Subscribe

Forum

How old is too old?

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

How old is too old?

Postby Don » Wed Nov 10, 2004 9:05 am

While answering another question on this board, I came across an issue I think is interesting and too rarely discussed - age.

Specifically, when moving on from a post-doc position in industry (or even possibly academia) one moves into what is still a relatively junior position. My sense is that many companies (and universities?) find it difficult to imagine a person in their late 30's taking on a junior position. For that reason, all other tings being equal, a person in their late 20's will be hired before the person in their late 30's.

What are your perspectives?

D
Don
 

How old is too old?

Postby John Fetzer » Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:00 pm

This may be slightly true, but you can craft your resume and cover letters to address this. Companies, especially, are looking for skills in hand and people who fit in. Emphasize that you are flexible. If you interview, reemphasize that and say you know that most systems reward performance and that will adjust itself with time.

Most people involved in hiring and interviewing will be older, late 30s up into their 50s or 60s. They do not notice the slight age differences as much as you do and care less about it. They are more interested in meeting their own job requirements, which is to fill the position with someone able to do a good job and not be a problem employee.

John
User avatar
John Fetzer
 
Posts: 588
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

How old is too old?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:55 pm

While I agree with John that the focus is always on filling the present need, I think that hiring managers have a tendency to want to fill positions with what would be considered a "normal" hire. A normal hire often means someone of the expected age. When a person goes back to work after a long leave of absence, or has had excessive schooling, postdocs, etc, than they are not so normal any longer, and I do recall often seeing some hesitance from employers. I wouldn't call it outright age discimination, but it sure seems as if older candidates are put aside as sort of a special category and not the "normal" person to fill certain jobs.

Dave Jensen, Moderator
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
User avatar
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

How old is too old?

Postby GC » Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:07 pm

I am suffering from this problem. I switched careers after academic/private consulting jobs during 25+ years to biophysics by completing a Ph.D. I did 3 years as a postdoc, I have 3 published papers in good journals, two submitted. I have had several interviews and evenr offers, but the hiring peoples always assume I have to begin by the first step or they assume I am too old. So I have had to reject the offers because they did not take into account my long experience, or they have rejected me because
(I think) I am too old. I am at the end of the rope and do not know what to do, just keep with the same procedure hoping that sometime the perfect fit will come?
GC
 

How old is too old?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Nov 10, 2004 3:02 pm

GC,

As I said in another post, academic scientists ALWAYS assume that they will be getting a job offer much higher in the organization than they actually do. It is a tragic mistake for many of them. They had the opportunity to get their feet wet in industry, and they continue to wait for the "more senior" position.

My recommendation is to get into industry, via any offer that looks like you can maintain your quality of life, and then move up the ladder.


Dave Jensen
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
User avatar
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

How old is too old?

Postby Dave M. » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:29 pm

So how old is too old for a PhD position with postdoc experience? Is mid-30 considered normal hire for the first industry position?
Dave M.
 

How old is too old?

Postby John Fetzer » Wed Nov 10, 2004 4:31 pm

This is right on target. The academic experience means little or nothing as far as useable industrial experience. It is what you can do on the job you are interviewing for, not what you might have done somewhere else.

Let go of those overly high expectations or you will never get into industry. You must remember that if your experience really is worth it, then your employer will give you larger salary increases and quicker promotions - but the proof has to be shown in the work, not on your resume.

John
User avatar
John Fetzer
 
Posts: 588
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

How old is too old?

Postby Dave Jensen » Wed Nov 10, 2004 5:19 pm

Hi Dave,

There is nothing wrong with mid-30's for a Research Scientist (first PhD level job) in industry. The only difficulty you would have getting that job is if you have done more than 4-5 years of postdoc, and that only means it is a bit trickier, not impossible.

Dave Jensen
"One of the most powerful networking practices is to provide immediate value to a new connection. This means the moment you identify a way to help someone, take action." - Lewis Howes
User avatar
Dave Jensen
Site Moderator
 
Posts: 7875
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm


Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests