• Steve Kehoe

You're just too old mate.

Why companies and startups are missing out on strong skillsets due to ageism.

So it happened to me. I always thought I was a young lad.

Certainly young at heart anyway.

Over the past few years I have had the chance to down tools, take a look at what I wanted to do next and go for it. I have a great friend and business partner Joe and we are working on some projects even now. We have been investing in ourselves and that's what entrepreneurs do. We are working on two disruptors even today.

During the covid 19 lockdown , a UK recruitment agency contacted me Via LinkedIn.

They had a role based between Ireland and the UK. I found out more about the company and decided I would look at it for sure. I always do my due diligence, as we all should and I liked this startup. They were funded, great team and nice solutions to offer. MVP was required for launch and it was all in my wheelhouse.

I don't need a full time role but I am keen to see what companies are out there that need help, guidance and discuss part time advisory or senior roles. For example last year I worked with Peter Thompson and the great team at Cantrack in the UK and loved it.

I don't have a CV. I never have had one. I have been lucky, I sold a business in 2001 and worked successfully for myself all throughout my career, including selling my startup shares in 2018. I have a software patent and feel lucky sometimes to be honest.

I put all my details down on a PDF, sent it across to the agent who thanked me, said it was perfect.

Then nothing, nada, zero, no comms.

So the lockdown proceeded and I worked away on my own stuff. Won't lie, kinda forgot the application.

Until an email surfaced last week, stating the client was not progressing due to Covid 19 etc.

I thanked the agent and that was that.

Something though had caught my eye.

I scrolled down through the email and I saw a thread between the agent and the agency director.

The first part was very complimentary about me, all the good stuff, all of the achievements and why I should be a candidate on the short list.

Then, there was the email back for the agency director.

It read that I was " a really strong candidate, but probably better not to be put forward as the client would probably and more than likely, want a younger candidate for this advisory role"

I spoke to the highly apologetic and extremely embarrassed agency director.

I told him the following:

Most startups and companies, could do with experience on the advisory board.

Most companies could do with people who have worldwide experience and have operated in nearly all of the continents.

Don't write off people because they are "too old"

Look at their skillset, what can they offer, where can they help this company.

The matter is now rested, I know he genuinely felt horrible, to be fair, he's actually a really nice guy who probably is under a lot of pressure now, with not many companies hiring and working from home etc. I understand that.

For me though, the message is clear. Don't write us "old" people off, we're not useless.

We have a lot to offer.

You can buy a new car, a new house, even a new business, but guess what, you can't buy experience. You hire it.

I am 50 and proud.

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