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Old 09-07-10, 06:44 PM   #1
TriEngineer
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Age and the art of pompousness

I suppose this is the place for these types of discussions. I've been on BF for a number of years now, ever since 24 or something like that. I have been through several career and education path and now find myself at 31, working in a IT related job that I don't particularly enjoy, while my love for bicycling and green engineering are left in their place. I did a graduate degree in sustainability and I have worked for a number of years at a LBS. Here is my reason for posting.

to those that are my seniors, do people with more experience consider it pompous that younger folks always stick how old they are within the second or third sentence of your conversation in an attempt to somehow gain recognition? Is this bad? I am confused because sadly i am one of those people, I tell people I am 31 in some false hope that my conversation or my ideas are somehow taken more seriously. how much of it is just the fact i am in the wrong field and I need to realign myself?

clearly this is not something that is keeping me up at night, but I do think about it every now and then.

I am humbly asking for your opinion, i hope your response will reflect that understanding, thanks so much.
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Old 09-07-10, 07:02 PM   #2
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I'd rcommend not mentioning your age. Just have confidence in your work and your skill set. You'll be recognized for your efforts, not your age. I know older workers don't always take younger people seriously enough, however the truly successful ones don't let it bother them and succeed with their own ambition and skills. Some of the best Engineers at our workplace are the younger ones that come with fresh ideas and can think outside the box.
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Old 09-07-10, 07:08 PM   #3
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I find age to be irrelevant. Talent is the engine and motivation the fuel. If I'm interviewing someone who's infatuated with their age, positive or negative, it's a red flag. Smart people who get things done, that's what I need.
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Old 09-07-10, 07:14 PM   #4
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get off my lawn, kid
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Old 09-07-10, 07:33 PM   #5
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Stand on your skills and talents. That's where your recognition will come from. Age is irrelevant.
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Old 09-07-10, 07:58 PM   #6
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Put a new spin on old theories and call it progress

Now back to your"time out"chair.
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Old 09-07-10, 08:04 PM   #7
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get off my lawn, kid
sure thing gramps, we will be back later once you are sleeping to toilet paper your house.
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Old 09-07-10, 09:34 PM   #8
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dilligaf?

I've worked IT for 18 years, starting as the young guy in the shop finally becoming the old guy in the shop. Never once have I heard anyone "dropping" their age. Maybe it's just you.
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Old 09-07-10, 10:02 PM   #9
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I am responding because I hope I can help you. I turned 52 this past week. I started as a structural engineer (designing high rise buildings in Texas). I worked 15 hour days to be good at my profession. But, like you, I found myself wishing for gray hair. I felt that's what it took to get my designs appreciated. Years later I now realize it was "paying my dues". The number one thing I hope you understand is don't lose your passion. It will serve you well in the very near future. People "of experience" with passion are extremely rare and rise to the top very quickly. You stumble along beating your head against the wall and then,,,, all of a sudden people want to know what you think. And, if you are proactive, you realize you are in the prime of your earnings potiential and you'll charge them buttloads for your expertise. Battle on to be the best at what you do, make your money, retire early, ride bikes alot.

Good luck.
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Old 09-08-10, 04:12 AM   #10
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One guy, a Z 'specialist' dropped his age when trying to sell me a car. As soon as I saw him I could pretty much tell how old he was anyway but was giving him the benefit of the doubt. When he patted a particular car I was sitting in and told me, "I went 55 mph in this baby, BACKWARDS!" I stared at him with no expression on my face for a while, told him that was impressive since the car has no gears in reverse and told him I had to go. Yep. Goes with the age. He's 20.
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Old 09-08-10, 05:31 AM   #11
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sure thing gramps, we will be back later once you are sleeping to toilet paper your house.
just toss me the rolls, at my age I need all I can get to wipe up my drool
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Old 09-08-10, 07:53 AM   #12
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just toss me the rolls, at my age I need all I can get to wipe up my drool
bahahaha! you might be old but you've lost none of your humour...okay maybe just your bladder control
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Old 09-08-10, 07:56 AM   #13
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bahahaha! you might be old but you've lost none of your humour...okay maybe just your bladder control
bahahaha! you might be young...of course you're young, you still haven't learned that drool doesn't come from the bladder!

Now excuse me, I gotta pee again.
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Old 09-08-10, 07:58 AM   #14
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I am responding because I hope I can help you. I turned 52 this past week. I started as a structural engineer (designing high rise buildings in Texas). I worked 15 hour days to be good at my profession. But, like you, I found myself wishing for gray hair. I felt that's what it took to get my designs appreciated. Years later I now realize it was "paying my dues". The number one thing I hope you understand is don't lose your passion. It will serve you well in the very near future. People "of experience" with passion are extremely rare and rise to the top very quickly. You stumble along beating your head against the wall and then,,,, all of a sudden people want to know what you think. And, if you are proactive, you realize you are in the prime of your earnings potiential and you'll charge them buttloads for your expertise. Battle on to be the best at what you do, make your money, retire early, ride bikes alot.

Good luck.
Hi, that was a very nice response, I keep holding on to that future in my head, to be working at a place where my intrinsic happiness matches my pay. I have yet to find that. hopefully it will come!

Best,
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Old 09-08-10, 07:59 AM   #15
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dilligaf?

I've worked IT for 18 years, starting as the young guy in the shop finally becoming the old guy in the shop. Never once have I heard anyone "dropping" their age. Maybe it's just you.
yes but where as you've worked at the same location for 18 years, I've changed profession and grad school more times than I like to admit, I work in IT yes, but this is a rather recent development and I don't think it has much to do with my current state of flux.
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Old 09-08-10, 08:13 AM   #16
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I suppose this is the place for these types of discussions. I've been on BF for a number of years now, ever since 24 or something like that. I have been through several career and education path and now find myself at 31, working in a IT related job that I don't particularly enjoy, while my love for bicycling and green engineering are left in their place. I did a graduate degree in sustainability and I have worked for a number of years at a LBS. Here is my reason for posting.

to those that are my seniors, do people with more experience consider it pompous that younger folks always stick how old they are within the second or third sentence of your conversation in an attempt to somehow gain recognition? Is this bad? I am confused because sadly i am one of those people, I tell people I am 31 in some false hope that my conversation or my ideas are somehow taken more seriously. how much of it is just the fact i am in the wrong field and I need to realign myself?

clearly this is not something that is keeping me up at night, but I do think about it every now and then.

I am humbly asking for your opinion, i hope your response will reflect that understanding, thanks so much.

I have photo albums older than you kid.
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Old 09-08-10, 08:13 AM   #17
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Now get off my lawn.
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Old 09-08-10, 08:25 AM   #18
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Now get off my lawn.
I was WAITING for your reply on this thread. My life is now complete
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Old 09-08-10, 02:39 PM   #19
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I never mention my age anywhere. I understand why you do, but if you are younger or older than me and take the time to let me know I think to myself "Why does this person think I care.". Especially when they are older.
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Old 09-08-10, 04:10 PM   #20
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Tri - if this is a serious question... just know your age has little or no relevance to your experience and expertise. Young folks will just think you are being an old fart and old folks will consider you a stupid, young whippersnapper. I work with engineers, doctors, chemist etc. Trust me, you never have to mention your age to get respect for your expertise as what comes out of your mouth or the work you do, should speak for itself. The only people impressed by knowing your age, are people who have no clue what you do.

That said, I remind people here all the time that I am old... not that it makes any difference at all; I only hope it makes them go softer on me 'cause of my old age (and sex - always mention the sex...).

Edited to add: I hope you are not one of those young engineers who thinks they know better than the older guys. I see that all the time, the kids right out of school think they know best. Never ever discount actual work experience and knowledge and expertise learned by doing and not just reading it out of a book. Find yourself an older engineer and let him become your mentor. If you want to be taken seriously by the older guys, you need to become more like them.

BTW I rather have one old fart who has done it all than 6 wet behind the wars kids that are know it alls. Just saying...
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Old 09-08-10, 04:12 PM   #21
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My lawn is a wreck after this summer. So you don't actually have to get off it.
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Old 09-08-10, 05:00 PM   #22
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... just know your age has little or no relevance to your experience and expertise. Young folks will just think you are being an old fart and old folks will consider you a stupid, young whippersnapper......
This. Alarms should always go off whenever you encounter someone who relies on their "credentials" to get respect rather than what they do.

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... If you want to be taken seriously by the older guys, you need to know what the hell you are talking about
Fify.

To get anywhere, you need to understand where people are coming from -- which means you can intelligently discuss how things are, how they got to be that way, and what direction you see them going. BTW, a sure sign of someone who doesn't know much is they think they know a lot. If you actually know your shti, people will naturally want to work with you.
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Old 09-09-10, 12:31 AM   #23
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One thing that always turn me off to young folks, especially fresh-out-of-school PhDs is they think they know everything. They're always yacking away about what they know, but they don't realize that what they know is only 0.001% of the really important stuff. here's the key: They're insecure and always trying to prove themselves..

My suggestion is to not try to climb to quickly too fast. You really need to take inventory of what you really do know, and even more importantly, what you don't know and most important off all... what you don't know you don't know. That's the secret. Be confident in your strengths, but also be very aware and wary of what's around you. The old-farts at the top didn't get there by accident, they have something that got them there that the other old-farts who are still working the mail-room don't have. Learn what that difference is and pick it up.

One must be observant, tuned in to your environments, be resourceful and flexible. Talk less, listen more. Figure out what it is that would make a difference in the projects of your co-workers and deliver it. That'll earn you more respect than endless amounts of dlck-wagging and yacking.
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Old 09-09-10, 05:49 AM   #24
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One thing that always turn me off to young folks, especially fresh-out-of-school PhDs is they think they know everything. They're always yacking away about what they know, but they don't realize that what they know is only 0.001% of the really important stuff. here's the key: They're insecure and always trying to prove themselves..
OP confesses to this, but the mere fact started this thread indicates he knows he has something to figure out.

Hey Tri! Don't try so hard to gain recognition -- overcompensating hurts rather than helps you. When you hang out with people who are any good, you'll find that they don't try to prove anything, they're very open about what they don't know, and they don't try to impress people with what they do know. Just be yourself and you'll be fine.
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Old 09-09-10, 06:32 AM   #25
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One thing that always turn me off to young folks, especially fresh-out-of-school PhDs is they think they know everything. They're always yacking away about what they know, but they don't realize that what they know is only 0.001% of the really important stuff. here's the key: They're insecure and always trying to prove themselves..

My suggestion is to not try to climb to quickly too fast. You really need to take inventory of what you really do know, and even more importantly, what you don't know and most important off all... what you don't know you don't know. That's the secret. Be confident in your strengths, but also be very aware and wary of what's around you. The old-farts at the top didn't get there by accident, they have something that got them there that the other old-farts who are still working the mail-room don't have. Learn what that difference is and pick it up.

One must be observant, tuned in to your environments, be resourceful and flexible. Talk less, listen more. Figure out what it is that would make a difference in the projects of your co-workers and deliver it. That'll earn you more respect than endless amounts of dlck-wagging and yacking.
and whatever you do, DON'T mention your age unless it is somehow relevant to the subject! If you want to show how seasoned you are, mention your experience doing some specific relevant task. One sure way for me to NOT take you seriously is to mention your age when your age has zip to do with the subject.

Example: When discussing riding a bike I don't say "well I'm 50 years old and..." but rather I say "I've been riding a bike for 40+ years and..."

Do you (tri) see and understand the difference? Just because I am 50 does not automagically give me lots of knowledge and experience riding a bike...but actually riding one for 40+ years might.

Now let's both go crap on pcad's lawn...he's like really old.
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