Working In Tech & Worrying About Getting “Too Old”

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The above tweet seemed to resonate with folks, and sometimes when that happens, I like to expand in a post, since the tweet will disappear in 30 days.

Ok, let’s talk about working in tech and feeling like your best years are perpetually behind you. It screws with your head! This was part of the reason I spent almost two decades metaphorically being chased by a failure tiger. No bueno for one’s health and wellness. Why does this feeling exist and what can we do to help ourselves and others navigate?

It exists because it’s true and part our popular mythology! Ahh you didn’t think I was going to start there did you? Seriously, any discussion of this topic should acknowledge that there’s an incorrect (and sometimes illegal when it plays a role in hiring) age bias in our industry. “Pattern recognition” of a what a founder looks like still gravitates towards, as one VC said (and I’m paraphrasing) “pasty young white males.” This is changing as we see women take their companies public and people start multibillion dollar companies in their — gasp- 40s. But to write a post confronting the “I’m too old” anxiety and not recognize all of this would be dishonest.

But let me tell you what does get better as time passes: the relationships, the accrued knowledge, your own self-awareness. These compound like high-interest investments, as you shift from early career (time to learn) to later career (time to earn) [ty Mark Suster for this 2009 blog post]. Especially during a year of social distancing, I’m reminded of the value in possessing 20+ years of relationships and learnings.

In these few weeks left of 2020, what can you do to manage your own “I’m too old” fears?

CHILL OUT. YOU GOT THIS. Pick one or two things that you want to “invest in” that pay future dividends — skills, people, networks, your own health. Pick an incremental improvement for each of these. You don’t need to go from 0 to 100 right away, just take a few steps forward. Create the habit. Do this for the next 60 days. Then email me or tweet at me whether it made a difference and what you’re still struggling with. We’ll work on it together!

Notes and More

💰to Fair Fight supporting voter rights.

📦 Things I’m Enjoying

Salonpas patches for back pain because I’m old, Andytown coffee and this GQ article about a band of watch thieves.

🏗 Highlighted Homebrew Portfolio Jobs

Orum is a NYC-based financial technology company that makes money move fast. Experienced leadership, well-funded, and hiring in engineering, product and operations.

Written by

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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