A business book about countering age bias in the workplace.
Communications and marketing consultant Rocks’ inspired guide aims to empower older employees who’ve become marginalized by corporate decision-makers due to ageism, which she calls “the last socially sanctioned prejudice.” Throughout her long career in communications, the author has witnessed great progress against workplace discrimination, but she acknowledges that there’s still more work to be done. But she hasn’t just observed the disturbing trend of companies ousting older, veteran employees in favor of younger ones—it actually happened to her, which started her on a personal fight for justice and workplace rights. Rocks writes succinctly but convincingly about the proliferation of age bias and its damaging, insidious, and demoralizing effects on businesses and employees alike. In a persuasive and appealingly direct manner, the author urges business leaders to embrace the idea of an age-diversified workplace. Specifically, she encourages corporate leaders to evaluate the unconscious bias in their workplaces through a series of reflective queries (“How many times have you heard something described as a ‘senior moment’?”). She bolsters her plea for change by including a chorus of anonymous voices, mostly of baby boomers, who found themselves incrementally sidelined, undervalued, and eventually laid off from livelihoods that gave them joy, fulfillment, and purpose. Some refused to retire when asked to do so and were promptly fired, and others had complex job-search experiences. Their stories are illuminating and also cautionary, as Rocks warns: “No matter what your age, you will eventually join the ranks of the fifty-somethings, and you probably should have a strategy.” Her concluding chapter, which outlines steps that corporations can take to enact change, is particularly invaluable.
A compelling argument and a spirited call to action against workplace age discrimination.