Is Age Just a Number at Work?

age is just a number
Is age only a number? Your mentality about age matters! Read to learn more!

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We have readers of all different ages. But what does age mean for your work motivation and wellness? New research shows that age may be less important that people think. Instead, your mentality is what matters. Read more to find out why your mindset might be more important!

Age Matters in Some Ways

We can’t ignore the fact that your numeric age does matter in some ways. Certain health conditions are more likely to occur for older people. So, there may be some factors beyond your control that impact your work as you age. If you are sick or have been injured in the past, you may be limited by what you can do at work.

Also, as people prepare for retirement, their finances matter. People may have to work longer and harder than they’d like. Or they may be in jobs they aren’t happy with, but don’t have the option to pursue something else. So, your work motivation as you age may also have to do with your financial situation. If you don’t like what you’re doing, or don’t want to be doing it anymore, that can negatively impact your wellness. That’s true at any career stage, but it can play a specific role in demotivating older workers too.

You might also face others’ stereotypes as you age. When people mistreat you or judge you because you’re an older employee, there are negative consequences. Being stereotyped as weaker, slower, or less intelligent can impact your motivation to keep working. In other words, if you don’t feel accepted and valued by coworkers, you might not want to go to work anymore.

While there are some things you can't control, age is not just a number!
While there are some things you can’t control, age is not just a number!

Your Mentality Can Predict More Than Age

Despite the fact that you might not be able to control your health, finances, or other’s opinions, there is something you can control. You can change the way you think about aging! Research shows that, after taking these factors into account, your mentality about age predicted work motivation. It’s pretty powerful that the way you think about your age can actually make you more excited to keep working. It can also make you value your job more.

But, how should you think about age to get these benefits? When people believe that age is just a number, they act like it. This means that if you believe that your age defines you, you will start to act older even if you are healthy and able to work.

Ask yourself these questions: Do you believe that people inevitably have to slow down as they age? Is it possible to keep being vibrant and energetic, even when you’re older? Are there a wide range of abilities and interests that older people can display? If you think that older people can continue living life to the fullest, regardless of their age, you are in a great headspace! If not, keep reading to learn what you can do about it.

Don't let your mentality about age hold you back from living life to the fullest!
Don’t let your mentality about age hold you back from living life to the fullest!

How to Embrace a More Positive Mentality

If you’re an employee, try to surround yourself with people who believe have a positive mentality about older people. Find older people who are still enjoying their work and life. Talk with them about their goals and ambitions in their older years! Even reading books or watching shows about older people who haven’t slowed down might help. You might find yourself inspired and questioning your prior beliefs about age.

If you’re a leader, make sure you’re not stereotyping older employees. You might not realize you’re doing it, but it matters. Do you assign certain tasks to younger people? Are you making assumptions about the goals or capabilities of older employees? If so, you should try to get to know employees as individuals instead of using age to judge what they want or need. Also, make sure you aren’t talking about older people in your life negatively. The way you talk about your parents or grandparents to coworkers might make a difference as well!

Now, get out there and live your life! Age is partially what you make of it. For more on aging at work, check out this podcast episode!

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