Who Are You Calling Mature?
When you think of a “mature person,” you almost certainly think of someone much older than you are. No matter what your current age is, “mature” is always several years ahead of you. If you are in your forties, or fifties, or even in your sixties, you probably feel quite spry. And why shouldn't you? You are in the prime of your life. You are well past the awkwardness of young adulthood — okay, perhaps very well past it. You're settled down, have more than a few years of work experience under your belt, and you are ready to approach your job search with the self-confidence you didn't have when you were in your twenties or even in your thirties.
If you are worried about being the oldest one in the office, don't be. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people in the labor force who are 55 and older will increase by 49.1 percent through the year 2014.
Then you go on your first job interview and realize the interviewer is several years younger than you are — possibly even half your age. You find that she doesn't look at you and think of all the experience you would bring to the job. The interviewer instead looks at you, mentally calculates your age, and wonders how you will deal with all the “modern” technology in the office. This is in spite of the fact that you have been using computers for many years. She assumes you will resist learning new skills, regardless of your continually taking classes in order to improve your skills. She worries that you will be taking many days off for doctors' appointments although you haven't been healthier in your entire life.
Your interviewer, unfortunately, is afflicted with those prejudices and preconceived notions mentioned in the introduction to this chapter. Note the use of the word “afflicted.” The interviewer's inability to recognize and reluctance to take advantage of the talents that mature workers possess can truly be detrimental to the employer, who may miss out on getting a highly qualified job candidate. Of course, it will make your job search difficult since you will have to work very hard to prove that you are the best applicant for the job.