It’s Tough Being Over 40 in Silicon Valley

After Andrea Rodriguez lost her job last fall, she put away her suits. Not because she didn’t plan to keep working—she just had to seem younger. She’d been a successful sales trainer at SugarCRM, a Cupertino, Calif., company that pitches marketing and customer service software to businesses. Suddenly she was looking for a job in Silicon Valley, and she was over 50. Early in her search, she recalls, one hiring manager told her, “We have a very diverse age group—some people are right out of college, and one older group is as old as 48.” Gulp.

So as Rodriguez chased more interviews, dresses with brightly colored sweaters or jackets over skirts replaced her five suits. She started regularly scanning Reddit, Yelp, IMDb, and MSNBC, checking words she didn’t know on Urban Dictionary, so she could talk about superhero movies, the Golden State Warriors, and the Kardashians. She collected 500 connections on LinkedIn, got herself on Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat, and started a blog. A hiring manager at Aruba, a wireless equipment maker owned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, read the blog, and after five months without a paycheck, Rodriguez got another sales training job.

In an effort to keep her twenty- and thirty-something colleagues thinking of her as an older sister rather than a mom, she goes out of her way to socialize in the break room or at company events. That’s where Reddit and IMDb come in handy. “If you bring up Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, all conversation will stop,” she says. “You’ll be viewed as an outsider.”

Consider yourself warned.

Start a side business. Save as aggressively as humanly possible. Buy a dozen real estate. Whatever it is. Do something.


Look at this guy:

I wouldn’t hire anyone wearing a bow tie. C’mon. That just looks ridiculous.

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My friend got job recently (6 figures salary) in biotech sales. After 3 month “probation” and getting raise he asked his boss why would they hire him? The answer was interesting: coz your bow tie. (My friend had bow tie instead of regular/fashionable tie during interview)
So bow tie not always ridiculous after all

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Look at this bowtie. He is talking one of the hottest topics in Silicon Valley.

OK. So:

  1. Bow-tie on over 40 = ridiculous
  2. Bow-tie on youngsters = hip

Choose wisely, folks! :wink:


Interesting article, but… The italicized text tells you what you need to know–expounding online about your field can get your a job.

Right. It’s all about personal branding. So if you are programming, be active on github, stack overflow or even quora. Start a blog. Talk crap on twitter. Write on Medium. Man, just the thought of it makes me tired… :slight_smile:

How else to raise above the noise? Even Tim Cook is compelled to twit!

I will agree with the double entendre there :slight_smile:

I don’t know. Some people are better served staying off social media. If they are able to maintain a professional social media presence and show a relevant skill set/expertise in the field, it can be a great way to market yourself.

However, I have seen a twitter account backfire first hand. We didn’t hire an engineer at my last gig because one of his tweets offended the CEO. Otherwise, he passed all the interviews and tests.

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Hey, SV recruiters, read this!!!


It’s not recruiters’ call who gets hired though. The youth myth is deeply imbedded into our culture. Tech people should prepare for their early demise from the get go. Either you get on the management ladder, or you start your own side business.

I understand how tough in this current market after 50s. This is the main reason, savings and investments are important part of life.

If someone properly plans the retirement, it will not be tough !

Right from the first job, start savings with Roth IRA, the add up more. By the age of 50, people must be financially independent. Otherwise, it is really tough.

Read either of this. Do not be confused about the title (after fifty), this is applicable for all.

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You should go into politics and beseech the millennials. Is worrisome. They would be a big burden to the nation and taxpayers, when they get to 40s onwards.

Well, I am not suggesting that recruiters change their game plans completely and go all geriatric on us. All we are saying is that they shouldn’t automatically exclude all older workers. Very productive older workers are out there. Big Bro is pushing 30 years in Sunnyvale and quite frankly is quite secure with his firm.

There are plenty, at 20s, asking how to save aggressively for early retirement. Only very few are out of touch with reality and they pay a price.