“I want to find a place where I don’t have to work so hard anymore. I’m 6 years from retirement. With my experience, I should be able to get top dollar for my next job.”
Do you see the absolute logical disaster in that statement? He wants to work less, slow down preparing for retirement, and be paid as much as ever. I hear these words at least once a week. They are the prelude to disaster. This guy may get another job, but he will be fired if he “doesn’t work so hard anymore”.
No one wants to pay you to relax and take it easy. They want your best effort. They want miracles. If you decide it is time to slow down, then step down to do that. If not, someone who wants to work hard is going to leave tire tracks up your back. He will run right over you to climb his career ladder. Your boss will cheer him on and give him your chair.
A lot of people complain about age discrimination. There is a fair amount of it, but more often the problem is that the young guy is obviously determined to excel. He commits to hard work. His record shows 50, 60 and 70 hour weeks. The older person literally says in an interview, “I’ve learned how to work smart and not hard. I don’t need to put in more than 40 hours a week anymore.” The boss who is putting in 70 hours a week will not believe the old guy can do it. Even worse, often the older guy has a history of declining output.
Who would you hire? The person whose output is increasing, or decreasing?
Especially if you are over 40 (or 50, or 60) like me, you have to show in every second of your interview that you can outwork, outlast, and outperform any of those young guys. Your message is that they don’t know the meaning of accomplishment. If you prove you won’t relax and take it easy, you’ll get the job. It doesn’t matter who you are competing against. If you relax, you’ll get tire tracks up your back.
About the last two weeks
This series is about what makes or breaks a job hunt. Reality and the real world. My list of the reasons people get a new job or struggle includes:
- Do you have a Helium II attitude?
- Are you hurting?
- Are you ruthlessly exploiting your advantages?
- Are you measuring up to the competition?
- Are you using outdated or overly niche skills?
- Are you really worth 10x what you’re paid?
- Do you carefully curate how people perceive you?
- Are you continuing to polish your skills?
- Will you work hard, or get run over?
Think about your job search. Just think. And then take notes about your conclusions.