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9/21/2016 | 9:12:55 AM
50 is the new 60
Maybe a side issue, but I would just say that once you're the wrong side of 50 you should try to avoid wearing a hoodie in a workplace scenario. It's unseemly.
9/21/2016 | 9:47:28 AM
An ass for every seat or a seat for every ass
I traded a broken down car once.  I asked the salesman if they were going to junk it.  He said no in our business we say there is an ass for every seat.  In IT, there is a seat for every ass.  You just have to find it.  I am 74 and have never been un employed.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
9/21/2016 | 12:09:27 PM
Re: An ass for every seat or a seat for every ass
74 and still working? That's inspiring. What kind of work do you do?
9/21/2016 | 12:24:10 PM
Re: An ass for every seat or a seat for every ass
IT Enterprise monitoring.  Sometimes IT development. Not physical like raking hot asphalt. I will quit when it is no longer fun.
9/21/2016 | 2:49:19 PM
Re: An ass for every seat or a seat for every ass
I think anyone who stays employed in IT and tech is upskilling themselves, whether they realize it or not. The technology changes and if you are supporting that technology or depending on it in any way, you have to be able to adapt. 

In my first job as a journalist (sportswriter at a daily newspaper), I carried a portable typewriter and what was essentially the pre-cursor to a fax machine (weighed at least 25 pounds) in a suitcase to every major ballgame I covered. 

In many respects, technology has made the job much easier but in most, it has made it more stressful and hard. I have had to learn a lot of new ways of putting my journalism skills to use, but the basic skill set remains the same. 

I don't think that is necessarily true in tech. It seems like the skill sets themselves are changing in a software-driven world. 
9/21/2016 | 11:03:22 AM
Re: 50 is the new 60
Anecdotal evidence suggests that keeping current with technology should ensure a long career. 

Sadly, industry practice is also well documented. Anyone over 40 is viewed as a cost, not an asset. Companies prefer to avoid costs. Until managers videw older workers as experience that can be purchased at a discount, expect no change to industry practice. 
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
9/21/2016 | 12:13:37 PM
Re: 50 is the new 60
Yeah, dress code is a whole sub-issue. I still wear suits to conferences (as you can see from this video). I often feel overdressed. Better overdressed than underdressed, I say. But some say overdressing in the workplace can make you a target of age discrimination. 

You want to stay up with the fashions while not being this guy:


Karl Hakkarainen
Karl Hakkarainen
9/21/2016 | 2:53:39 PM
More interested in the work than the job
I accepted a full-time position with a web software development company. Some of my co-workers are 40 years my junior. 

One of these days, I'll ask my boss why he hired me. 

I suspect that my background with a variety of operating systems, products, and development methodologies, including recent experience with each, got me to the interview. I get to work with good and smart people who are trying to solve interesting problems. 

One of the things that I've done is to re-implement some tools that I used 30 years ago, but coupled with some REST API calls, to solve a modern integration problem. It's a bit sad that we haven't solved that original problem. The good news, though, is that it left a job open for me.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
9/21/2016 | 5:20:59 PM
Re: More interested in the work than the job
Ongoing problems create ongoing work solving them. 

And technology has a tendency to be cyclical. Lessons learned on old systems can be surprisingly applicable to new systems. 
9/21/2016 | 3:56:41 PM
upskilling staying current, etc.
Not sure we need to upskill.  But, staying current is key.  I just joined a book club where I work.  As a contractor, I had to buy the book and I cannot bill for the time attending the book club. But, I need to understand the subject.

I remeber years ago watching a TV reporter interview some guys IBM was going to lay offr.  They were COBOL programmers. They felt they should have been trained in the new laguages, etc.  I thought at the time, grab a book and train yourself.
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
9/21/2016 | 5:19:50 PM
Re: upskilling staying current, etc.
Absolutey. Ultimately we are responsible for our own careers. 
9/22/2016 | 5:11:53 PM
Reinventing Yourself - And Your Company
Great video, Mitch.

I decided I needed a change in my career several years ago. I wanted to move from leading an engineering team to a more outward-facing CTO role.

It's hard for engineers (like me) to move into a role that is heavily focused on writing, speaking and customer visits, but that's what I wanted to do. For reference, in my career up to 2011 I had a total of 6 conference appearances, with no blogs, articles or videos. I was able to visit a number of our key customers, and that helped in my later role.

Fortunately, at the same time I wanted to make a change we were re-inventing our company. We were moving from making network appliances to focusing on NFV and SDN software. There was a company need for an evangelist that matched my desire for change.

I was lucky to have some great support inside and outside the company, including from some of the folks at LR and HR. I am now in the role that I wanted and am having fun with it.

For comparison, in 2016 (so far) I have 8 conference appearances (with 4 coming up), 12 videos, 2 speeches, 7 articles and 30 blogs, and numerous customer visits.

It is possible to make changes in what you are doing, and you may not have to change your company. You will have to change yourself.


Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
9/22/2016 | 6:02:05 PM
Re: Reinventing Yourself - And Your Company
Big change!

Early on in my career I encountered an executive who switched from a developer to a marketing job. He said he didn't want to spend his whole life staring at a screen. 

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