Bob Goldman
You've spent years mastering your profession. You've honed your skills. You've burnished your reputation. You've faced challenges that would defeat any ordinary mortal, but which has left you with a wealth of experiences, guaranteed to help your current company succeed in any environment.

In other words, you're the seasoned, experienced, industry veteran who every employer wants -- to fire.


Because you don't tweet. And you don't blog. In short, you simply don't fit in a new world of social media, which just happens to have the slightly anti-social effect of turning older workers into unemployed workers.

If you haven't noticed this phenomena, Sue Shellenbarger has. The work and family columnist for The Wall Street Journal recently published Don't Be the Office Tech Dinosaur, and on this subject, she does not mince words.

"For many people in the back half of their careers," Shellenbarger writes, "the meaning is all too clear: to keep from drifting, or being nudged into an early retirement, it's time to add more high-tech arrows to their professional quiver."

As an example of the type of old foggy you don't want to become, Shellenbarger chronicles the work life of Doug Gould, "a 50-year old advertising veteran who began to suspect that he was in danger of becoming extinct when his co-workers started calling by the affectionate nickname of 'Uncle Doug.'"

Now, you would probably be delighted if your co-workers would replace your affectionate nickname of "worthless wind-bag" with "Uncle Doug," even if your name isn't Doug. But what the real Uncle Doug realized was that the avuncular sobriquet should actually be translated as "old guy." And in his business, like in your business, being the old guy is just one step away from being the laid-off guy.

In the past, it used to be sufficient for "old guys" and "old gals" to change their image by changing their clothes. And you could definitely update your wardrobe: shred your doubleknits and put studs on your power suit or your face. Or just start walking around the office carrying a skateboard. Unfortunately, groovy threads will only take you so far. And the only place that skateboard will take you is to the emergency room.

There's only one way you can save yourself -- You have to update your technology.

Getting in step with new tech may sound easy, but it will mean sacrifices. You will have to replace your Motorola DynaTac 8000X cell phone, even though a two-pound, 11-inch phone is so much cooler than the flimsy, modern phones of today. (Besides, it cost you $3,000 in 1973.)

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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