does age matter?

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does age matter?

Postby marie holand » Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:19 pm

Hi, I spent 6 years postdoc'ing without having many publications (in spite of being in a "good" lab and at a good US university). I am now 38 years old and came to the realization that instead of having waited for my science 'breakthrough' I should have revisited my career years ago. I am a good scientist, love what I do and have many skills but am I now too old to be considered for an alternative career e.g. in consulting? Are my chances limited because so many of my younger and excellent collegues are competing with me for the same jobs? What can I do to increase my chances to get hired? Thanks!
marie holand

does age matter?

Postby Kim » Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:50 pm

I do not believe that age is an issue. However, being an unproductive postdoc for six years is a very serious issue. How can you prove that you are a good scientist without good record of publications? You need to prepare to answer this question during an interview.
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does age matter?

Postby John Mastro » Wed Mar 02, 2005 7:34 pm

Childhood living is easy to do,
the things that I wanted, I bought them for you,
Graceless lady, you know who I am,
You know I can't let you slide through my hands.

Wild Horses, could't drag me away
Wild wild horses, couldn't drag me away.
John Mastro

does age matter?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Mar 02, 2005 10:51 pm

Hi Marie,

Sure, age differences between you and your "competition" for jobs will make you feel a bit uncomfortable, and some companies actually feel better hiring a more traditional candidate (not blatant age discrimination though). However, you can find other companies who will appreciate your maturity and additional years of experience. The questions you will have to answer, the really tough ones, will have more to do with your level of productivity. Consulting firms are tough and they usually demand the best candidates . . . This does NOT preclude you from landing one, but you'll really need to have superb interviewing skills,

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does age matter?

Postby Emil Chuck » Fri Mar 04, 2005 9:24 am

You're never too old to change careers, but you need a vision to know what you really want and a plan/map to get you there.

List what skills you have and can tout. List the skills of the jobs you want (that means, read articles on NW on these careers, go to your professional development office, network and get some informational interviews). See how they match up with your skills. If that the job you really want, find out ways you can gain the experience you need to prove you have demonstrated excellent skills in that area.

There are people who jump from t-t or tenured faculty positions to take up consulting positions, so age really is not that important. What is going to be important is knowing what YOU can bring to their company.

You can't really do all of this in a month. Just as your "productivity" in science is measured in terms of your papers, similar success and productivity will be evaluated in whatever job you do.

Resource: WSJ Career Change article archive.
Emil Chuck
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