A bright and accomplished colleague wrote me with a troubling question.
There was a job opening my contact encouraged me to apply for. I hesitated because one of the requirements said “Digital native” which threw me off. My understanding of the definition is people who grew up with technology from birth, but I thought that would be age discrimination, so they couldn’t possibly mean it that literally, could they? Can I get your thoughts about this situation?
How would you answer her? Here’s the gist of what I said:
“Digital native” is a tricky term. It should mean someone who lives and breathes social media, someone who doesn’t have to think about how to use them any more than you have to think about how to send an email—and that could be a person of any age.
Sometimes it does (thinly) disguise an attitude that the agency doesn’t want to deal with older workers, which is against the law, as you know. The more I read, the more it appears to me that age discrimination is easy to get away with and hard to prove.
I like your impulse to head off the criticism by showing what you know. That’s what I have been doing on my blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But realize that I have been my own boss for the last few years, and you have a full-time job!
So, I agree that you need to pick your spots carefully. LinkedIn is currently your strongest medium, and it would make sense to build on it. If you’re asking me, I would suggest: Continue Reading