The Silver Lining Of Ageism: A Path To Self-Discovery And Purpose

The Silver Lining Of Ageism: A Path To Self-Discovery And Purpose  Forbes

The Silver Lining Of Ageism: A Path To Self-Discovery And Purpose

The Silver Lining Of Ageism: A Path To Self-Discovery And Purpose

Women in the Workplace Face Ageism at Every Age

A recent study from the Harvard Business Review revealed that women experience ageism in the workplace regardless of their age. The study, “Women in Leadership Face Ageism at Every Age,” highlighted that women are either considered too young (referred to as “youngism”) or face discrimination for being old, aged-out, and irrelevant.

Discrimination Based on Age and Gender

Shockingly, some search committees choose not to hire women in their late forties due to concerns about family responsibilities and impending menopause. Similarly, women in their fifties and sixties face discrimination based on their age and appearance, while similarly aged men are offered jobs. To sum up, “there is no right age” for women regarding career advancement.

Survey Findings on Ageism in the Workplace

Another survey was conducted earlier this year by Women of Influence+ (WOI+), a leading global organization based in Toronto, Canada, committed to advancing gender equity in the workplace. The organization has released its groundbreaking findings from its survey titled “Exploring the Impact of Ageism on Women in the Workplace.” More than 1,250 female respondents from 46 countries participated in the survey. The results showed that 77.8% of respondents have experienced age-based prejudice or discrimination in the workplace, and 80.7% have witnessed women being treated differently because of their age.

Perpetrators of Age-Based Discrimination

According to the survey, individuals who discriminate based on age come from all levels of seniority, including HR, co-workers, clients, managers, and executives. Men were identified as the majority of perpetrators, especially in HR, leadership/executive roles, and client/supplier positions. However, women were also found to engage in age-based discrimination in every category. Respondents also noted that recruiters were involved in age-based discrimination. “I was told by an executive recruiter that women should retire after 50 because they are no longer marketable,” said one survey respondent.

Turning Ageism into Catalyst for Change

Experiencing ageism has motivated some women executives to turn it into a catalyst for change. Some have used it as a push to start their own businesses, while others have become advocates for improved conditions and to combat gender ageism.

Alternative Career Paths for Women Over 50

Women over the age of 50 often encounter challenges in the job market due to ageism and gender bias. As a result, many choose to pursue alternative career paths such as consulting, coaching, entrepreneurship, or freelance work. These options enable them to utilize their experience and skills in settings where they can avoid traditional hiring biases and establish new opportunities for themselves.

Yvette Vink: Pivoting from Corporate Executive to Executive Coach

Yvette Vink’s career trajectory is a testament to resilience, transformation, and the pursuit of purpose. In a recent conversation, Vink shared her journey of pivoting from a successful corporate operations executive to a dynamic executive coach, offering insights and encouragement for those embarking on similar career journeys.

Vink, a single working mother of Hispanic and Filipino descent, faces gender and age biases despite her impressive contributions and experience. “I was often the go-to person for turning things around,” Vink recalled. “But once the storm had passed, I found myself sidelined or even replaced because of my gender.”

She recounted an incident where a Senior VP openly admitted he wouldn’t have hired her had he known her age. This ageism, where opportunities dwindle for women over 45, is common but often unspoken. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vink lost her job as the Director of Operations, where she established a new division for a legacy company. Under Vink’s leadership, three women built and led this new division and successfully met their goals. However, it was ultimately closed and outsourced to a male colleague at a competing company.

After the division closed, Vink encountered more ageism while job hunting. “Four recruiters told me that I would have better success in the consulting field instead of seeking corporate positions, as I was considered too old for those roles.” Despite her impressive 30-year resume, recruiters believed her age made placing her in corporate roles difficult.

The pandemic became a turning point for Vink. Facing the abrupt closure of her division and discouraging experiences with recruiters, she chose to pivot and use her extensive corporate experience as the foundation for a new entrepreneurial venture. Understanding that she was not alone in her experience, Vink began her executive coaching business, Dream Connection, working with discontented female executives to reignite their personal and professional passions.

Empowering Women Over 45

Dream Connection focuses on women over 45 who feel marginalized or irrelevant due to systemic biases. She employs a structured approach to help her clients rediscover what excites them, appreciate their self-worth, clarify goals for their future, and transition smoothly into new careers or ventures. “I realized that my journey could provide a roadmap for others,” Vink said. “It’s about turning setbacks and discontentment into stepping stones and reigniting that inner spark.”

Vink’s coaching methodology is centered around empowerment. Her sessions begin with rebuilding self-confidence, allowing women to rediscover their potential. This is followed by thorough work clarifying values, setting actionable goals, and exploring new professional opportunities, such as freelancing or consulting.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see women transform and realize their worth again,” Vink shared. “Many of them feel like they have nothing to offer, but by the end of our time together, they’re rejuvenated, ready to take on new challenges, and often on the path to living the lives they’ve always imagined.”

Living with Purpose: Wanderlust Travel with Purpose

In addition to her coaching business, Vink runs “Wanderlust Travel with Purpose,” a travel venture that combines cultural immersion with charitable giving. This initiative reflects her belief in living purposefully and giving back to the community. “For instance, during a recent trip to Bali, our group engaged in cultural activities supported a local orphanage, and gave back in other meaningful ways,” Vink explained. “It’s about creating unforgettable experiences while making a positive impact.” Vink’s journey offers valuable lessons and encouragement for those undergoing similar career transitions.

Steps Inspired by Yvette Vink’s Experience

  1. Reconnect to What Brings You Joy: Rediscover what excites you and realize how attainable life is.
  2. Rebuild Confidence by Acknowledging Your Worth: Take inventory of your skills, gifts, and life experience. Don’t let age and setbacks limit you; they can enhance your abilities.
  3. Set Clear Goals: Define your next step. Clarity will guide your actions, whether you’re starting a new career, freelancing, or starting your own business.
  4. Network and Seek Support: Surround yourself with a supportive community. Networking can open doors and encourage transitions.
  5. Embrace New Ventures: Be open to new experiences and opportunities. Sometimes, the path forward lies in unfamiliar terrain.

Vink’s story is a testament to the power of resilience and purpose-driven work. Her transition from corporate executive to empowering coach transformed her life, and she continues to inspire and uplift many other women facing similar challenges. Her journey provides a clear example of turning adversity into opportunity.