Alastair Majury Shares His Experiences

Ageism is usually defined as stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. In most cases it means you think or judge someone as being “too old” to perform a job at the rate you prefer. Reverse Ageism accordingly is where people think or judge someone as being “too young” to perform a job.

The vast majority of Alastair Majury’s clients and companies that I have worked for have been great, however at one former client (a relatively small firm), I did suffer from reverse ageism.

I was part of a small team, with two senior people (both over 40), myself (in my early 30s), and a junior member of the team (also in their 40s). I had more relevant experience than the junior member of staff.

Unfortunately the senior members of the team favoured the more junior member of staff, it wasn’t even a case of meritocracy over hierarchy. With the quality of work from the junior member staff reflecting his more junior status, and lack of experience, sadly the discrimination against myself from the two more senior members of staff against myself meant they overlooked this to the detriment of the project, and the company.

It meant that inaccurate information was sent to a third party, whilst the work I produced was given a clean bill of health by an independent third party. And the work led by the more junior member of staff had to be corrected later at greater expense, than when it could have been corrected after I had spotted the mistakes and raised the issue with the more senior members of the team.

Sadly reverse ageism needlessly cost this company money, time, effort, and reputation.

Regardless of how you use ageism — towards older or younger people — it shows a lack of respect. It also shows a lack of self-confidence in your work.

Any form of discrimination is wrong and can impact on the mental health of those who are working in such an environment.

Here’s the deal: Whether it’s age, race, gender, ethnicity, or even fashion sense, everyone should get a fair shake. I don’t care how old a person is, if they are a good worker, I want them on my team! If there is a wiz kid intern at 17, who happens to know more about the industry trends happening right now than my 20-year veteran colleague, then that’s the guy I’m working with today.

Is maturity an issue? Of course! But that’s another topic of discussion.

In reality, judging people on what you perceive their abilities to be, before they’re even showcased, makes you look completely narrow-minded. If you are working with a younger person and their maturity is an issue, then by all means address that. But if you can’t work with someone because you think they are too young to be in your presence, then you should remember what is was like when you first started out and had a drive to succeed.

So everyone needs to play their part to stop discrimination and bullying, for the good of the team, customers, and company.

Have you suffered from reverse ageism or any other form of discrimination or bullying in the work place?

How did you manage it?

Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane, and is an IT Consultant working across the country. Alastair is also a volunteer officer at the local Boys’ Brigade company, a charity which focuses on enriching the lives of children and young people, and building a stronger community.

I am a Chartered Member of CISI, which is the UK’s leading securities and investment professional body. Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane.

I am a Chartered Member of CISI, which is the UK’s leading securities and investment professional body. Alastair Majury resides locally in Dunblane.