Skip to main content

Fine Lines: The 10 Most Ageist Phrases in the Workplace



You're going about your work day when a younger colleague suddenly utters something that smacks of...ageism. Ugh.

Highlighting a co-worker's age is a wrinkle in workplace time that might just leave a few scars. But how do you know if something you've said is ageist? How can you know if you're insulting an older teammate with a back-handed, age-related insult?


Without further ado, here are the 10 most ageist phrases than need to be Botoxed from the face of the modern workplace:

1. "Let me get somebody else to do it." You're perfectly capable of doing "it," but a younger colleague is insistent than you should let "it" go to somebody who was in grade school when you were in grad school. You insist it's no problem, but "it" is handed off, anyway.

via GIPHY


2. "You're overqualified/why are you working here?" Because you need a job, just like your co-workers do? Plus, you're really good at your job. It isn't rocket science.

via GIPHY


3. "You don't need the training session." Hey, everyone else on the team is going, why not you? Older workers want to keep learning and growing, too! Alas, the fee per employee is $300, and investing in anyone over a certain age is like throwing good money away.

via GIPHY


4. "You look tired/you look good for your age." No, I look 50. Shut up.

via GIPHY


5. "I know technology can be confusing." Hey, you're talking to a Gen Xer who was navigating Unix to "talk" online back in the day. Or a Baby Boomer who has dealt with mainframes. Pretty sure they can figure out Slack.

via GIPHY


6. "Oh, and you, too." Thanks for tagging the older teammate as an addendum to whatever has just been said to the team. There's nothing better than being invisible.

via GIPHY


7. "You remind me so much of my parents." Why is that? Oh.

via GIPHY


8. "Does that make sense/am I making sense?" Yes, it made sense the first time, and you don't need to keep asking if you make sense every time we speak. And why are you speaking so slowly, and so loudly? Please stop.

via GIPHY


9. "Thanks, sweetie/you're so adorable." What is it about some older female employees that makes younger employees utter this phrase? On the one hand, it's...sweet. On the other hand, it's basically like saying: "I don't see you as real competition. You're more like my frail 90-year-old great auntie. Adorbs!"

via GIPHY


10. "He's our resident gray-hair." Or gramps, or "old man." Step right up, because our resident Baby Boomer is here, full of gravitas and grandfatherly gumption even though he doesn't have grandchildren yet. We remember when he had fewer gray hairs, though.

via GIPHY


Employees of all ages add real value to the workplace, so let's honor and value our elders at work instead of telling them they look tired. They work hard, and they don't need anyone asking why they don't retire. Does that make sense?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Seven Tips For Dealing With A Jealous Co-worker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…

How To Handle Farting At Work

Nancy Grace farted on national television. Or was it a tummy grumble? Either way, viewers heard it and now it's gone viral.



Which brings up an interesting question: How should you handle embarrassing bodily malfunctions at work?

We all fart, we all get stomach gurgles, we all burp and hiccup, and usually at the worst possible moments. Maybe you "sneezefarted," meaning you sneezed so hard you let one rip at the same time. So awkward and embarrassing. Whatever happens, it's how we handle these situations that counts. The first and trickiest step is whether or not to acknowledge the obvious. Rule of thumb: the more obvious the bodily malfunction, the more you should just own it. If you fart in a staff meeting and everyone heard it, point the finger at yourself (or have someone pull it) and have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Maybe you shouldn't have had those Cajun rice and beans. Yes, feel free to reference lines from the Russian Unicorn if you must. Throw i…