“Ageism is real.”
“…that by itself is making any continuation of my professional career nearly impossible.”
Only recently have I realized just how backwards it is to have a society/culture that’s so youth-centric. Myself, I just assumed that older people, or even just getting older, meant that you were more likely to be “out-of-touch” with regards to trends, skills, ability, etc.
Looking back at culture from previous decades, pre-1960s, it seemed like kids wanted to look, dress and act like adults to some degree. Now it’s the reverse, with adults wanting to look, dress, and act like kids. Instead of wanting to act and appear more mature, we instead want to act and be perceived as forever teen-aged.
How this relates to the graphic design profession (or adult life in general), is that younger people tend to think that they’re doing something new, breaking new ground, and often it seems, we’re just making mistakes that our elders made and learned from 20+ years prior. Or, we spend sleepless nights trying to recreate the wheel.
I think it’s only hurting us to have this misplaced prejudice towards older professionals. Successful people and culture venerate their elders and seek out their knowledge and what they’ve learned from their life experience. Learning from them is what gives you an edge so you don’t make unnecessary mistakes in life (or design).
I think being a luddite just for its own sake can be a bad thing. But new technology isn’t automatically good or better. What’s that saying, “If you’re not paying for the product, YOU are the product.” Too many people I’ve known, young and old, jumped on the latest new tech, without knowing the full extent of how it works or the potential drawbacks, only to get seriously screwed by it later.
To be fair, with new advances and breakthroughs in technology coming out constantly, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep up with it. But again, this scramble to be completely in-tune and on-board with the latest anything can lead to serious drawbacks. In being in such a rush to learn and utilize the latest tech or fad, we’re not taking the necessary time to stop and consider the potential negatives of it.