FROM THE TRENCHES: Aging In Adland

From The Trenches

From The Trenches

January 30th Advertising Age posted an article about ageism. Too late for the gray-hairs. I seem to recall everyone over 50 (maybe it was 40, but it seemed like 50 when I was 20) was fired for making too much money. Now it’s too much or not enough of something else.

I learned that lesson the hard way. Here’s my response posted to Ad Age just now:

Aging in Adland:

I worked in advertising at the big creative agencies on both coasts for more than 18 years. When I hit 40 and was living in L.A. at the time, a well known ad agency owner looked up from his desk and said “I wouldn’t hire you ever no how no way”. When I asked why he said, “I can get someone half your age to work twice as hard for half the money”.

Now that was a slap in the head with a two by four, no doubt, not to mention illegal, but he was only saying what they all thought and didn’t want to say. It took a recruiter to sit me down and explain ageism to me.

Ironically, it was only then that I realized the only way to keep working was to keep reinventing myself in the digital world. I got a lowly job in a think tank in the Venice CA tech hub. Once there, I felt about zeros and ones the way once felt about film. I was a sponge for technology and because there was nothing but new ground to cover, pulled out the stops, learned and accomplished things I would have been prohibited from doing in the Agency world.

While I love and respect my colleagues and value the experience in advertising, digital technology was the journey I seized and am still on. I am an award winning blogger, a sponge for all things digital and a well respected electronic commerce marketing specialist. TOTALLY SELF-TAUGHT.
In this new industry there are no holds barred as long as you are willing to stick your neck out and hit the trail.

Elaine Palmer
Owner Maven Media New York
Blogging @ ExecutiveWomen2.0

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