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Young businesswoman upset at work (Berc/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Young businesswoman upset at work (Berc/Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Setback at work? Here's how to regain your confidence Add to ...

Barbara Moses: You also need to come to terms with the loss of status, being a "formerly important person" as some have described The good news is that if people age gracefully they usually don't have the same ego and status needs. Instead of measuring worth in terms of job title or stock options, they evaluate their happiness in terms of giving back or doing work in tune with values.


Comment From J Henry

There is a real emphasis on the CEO being youthful now too which pushes the age issue. And an emphasis on the 'Best under 40' etc. Why not just value the best period?


Barbara Moses: I agree! Unfortunately everyone seems to be having a love affair with youth which makes many older workers feel shabby .


Comment From Lesley

How do I explain a demotion at my last job to a prospective employer?


Barbara Moses: The wording of your question implies that it is something shameful. And if you believe this and act that way, it is something shameful.


Barbara Moses: But in fact there is nothing to be ashamed. People take demotions for many reasons. Everyone understand that times are tough. But some people actually choose demotions in order to free up head space to devote to things which are important to them. For example, in my last book many very accomplished women said they chose smaller jobs so they could pursue hobbies, volunteer activities, look after relatives, and so on. Not only did they not regret these decisions, they were extremely proud of them.


Comment From Louisa M.

My demotion has left me so demoralized I've considered throwing in the towel. Your advice would be appreciated.


Barbara Moses: Why has it left you so demoralized? List the reasons- shame in front of colleagues/friends? Feeling you disappointed a parent? Loss of status? Drill down to identify the real reasons. And then counter those self-statements- People will think less of me, for example- with a more truthful statement. For example, How do you know people will think less of you? Do you want to be liked because of your job?...


Barbara Moses: If these feeling of depression persist, I suggest you consult a counsellor who can help you work through the issues and come to terms with them. Good luck.


Comment From TD

Barbara, would going the contract route be a means of mitigating the effects of ageism and potentially overcoming the effects of a demotion? I ask this because the company should then be evaluating you on the basis of what you can bring to them for that contract period and they don't have to take into consideration other aspects which would go along with being a full time employee. Also, a demotion does not necessarily have to be indicated if you are selling your skills and not your position. Thoughts on this? Thanks.


Barbara Moses: I agree with you. many feel that contract wok gives them an opportunity to say, "I am renting my skills. I will show how good they are." From the company point of view, there is less investment and concern about your "run way" potential. This can be win win, in other words.


Comment From Denise

Barbara, what's your advice to those of us who are mid-life and haven't made it to the management level? I've put my family and work-life balance first, am now in my late-30s, and I'm wondering whether it's too late to show the dedication and enthusiasm that's required to be noticed as a star employee. It seems the company only wants to provide development opportunities to those who have been labelled high achievers.


Barbara Moses: I know many women who devoted their late twenties and thirties to family, and then turned around and said, "It's my time now." They went back and did indeed climb the ladder. You need to communicate to your boss that that is your wish. If your organization does not accept that, it may be time for you to look for another employer. Savvy employers recognize increasingly that many women cycle in and out of intense career engagement.


Comment From J Henry

Was going to add an idea might be to find cos that don't subscribe to the latest management fads and have older CEOs, hence likely an older management structure. Also I think a boss only 10 yrs younger works ok. It is the first time managers at 30 who have no clue about anything. They only want to hire younger employees as they fear an older employee might be more knowledgeable and a threat. They also want to be able to showcase the management skills they learned in school on 20-somethings supposedly developing mercurial superstars. Right. Work is all about empire building not employee development or proper utilization.

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