02/01/2012 1 Comment
I’m almost 52 years old and seven years ago I decided to give my carrier a new direction. I left my own company and I went to education. Now I’m working with master students and I find a lot of satisfaction in helping these young people and in sharing knowledge from a ‘real world’, which is much appreciated I must say. Since I wanted to take this endeavor seriously I started a PhD research in 2007. This has come to an end by a defense recently in December 2011 which was quite successful with a lot of people attending the session from academia as well as from the ‘real world’. My PhD is on ICT for small and medium-sized companies.
Since there is a lot of fuzz going on about research, innovation, entrepreneurship and startups a lot of of prices are given for people conducting a PhD research in these areas. However it is it rather disappointing to discover that for almost all prices there is limitation for candidates older than 35y, 40y …
A few examples;
1) Laureaat van de Academie: http://www.kvab.be/Laureaten.aspx
Artikel 5. Een kandidaat in de Klassen Natuurwetenschappen, Menswetenschappen en Technische Wetenschappen mag ten hoogste de leeftijd van 40 jaar hebben bereikt tijdens het jaar waarin de prijs wordt toegekend. Voor de Kunsten bedraagt deze leeftijd 45 jaar.
2) Wetenschappelijke Prijs McKinsey & Company
Art. 3. De kandidaten mogen maximum 35 jaar oud zijn.
It is incomprehensible why organizations that offer such prices put a limit on the age of the candidates. There is is really no objective reason given for it. One can only guess why this is a requisite. Is it because older people has richer ideas? Then the purpose of the price is neglected, it is about innovative ideas isn’t it? So why shouldn’t older people can’t come up with new ideas? Is there somewhere a rule that says that older people doesn’t have innovative ideas?
Or is it a sort of secret recruitment or hiring technique for young potentials for which it is known that age discrimination is forbidden and where there is a greater social control on the compliance of that rule? No this cannot be true. Or is it?
But what is it that out society is begging for people to work longer than before and than ignoring completely any individually initiative in that direction? We should all fight against this kind of discrimination which is probably easier accepted than race and color.