Hiring the Unhireable

Hiring the unhireable: Put ’em out to pasture (ageism)

Part 11 of 16

I have real trouble with mandatory retirement.

“Hey Bob! Thanks for thirty great years. Ciao!”

“Hey Bob! You’re doing a great job, but we’re sort of going in a younger direction…”

“Hey Sue! You know, with the budget cuts and all, and you being on the high end of the pay scale and only a few years from retirement…”

I have real trouble with losing our best and brightest with the most experience. As a species, we have up until now, proven we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. So it has been with information security. The principles are roughly the same since the onset of security formalization in the 1970s … but we keep trying to solve the same problems, with the same approach, only now employing Next Gen crap.

ageism / age discrimination
Image from Pixabay

How much knowledge of a company’s networks/security are in the head of the folks set to be dismissed due to their age? How much of it is really archived? Has anyone even thought of sitting down with them in a technical interview setting, and capturing the invaluable insights, specific knowledge and ‘Oh, hell no’ gut-responses that only decades of security experience offers? Or, ‘don’t worry. We have a replacement with newer approaches.’

Just saying… collectively, we do a piss-poor job of preserving our past by utilizing the very people who created and lived it.

The organizations who choose to embrace the older folks, exploit them in a good way, and preserve their knowledge base will benefit every step of the way.

Part 10: Stop the drug testing
Part 12: Sending talent to the ‘Dark Side’

Winn Schwartau is the CEO of The Security Awareness Company, the author of Information Warfare, Pearl Harbor Dot Com (Die Hard IV), and the upcoming Analogue Network Security.

1 thought on “Hiring the unhireable: Put ’em out to pasture (ageism)”

  1. Winn, it’s not just in the security area. It’s happening all over IT. Just because someone knows what COBOL stands for doesn’t mean that they are washed up. In fact, the old-school mindset is sorely needed in solving today’s technical problems. Jus’ sayin’…

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