Dear therapist: I'm facing ageism in the workplace

Making sense of the world we inhabit

By Prateeksha Shetty

Published: Thu 10 Feb 2022, 11:00 PM

I’m facing ageism in my workplace. I’m the youngest employee in a professional environment that seems to be filled with older staff and I feel like my age becomes a barrier a lot of times to be able to do what I want to do. If I was older, this issue would not be there.

— Name Withheld

Dear Writer, I can sense how frustrating this must be for you! Age-based discrimination is often subtle, easily be ignored or minimised and can be tricky to report against. Unfortunately, as you must know, we cannot change others’ attitude and beliefs and can only work on ourselves. While it is definitely unfair that your opinion is not valued, there is very little that you can do in this instance to change the dynamics at work. You may continue to take initiative and put forth your ideas, but may also have to come to terms with the fact that it may not be considered. If you feel quite strongly about this, you can begin to explore other opportunities that are known for their innovation and open-mindedness.

Age, however, is not constant and with time, you will also be experienced enough to be taken seriously! Moreover, as time passes, you will develop work friendships that can help your colleagues change the way they attend to your suggestions. Until then, you have to bide your time and choose your battles.

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