting used to having contractors for nation-wide projects that indirectly make their job easier.

        • While it seems to generate anger from some on Slashdot, it really is a problem that a non-trivial number of older tech workers have and one that they can solve: Stay up to date and relevant with your knowledge. Tech is a fast and continually moving field, so you always need to be learning.

          When older IT folks have a problem, and many do not, it is usually this. I work at a university so we see a huge range of ages. We have student workers who are 18-22 and of course start with basically zero experience, and

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )

            While it seems to generate anger from some on Slashdot, it really is a problem that a non-trivial number of older tech workers have and one that they can solve: Stay up to date and relevant with your knowledge. Tech is a fast and continually moving field, so you always need to be learning.

            That's what the magazines say so that you will keep buying them but in a lot of aspects of IT it appears that things are moving frustratingly slowly.
            If in some SF scenario you thawed out a C and Java programmer from the ye

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          A book, a boot camp or professional development courses was all they needed to jump start their careers.

          That and a genuine interest in their chosen field of expertise. I find many IT people lack that these days. As it still if a fast-moving field, that will make non-learners obsolete eventually. I think this whole thing may not be ageism at all, but just too many that chose a fast-moving field and either could not keep up or did not even want to. In a slow-moving field, here your initial education stays useful for 50 years or longer and just getting a bit of experience makes you current, firing older workers

        • If companies aren't going to respect experience, then older people are pretty much done in the industry. What is the point spending all your personal time training, only to end up completing against someone for a salary that you made 20 years ago? That's not how a career is supposed to work.
          • If companies aren't going to respect experience, then older people are pretty much done in the industry.

            Baby boomers will be retired and retirees will outnumber workers in 2030. Young people will go into healthcare because that's where the money will be. IT will have a shortage of 1.5M+ skilled workers. Unless AIs get really good in the next few years, companies will hire whoever they can find.

            What is the point spending all your personal time training, only to end up completing against someone for a salary that you made 20 years ago?

            I made $10 per hour 20 years ago. That's minimum wage in CA today. I don't do minimum wage work.

            That's not how a career is supposed to work.

            Welcome to the 21st century, where nothing is normal.

    • Yes, one CAN ask for a lower salary. Then one will hear that the prospective employer somehow knows that you're just filling in a gap and will continue seeking a higher salary and/or more interesting/less boring work elsewhere, and no offer will be presented.

      • Yes, one CAN ask for a lower salary.

        I feel that once people starts racing for the bottom of the wage pile they will find it already occupied by people from India with advanced degrees but no practical knowledge.

        At some point the HR manager decides that he/she can replace an "overpaid" engineers with a couple engineers in China or India who. combined, make way less and have lots more initials in their CVs. The HR manager pushes for doing the same thing with the entire department saving the company millions. He and management all collect

  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @09:57AM (#54542081) Homepage

    The work force still believes that simply getting a year older means they deserve a cushier job with more benefits and a higher salary, learning and experience not required.

    This worked for a short time when the economy and population was growing exponentially, it still works for many who grow their skill set year in year out, but not so much any longer for your average Joe. In many cases it would make more sense to take a pay-cut every year. Since this concept is still so embedded in everyone's psyche, unfortunately, that is not what happens. companies just hold on to people until their salaries gets too unreasonable (or just never hire them full time) and then let them go.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      The work force still believes that simply getting a year older means they deserve a cushier job with more benefits

      It used to be that experience was valued and rewarded. Do you want a newbie plumber trying to solve a tricky plumbing problem or somebody with 20 years of experience?

      In tech, it's not valued so much. Maybe because technology changes so fast that too many of yester-year's skills are obsolete. Or, maybe us oldbie's need to find a way to sell the value of general IT knowledge and well-thought-out s

    • by ET3D ( 1169851 )
      The underlying problem is that people do require (a lot) more money and more benefits as they raise kids. As a society we're already at a point where we value work more than family, and pretty much require both parents to work. Given that the age of raising kids is rising and, at least in my experience, the parenting age for IT people is higher than normal, the 40+ years are definitely some of the most demanding. (The same can be said for employing women, who typically require even more money and time for k
  • FTFY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @09:59AM (#54542089)

    In an industry that favors cheap over good

  • Leave the IT field (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    As I've gotten older I've realized that IT is a shitty field that harbors no respect from the organization you work for which leads to poor / non-existent support which causes even more disdain from the users they are supposed to be serving. Where I work, people often call our IT department "the NO team" because all you ever get from them is reasons why they won't support you or do something that would be helpful to everyone.

    Leaving that field was the best thing I've ever done for my career and I have actu

    • For young players at home, this is "IT" in the sense of "tech support".

    • by bradley13 ( 1118935 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @01:23PM (#54542805) Homepage

      I kept up with technology pretty much across the board, 10 years ago or so. But eventually you realize that

      (a) this isn't part of your job - your employer only cares about particular things, which may or may not be modern

      (b) you have a life, possibly a family, and that needs to be a priority as well

      (c) there's too much to keep up with, and anyway, it's not possible to know what will stay important. Look ing only at programming languages: Java 8 was a big change, Javascript looks nothing like it did 10 years ago, is Ruby important? Rust? Scala?

      Eventually you get tired of it. Yet another programming language, when you've used 20, and played with 20 more? It gets tiresome, and really, I haven't seen anything really innovative for ages, it's all just young folk reinventing old ideas.

      I don't know the answer, but blithely saying you should keep up with the everything on your own time isn't very realistic.

      Oh, and get off my lawn.

      • Keeping up with the latest fads is a lot of work and often pointless, both because the fad will be gone in a couple of years and because after you've been around enough tools and technologies, picking up another one because it happens to fit the new project is easy. You shouldn't have to already know it.

        But where the "learn all the things!" approach goes really wrong, IMO, is that it doesn't give you any obvious advantage over the young guys who learn the same new fads. "But I know two dozen other languag

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        Eventually you get tired of it. Yet another programming language, when you've used 20, and played with 20 more? It gets tiresome, and really, I haven't seen anything really innovative for ages, it's all just young folk reinventing old ideas.

        I'm 50 and have done IT all my life. I think up to a point, learning anything new is generally useful even if you never use the specific technology because you're absorbing new concepts. I think of some of the stuff I learned that was never really applied in any structured way and what I got out of it wasn't the details but the larger picture it exposed me to.

        That being said, I think most of IT is a finite space with a lot of repetition. Once you've been exposed to enough to see the general picture, you

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:10AM (#54542135)

    That is really what it boils down to. If you get better, than when you reach an age where the general stupidity about "youth" being an advantage does not serve to cover incompetence anymore, you will not be incompetent. Not-incompetent IT personnel is in short supply and the "wizards" are universally treasured. Very few are young though, IT is just far too hard to get good at.

    If, on the other hand, getting older just makes you more grumpy and you remain just as inexperienced and incompetent as you were as a young person (and we all start understanding pretty little, that is just how it works), then you will just get more expensive and even less useful with age. Unfortunately, the second class of older IT workers is the majority and they are a pain. I have even run into ones that sabotage things in ways that are hard to pin on them in order to make others look bad and I have encountered quite a few of the utter scum where anything broken is always the other's fault, never theirs, regardless of of how bad they have screwed up.

    These are also the people that tell you "cannot be done" about a lot of things, when they really just mean "I do not want to do it". The best I had so far was a senior web-server administrator that told me that there was no way to increase logging level in Apache. Fortunately there were others in this call and a simple "adjust the value of LogLevel" made him come back a few minutes later with "ah, yes, that seems to be possible". (By now I ride over these people mercilessly, privilege of being an expensive tech-consultant.) Why this guy was not fired quite a while ago is beyond me. I have run into this numerous times before and almost always with older IT people, because the younger ones still have some appreciation of their limitations.

    Bottom line: Do not bet that guy that drags everyone down, advises against all changes, screws up and blames others, etc.
    Be the guy (or gal) that has rational and good arguments when advising against changes (which is often necessary, many "new" things are just bad), has a high level of skill, insight and experience, is helpful, and admits that yes, you make mistakes as well, and you do not have any problem with "ageism".

    • by AutodidactLabrat ( 3506801 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:27AM (#54542199)
      Wow. Talk about an apologist for age discrimination based entirely on assumptions of creeping incompetence without evidence of same
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        Wow, talk about somebody that has no clue what is going on. You should look up the Dunning-Kruger effect sometime.

        Incidentally, if you think _I_ need to provide evidence in order to convince _you_, then your are fucked in the head. I could not care less about you staying clueless. What I do is point out a chain of reasoning for people that have seen the signs but may not yet have connected the dots or have different conclusions, which in turn could give me new ideas. But people that are oblivious to the fac

  • By Neruos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sorry, calling BS here. -note: search older posts by subject-

    The US and Europe have 2 different mentalities when it comes to aging members of a technology field. So I will just comment on the US. As someone who has reviewed and replaced via outsourcing/onshoring/offshoring as a highly viable tactic, many people over 40, I can tell you my experience.

    People over the age of 40 (men and women, tho women are far rarer) who find themselves without a job or forced to change careers tend to be lacking all of the fo

  • Not ageism, really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alvieboy ( 61292 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:20AM (#54542181) Homepage

    IT industry favors low-cost instead of high-cost. It has nothing to do with age. It's money talk.

    Experienced technicians and engineers are costly, but may well prove cheaper if job requires high specialization, know-how and fast deployment of solutions.

    It's not like senior staff does not adapt to new techs. It does, and it does it well, but at a higher cost (and overall quality is much higher too).

    Alvie

    • Right, I hear about "ageism" all the time, but is there any actual (non-anecdotal) evidence for it?

      To counter the anecdotal, I serve up my own anecdote: I'm in my 20s, I am college-educated, but I have a hell of a time finding any real IT work. The one job I did land in IT was remote tech support for barely above minimum wage. (Actual support, not script-reading; most calls I'd need to dick around with MySQL, or SSH into their server to install some software package, or other things on that level.) The ma
  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:26AM (#54542197) Homepage
    I will be 67 this year. Because of Perl, I still get quite a lot of well-paid niche work. Also, happily (or because I was a sensible freelancer) I don't need full time either, my health is not too bad and I'm in the UK (admittedly the Conservative party is doing its level best to ruin universal healthcare here).

    However I've recently begun to talk with other older technical people about problems that affect 'us' and that we can solve. There are plenty, without thinking about internet connected juicers and multi-zillion funding rounds. In fact, I was just invited into a start-up hothouse (apparently I am a 'talented outlier', whatever that means, perhaps someone younger can youngsplain? haha, only serious) and turned them down. What I/we aim at is more modest, more open and will provide some geeky fun on the journey too.

    Ok, that's a bit of a manifesto now too, you know where to find me, just click on some intertubey stuff. Incidentally, I've never had a problem with young bosses and still enjoy new tech (less so, hype-tech). But, I think the best liberation for the seriously old, is to fashion some sort of destiny for ourselves.
  • by laughingskeptic ( 1004414 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @10:28AM (#54542203)
    Never go to human resources until you have another job offer. Period. If you are not operating from a position of strength you are simply viewed as a problem employee and they will work with your manager to get rid of you. If you have a job offer in hand, then your interactions with HR will be very different, you may even receive a raise and get changes you want. (But don't count on it) Human resources works for the company, they are not there to make you happy.
    • by methano ( 519830 )
      This sounds like everything about ageism I've ever read. Stay current. Keep ahead of the game. Keep learning, blah, blah blah..... That's bullshit. That's just blaming you for getting old. Basically, as you get older, you're screwed unless you run the operation. Young people are cheaper and less likely to know more than the guy making the hiring and firing decisions. Guys making the hiring and firing decisions hate to pay for health insurance and hate even more that you might know more than they do and can
      • This sounds like everything about ageism I've ever read. Stay current. Keep ahead of the game. Keep learning, blah, blah blah..... That's bullshit.

        It is not at all bullshit. But staying slightly ahead of widespread technology, I've been able to completely avoid any kind of ageism at work.

        I have seen too may people who as they grow old, stop growing in any other way. They just do the same job they've been doing for years until eventually that job does not need doing anymore, for whatever reason. That goes

    • Yeah. Disagree with almost everything you said. Almost everywhere I've worked, going to your manager with an offer in hand and issuing an ultimatum gets you fired. Even if they like you. Because it demonstrates a lack of loyalty, and suggests that you're probably pretty close to leaving anyway. You might get your demands met in the short term, if you're indispensable, but you can guarantee the first order of business will be to make you dispensable so that you can be replaced.

      On the other hand, if I m
    • by nomadic ( 141991 )

      I disagree. If you have evidence that you are being discriminated against because of your age, it might be a good idea, especially if it's a larger company with an actual knowledgeable HR department.

      "Human resources works for the company, they are not there to make you happy."

      Irrelevant. If you let them know that you think you're a target of age discrimination, they may want to stop it for the good of the company. Remember; HR works for the company, NOT your supervisor who's doing the discriminating.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is zero interest in this 61 year old ever getting back in. No one will even listen.

    Too bad as I am far more knowledgeable about what constitutes a usable interface than 99% of the programmers who think they know how to code a UI.

    Like many old craftsmen before me It looks I will be taking my skills to the grave.

    (for the record; I created one of the first mouse driven file and time management systems in DOS in 1983.)

    • Have you thought about creating a website showing your work? (And creating an account here)

      We are looking for a ui gui to do some work(Long distance is ok) but we can't even contact you, or see your work
       

  • I'm almost 53, and the company I currently work for, while it has its young'ns, most of the developers in my group are at least in their '40s. We get paid well, and get "unlimited vacation" which all of us use with good discretion. I suppose I have it good - I have yet to encounter ageism as described by many of these /. stories.
  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @11:38AM (#54542443)

    "...Another labor attorney even suggests tech firms are hiring younger workers because they ask for lower salaries and less time off.

    Kudos to TFS for cutting through the bullshit to identify the real reason ageism exists.

    I grow tired of looking for other excuses when it's rather obvious what the cause is.

    Greed.

    And no, there does not appear to be an escape from that.

    • If I make an offer to you, am I being greedy to offer you $100k instead of $110k? $110k instead of $120k? Etc.? Where does it stop? Employers always want to pay their staff as little as possible. Staff want to be paid as much as possible. Hence the dance of negotiation, trying to estimate what those similar to one's self are being paid, etc. It seems stupid to characterize "wanting to lower personnel costs" as "greed".
  • 1. Some percentage of people are reluctant to learn new ways of doing things.
    2. For younger people this means learning old ways of doing things and for old people this means new ways of doing things.
    3. If a company discriminates against people for only being willing to do things the old way, they will also be indirectly be discriminating against older people.
    I suspect that if a young person demanded a much higher salary, and refused to learn new things, they would also be discriminated against. I have m
  • by jlowery ( 47102 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @12:01PM (#54542531)

    Pushing 60. I started as a full-stack developer writing interdepartmental apps using a 4GL. Been an analyst, technical lead, lead architect, embedded systems programmer, and now come full circle to full-stack web development. I've kept up, and currently trying to push my organization from JQuery/Handlebars/Express (infrastructure groundwork I put down 4 years ago) to ES6/React/Redux/GraphQL.

    It's hard, because the 40-somethings I work with are Javascript fatigued. They just want the merry-go-round to stop. For me, to stop learning is death. But I appear to be losing the battle in pushing to stay on top of current practice,

    But here's the problem: when job searching, the cohort I compete against is invariably much, much younger. I wouldn't have this problem if I had stuck with C++ or Java my entire career. As someone previously posted, I'm an "outlier". The best counter I've come up with is to write about what I know and what I am learning [medium.com].

    I my mind, too many organizations want a "buddy" culture. It's not what I want, I want to do good work and deliver. The best way to gel a team IMO is to always be learning and delivery value to your end-user. Take pride as a team in your work, not in your team standing in Super Mario (that came up in a recent interview I had. Really.)

    Anyhow, I might try freelancing. :-/

  • I was part of a 25% layoff in a company where most workers were remote. Many of us suspected ageism. The company refused to provide the list when I requested it, because I was the only person laid off in my state. This was a software company owned by an equity fund with a whole army of oily lawyers.

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @12:38PM (#54542661)
    Industry favors "cheap and docile" over "expensive and of opinion".
  • That includes being a lifelong learner and staying on top of developments in your field at every stage of your career, and seeking out training at your workplace and on your own.

    No shit. More common sense advise. News at 11. It is incredible that something so simple escapes the minds of otherwise (or supposedly) intelligent professionals. Ageism is always going to exist, and it will hit hardest for those who aren't flexible or expect to retire in-place.

    Being proactive, that's the cure for a lot of shit.

  • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @01:01PM (#54542731)

    Time for Atlas to just Shrug Off for a generation or two. I'm grateful for people to suggest that we might have recourse to go all crybully-postal on our employers (wait! We didn't get hired! How does that work?) with class action lawsuits and all... but they're forgetting one thing, that isn't the kind of people we are, never have been. We stick with it or give polite ample notice and strike out for somewhere else, and we lack the gall to believe that a good working relationship can survive that kind of legal horseshit. In fact, I wouldn't want to work for anybody that could put something like that behind them. They (personal or corporate) would be a few cards short of a full deck.

    Older IT people are screwed because younger HR people and their doofus plug'n'play ideas have displaced older HR people, and Dilbert's Boss let it happen. They personally lack the experience (or desire, or authority) to read people for substance. That's why you can no longer walk into a building and fill out an application (or in the real old days) get an on the spot appointment with a real human who is in the business of judging people and can return real a real answer, even if it's not the answer you want. They still pay their people for that but they're not getting their money's worth. No.... you're given a custom URL into MyAssinineCloudEmployeeSolution.com to feed some outsource HR behemoth (who sells you and your information countless times, best to use a throw-away email for each job search) and for you that's that. You're waiting for a phone call that will never happen.

    Now I'm sure these return phone calls can happen, but we must assume they won't, because sanity and self-esteem matters, and when you begin to sense that you'll have to cover twice as much distance for the same opportunity it's way past time to invest in a new direction, one in which your unique experience might pay off and be rewarded. It will likely have nothing to do with IT, but guess what, you may never have to explain to anyone why Microsoft keeps removing settings and options from Windows 10 when it's supposed to be better. Ever. Again.

    You won't have to explain to anyone why you 'cannot say no' to Windows 10 updates. Ever. Again. No need to try and sell your boss's boss on open source software because your boss came shrink-wrapped from the factory. No need to declare any new idea to be "full of shit" and have it implemented anyway because they didn't like your face when you said it.

    Welcome to 2017, older folks! These are the days stores close when the Internet goes out. People toss working computers that would still be working in 10 years into the dumpster because they invested in unrepairable crap designed to cook itself to death. Young folk who cannot presently afford a car down payment are mooning about self-driving cars as if the insurance companies won't chase real drivers off the road (to make stupid cars 'safe') and (surprise!) be taxicabs they won't be able to afford. And these people, along with the new HR staffs, just cannot be dealt with.

    So leave IT and start heading to a place where you could dig in and wait out this tsunami of stupid. Find something you're comfortable doing, it is guaranteed to be less stressful, and take the time to hone your superior IT skills along with other valuable skills you have, in your free time. Gather that stuff people are throwing out, along with other 'old tech' that comes your way. Finish that course on-line, work with your hands if you haven't been, drive a backhoe, dig a ditch. Learn not to bitch. Get in shape.

    When (not if) the economy crashes all the way down, you'll be ready to step back in. The most fragile threads will unravel, everyone will be amazed how many sorry-ass ideas are hanging by a thread... and that 'old tech' will be valuable once again along with people who actually know how to maintain it and get things working together without being handed a shrink-wrap solution.

    And some day, if all goes well (or even OK) with you you'll say... "and to think this all started by being turned down again for a no-brainer job..."

    • tsunami of stupid

      stunami of tsupid?

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      Time for Atlas to just Shrug Off for a generation or two. I'm grateful for people to suggest that we might have recourse to go all crybully-postal on our employers (wait! We didn't get hired! How does that work?) with class action lawsuits and all... but they're forgetting one thing, that isn't the kind of people we are, never have been. We stick with it or give polite ample notice and strike out for somewhere else, and we lack the gall to believe that a good working relationship can survive that kind of legal horseshit. In fact, I wouldn't want to work for anybody that could put something like that behind them. They (personal or corporate) would be a few cards short of a full deck.

      The purpose of a lawsuit is not to get your job back or to force someone to hire you. Anybody attempting that is an idiot. The purpose of a lawsuit is to A. get monetary compensation for lost wages due to unfair termination or lack of hiring or whatever, and B. make your former employer (or former prospective employer) serve as a cautionary tale for the rest of the industry.

      If one company gets away with illegal hiring practices, whether it's ageism, gender discrimination, or something else entirely, then

  • Upper mgmt. decided to dive in all the 'cool' kids tech. Our team is large and ranges in age from mid 20s to myself at 51. I'd say that the cool kids are full of enthusiasm but they are making dramatic mistakes that is costing us time and money. Same way outsourcing was proven to work sometimes, I think the coolness of youth will also be re-evaluated at some point and the experience of old will be appreciated more.
  • ... take a salary cut so that you can compete with what seems to matter most to many employers: the higher salary costs of the older workers.
  • by barbariccow ( 1476631 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @02:11PM (#54542947)

    Reality is you get burned out in this field pretty quickly. A lot of "senior" staff I see at any place found some little niche of job security, and translated their job from making good code to making managers like them, on a personal level. According to them, you gotta dig your heels in deep and don't budge, once you find a company with the right kind of dirt to do so.

    Me, I change jobs every few years. I fix everything, piss off all the people following the above mantra, and go somewhere new with interesting challenges.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Saturday June 03, 2017 @02:17PM (#54542969) Journal
    Write bad code. Write stuff that requires arcane knowledge of the installation and process. Rely on quirks in your company.

    The key thing is to know and remember the bad code, test fixes privately. When you find bugs in your own code, make a note, but don't fix it. When a critical flaw makes things go bad, and you find the solution, sit on it. Wait for the situation to escalate. Wait till the news reaches two or three levels above your boss. Maintain a calm but serious attitude. Show concern, keep saying, "I will fix this in time. Don't you guys worry!". Then when they start thinking of hiring big time trouble shooters at 500$ an hour, take a sleeping bag to work, watch TV on your cell phone, fix it a 2AM, send "Fixed!" emails and sleep in the server room.

    Two incidents like this, they will never ever think of firing you.

    They have the power. You have the knowledge. You can win them if you don't have any old fashioned misplaced sense of loyalty.

  • In an industry that favors youth over experience...

    IMO this misstates what's actually happening. The industry doesn't value youth over experience per se; it values cheap over expensive. If you don't expect to be paid much more than the young guys then companies will happily hire you. The disconnect is that older developers assign more value to their experience than employers do.

    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      I'm not sure that's the full story. A lot of the well known companies that are accused of ageism will happily pay you 500k/year if you're worth it. The main issue is what "worth it" means.

      As I'm getting older (I'm in my mid thirties, so not old at all by non-tech standards, but in tech all these articles say its the end of the road), I'm getting more cynical, more conservative, I value foresight over doing things quick and having them blow up in my face later. I've seen countless of projects fail, and I kno

      • Only companies I've heard of paying $500k for "developers" (i.e. not "Director of Development" or "CTO") are trading firms doing quant stuff. Even then it's a stretch. But I should have been clearer: companies prefer "high-ROI" to "low-ROI". Not absolute cheap vs. absolute expensive. And employers' ROI formula differs from older workers' formula in that employers value experience less than older workers do. Hence the angst.

        In my experience if you do mediocre quality work, are personable and have a g
  • Okay what, it's a thing? I mean we always knew most companies are cheap greedy pieces of shit who don't really understand how the magic box works and just wants to pay the least possible for making the magic box work.

    They also don't understand how the failures cost them so much money and they could have saved it with experienced IT workers but fuck them, they made their bed, let them lie in it.

  • Someone has to write all the original code that gets uploaded to StackOverflow so the younger programmers can pull it down and use for their job assignments [slashdot.org]. Since that appears to be all that CS classes are teaching.

  • I am around 50, I work with Computer Engineers (yes, with engineering degrees) with a typical age well under 30. They are some of the most conservative old school programmers I have worked with.

    Happy with Python 2.6 because it was what they used last. Happy with C or C++ from the 90s. Unit testing... WTF is that good for? They pretty much live up to every stereotype of a 65 year old programmer.

    Then it gets even better. They advocate a bastardized version of Agile when they are working on projects that are nearly a perfect fit for PMI style management. Yet they avoid innovation and change and actual agility like it is the bogeyman.

    I have hived off a group of programmers who wanted to change (of mostly younger ages) and have my own dept that is now running circles around the bulk of the company. I am not sure what percentage of them want to come aboard, but it has hit a point where the old guard freak me out so much that I will probably only staff my department from new hires. (of any age as long as they are willing to innovate and grow as hard as they can)

The world is no nursery. - Sigmund Freud

Working...