OK, my over 40 friends, it's call out time. Remember that I'm over 40, so I send this message out of love, not hate.
I'm here to tell you that I understand. But I'm also here to tell you that you're acting like a complete fool. It's subtle, but it's fool behavior that's a sucker's play by any stretch of the imagination.
My background on this starts with the title of the article, then what the article said. The sketchy title was as follows - People Over 40 Should Only Work 3 Days a Week from some site called EatWorkGlow (some of the content appears below):
"Recent research by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that, whilst working up to 30 hours a week is good for cognitive function in the over 40s, any more than that causes performance to deteriorate.
In fact, those who worked 55 hours a week or more showed worse cognitive impairment than those who were retired or unemployed and didn’t work at all.
The study looked at 3500 women and 3000 men aged 40 and over, and made them complete cognitive function tests whilst their performance at work was monitored.
As most people have to go on working after 40, or even return to work after a break to have a family or for other personal reasons, taking care of your health, maximizing your down time and taking restful holidays becomes more important. Professor McKenzie says that, “Working full time – over 40 hours a week – is still better than no work in terms of maintaining cognitive function, but it is not maximizing the potential effects of work.”
I looked at the entire article a couple of times. Nowhere in the body of the text could I find a statement from the researchers that suggested that People Over 40 Should Only Work 3 Days a Week. That was a clickbait title put together by someone that wanted you to read the article and wanted to maximize social sharing.
You loved it. I know you did because about 15 people in my network shared the article. You ate it up like a kid eats an oreo when he missed lunch. You also took the bait and shared it with the world.
And that's where the problem starts. Here's what you did:
- You tried to celebrate the fact that experts believe you're at your best when you work less. You're over 40. You're tired of grinding because let's face it, this whole thing we do is exhausting. You're also gainfully employed if you shared it, because no over 40 person out of work would dare share this title.
- You hurt the over 40 crowd that's looking for work when you shared this. No one over 40 AND out of work would share this. Because they already feel like people pass on them for jobs they're qualified for because of age bias. What's that bias based on? There are many angles, but one is definitely the fact that older workers just can't go as long or as hard as their younger comrades.
- You hurt a future version of yourself (likely one with less energy than you have today) that will be over 40 or over 50 and looking for a job. Let's face it, you'll have to plan on the fact that you're going to be impacted by a layoff or something similar in the future and be in the job market. When you share a clickbait title that has a research element like People Over 40 Should Only Work 3 Days a Week, you're just making things harder on the version of you that's going to need a break 10 years from now.
Would you love to work 3 days a week now? Yes, but you're gainfully employed.
When you shared that article, you made all the people over 40 and out of work throw up in their mouths. Most of them are concerned about basic things - like providing for their families.
Your comrades over 40 don't give a #### about the number of hours it takes. They just want a great to solid job. You hurt them and the future version of yourself when you share things that imply older workers can't give the same level of effort/grind/hustle as someone under 40.
You're better than that. You're old, but you're not stupid.