Building Stronger Teams
Technology’s Problem with Ageism
If you’re like most young people, the thought of working with an older developer or software engineer sounds boring. Damn these guys are slow; they don’t dress well; they’re fat; they don’t want to learn anything new; they’re crotchety curmudgeons who don’t listen; Jesus why did we ever hire these guys in the first place!
On the flip side, most of us “old guys” have some of our own thoughts about working with younger devs. God these kids are fast, but they write shit code. All they want to do is gum up with works with crap frameworks that keep changing every 5 minutes. And when you try to show them something they don’t know, they look at you with disgust. Who the hell hired these kids in the first place?!
You already know which side you’re on. Maybe you don’t feel this way personally, but there are a lot of us who have been in these situations depending on who the co-worker is, young or older.
I Never Got A Job From A Poor Person
This age-old adage can be adapted to say: “I never learned anything from a newbie.”
Even when I was younger, in my 20’s, there were people, old people (I considered them old anyway), that I hung out with. I hung out with them because either I lived in their home as a renter, or I just liked hearing their stories about life. They were all stories that were very different than my own. People who’d grown up through the Great Depression, experienced two World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, and who looked at the so-called “Great Recession” as a cake-walk. They had a perspective about life that gave me not just some life lessons, but also hope that today’s world isn’t really going to hell in a hand basket.
In my 30’s I’d started and run several successful small tech companies. But I didn’t start really coding professionally until I was almost 40. By then I was probably what some of you would call “old”. The cool thing about getting into this industry at that middle age was that I was kind of looked at indifferently by both young and old as I got up to speed writing code within an enterprise environment.