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I’ve just been passed over for promotion for the second time — again to someone 20 years younger than me. Should I make a stink about age discrimination or move on?
There’s a much better option: Build a case for why you should be considered for a promotion, and present it to your boss in a calm, professional manner, says Jim Peacock, principal and founder of Peak Careers Consulting in Waterville, Maine. “You definitely don’t want to go in with boxing gloves on. There’s no way you can win that way.”
To prepare, make a list of at least five ways you add value to your organization, each with an example of its impact, Peacock advises. If, say, one strength is that you are highly organized, cite how your systems keep the workplace running smoothly. If you have strong interpersonal skills, reference how you attracted new business, resolved conflicts with customers or serve as an unofficial mentor.
In creating the list, consider assumptions your boss may have about you so you can counter them. “Your boss might have age biases buried deep and not even realize it,” Peacock says, adding that common assumptions are that older workers won’t be on the job longer and aren’t great at adapting to new technology.
Hit on each assumption with a positive twist, Peacock says. “You might say, ‘I am always eager to improve my technology skills. I’ve never shied away from learning and staying up with new software or systems.’ Or, ‘I’ve loved working for this company and plan on working for another 10 or 20 years.’ ”
Don’t underplay any of your strengths. You might assume they are obvious, but they are often not, especially if your boss oversees a large group or has broad responsibilities, Peacock says.
After presenting your case, ask your employer for input, he says. “Say, ‘I am concerned I’m being overlooked for advancement. What can I do?’ ”
If you continue to be overlooked and truly believe age is a factor, only then should you consider booking an appointment with your human resources department.
I’ve gotten a great job offer, but it’s 300 miles away and I can’t work remotely. Should I quit my current job and uproot my household in order to take it?
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a decision like this, which affects not just your career but you and your family’s entire life. Rebecca Michel, an associate professor in the counseling program at DePaul University in Chicago, recommends a decision-making ladder that begins with your values and ends with your preferences.
On the first rung, detail all financial benefits or drawbacks of relocating, beyond just the obvious salary and benefit details, Michel says. Are housing costs higher or lower in the new location? Would your spouse or partner have to find a new job and lose income during the job search? Would you have to budget for more commuting expenses? Are there advancement opportunities at the new company?
Next, consider your family’s circumstances. “If you’re in the sandwich generation helping both parents and young children, this gets more complicated,” Michel says. The implications of moving — finding caregivers, changing schools, switching doctors and health coverage — can be dealbreakers.