7 reasons people think you're too old to work in digital

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Have you become too old to work in digital? If you are over 40, there are more than a few digital leaders who may think so -- people who think you are past your sell-by date. While the average age of digital marketers has increased over the past several years, it's still an industry that seems to favor the younger set.

I am well over 40. Over 45, in fact. And over the past year, I have seen far too many remarkable talents shunted aside -- people passed over for new roles or unable to find new jobs. And more than a few of them have told me that ageism is a significant cause of their troubles.

Hey, America is a youth culture, and marketing is right dead center in that obsession. So my shrieking about ageism is unlikely to do an effing thing to address the issue.

But perhaps there are ways that we 40-plussers can examine our own behaviors and personal styles and make changes that dramatically reduce the odds that we will be victims of ageism. We can make changes, in fact, that prove we are essential to the furthering of this industry in the years ahead.

This piece is intended to drive just that sort of personal self-examination. As such, it is not a rose-scented anti-aging cream that will transform us into bright-eyed 25-year-olds. Instead, the idea here is to review some common bad behaviors to identify the things we do that make us seem less relevant. Then to nip those behaviors in the bud.

Here are seven such behaviors to begin your soul searching.



Keith Pape
Keith Pape September 5, 2012 at 6:10 PM


: )

thanks Jim, as always, an insightful and timely piece.

Colin X
Colin X September 5, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Thank you for the great article.

I still don't get Twitter, though :)

Jim Nichols
Jim Nichols September 5, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Alas, the floppy was not my idea. But it got me to thinking about my Commodore 64 tape recorder, which took like 10 minutes to save 30 lines of BASIC. LOL.

Michael Snyder
Michael Snyder September 5, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Enjoyed the floppy disc illustration - if that doesn't date one, nothing will!

George Simpson
George Simpson September 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Well done Jim. Very thoughtful and ever so true. Don't think someone with less experience could have written it. Opps, did I just dis the millennials? :0)

Tim Schreier
Tim Schreier September 5, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Interesting take on the subject of prejudice. It leaves me to wonder is "ageism" the new "racism" or "sexism"... I also wonder if articles like this were common in the women's rights and civil rights era (not to compare them but it does make one wonder). Does it leave the door shut for those not willing to assimilate? I think I understand what you are trying to communicate and I applaud you for it but still, prejudice is prejudice... Prejudice, of any kind, has no place in our society.

Tim Schreier
New York, NY

Uriah Av-Ron
Uriah Av-Ron September 5, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Great piece, Jim!

I think we need a '40 OVER 40' list for digital marketing to highlight the accomplishments of those north of 40.

Brant Emery
Brant Emery September 5, 2012 at 9:15 AM

Well according to this, I was a digital native before digital even came about. ;-)