On the wrong side of the table. Matt Heusser on being in IT over the age of 35:
No, what struck me were the people.
All of the people I met — and I mean all of them — had this sort of early-twenties look to them. Like the characters in Microserfs, these were “firstees”, young adults in the middle of the first things like life: First job out of college, first house, first child, first mini-van.
All of them.
The google t-shirts, while not universal, were ubiquitous; you couldn’t walk twenty feet without running into someone in Google-wear. Conversations about relocation tended to center on corporate housing, which sounded well … something between a good room and an apartment.
Well, I should be careful, here. Every now and again you’d run into someone in his early 30’s, trying to act inconspicuous, perhaps with a beard, glasses, or both.
These were the managers, almost certainly on their first management job.
I mean, these are people who refer to the extra weight you gain in the first six month as the “freshman fifteen.”
With my grey hair and, and, well, senior sixty, I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb.
I’ve sat in on a couple of those interviews, with a resume that stretches back over a decade and that still lists technologies like RoboHelp, WinRunner, and OpenVMS in the furthest reaches of ancient history (the 20th Century? How….quaint).
You know what else the urchins have highlighted? The fact that I have an English and Philosophy degree, and not a modern 21st century computer science degree like they do.
What should someone on the other side of 35 do? Pretty much what Matt says. But I’d like to offer the following additional tips, old man:
- Stop making allusions to Mel Brooks movies and go find Harold and Kumar films. Suffer through them and make some appropriate quips. It’s for your career, so some sacrifice is in order. Remember: If it’s older than Napoleon Dynamite, you might as well be quoting Spencer Tracy.
- Clash of the Titans and Conan the Barbarian both sucked because those damn kids only know the remakes.
- Pink Floyd? Hardly. Sublime meaning and musical depth to your future bosses comes from Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas. Put some of that on your iTunes, senior. But lie and say they’re on your Spotify list.
- Take your hearing aids out. It’s not like you need to hear the questions since you’re just going to tell them about how you want to get CI experience. They don’t have to know you hope the medical benefits include a cochlear implant.
- Don’t think it’s cool to talk about Dungeons and Dragons. These children have never seen graph paper, even in math class.
- Don’t tell them about your blog. Anything over 140 characters long is boring, square.
- Mention reading anything on paper at your own risk.
…. …., … ….
I SAID, “GOOD LUCK, OLD MAN.”