Age discrimination is illegal in the hiring process, but it's not illegal for employers to replace high-paid workers with younger employees who come with smaller salary demands.
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With technology constantly changing, older workers face the stereotype of being stale and out of date with the latest trends, which is why it's incumbent upon employees at any age to use an "Occupreneur" approach for remaining relevant, invaluable and employed.
An OccupreneurTM is someone who manages his or her career as an entrepreneur would manage a business. Entrepreneurs don't sit around waiting for someone to make decisions about their careers. They stay on their toes by reinventing and finding new ways to serve their clientele. And they let their revenue streams serve as feedback on whether their approach is working or if adjustments are needed.
If you're an employee who feels that your career is dependent on the decisions made by others, or feel that you have no power over your employment status, it might be time to change your frame of mind.
Attitude is everything: If you believe you're a valuable asset, then act like one. Employers will take not of your confidence and skill and reinforce your value.
Here are some steps to take today that will put you in the driver's seat for the remainder of you career:
Never be complacent. Complacency is the silent career killer. Even if your job becomes second nature or mundane, it doesn't give you a license to fall into a pattern of showing up, keeping your head down, doing your job, and going home. This is a major trap that is sure to end in termination.
If it's been a while since you've had any variety in your daily routine, then it's highly probable that you're at a dead end and it might be time to shake things up before termination becomes reality.
Embrace change Change is hard for the majority, but it's necessary for career development. Adjustments in workplace processes, procedures, and personnel create an unknown that can cause fear and resistance among employees, but it's important to stay adaptive.
Change is a must for organizations and its employees to remain relevant. When management is met with resistance from workers, they will look to eliminate the opposition and hire new workers. Being a willing party to the evolution of your organization makes you a leader and an asset.
Solicit and accept ongoing feedback. Unlike an entrepreneur, revenues (or compensation) is not the only determinant of a job well done. Most people are afraid to hear what others have to say, but by the time you receive your yearly review, it could be too late to save your job. There is no better way to manage your career than by knowing where you stand. Try soliciting this information in the course of regular conversation when appropriate and make sure you frame your questions around your desire to be a supportive ally in the organization's success.
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Speak with managers, colleagues and those who report to you-they are the equivalent of an entrepreneur's clients and all of them offer a unique perspective. Not everyone will be honest or willing to participate, so be grateful for those who offer constructive feedback as that information gives you an opportunity to make necessary adjustments.
Wall Street veteran Lindsay Broder, CPC, is president of Key Coaching, a New York firm that specializes in career and employment consulting for individuals and companies.