How To Value Yourself When Confronted By Ageism

ageism work women age limit

Money Expert: Karen McAllister

“I need to get better at valuing myself around money and work”.

Work And Value:

This is something I hear from many women in my work as a Money Coach. And when I ask them how they behave currently that doesn’t value themselves, I often get answers like: “I continue working for little pay; I take on too many jobs because I fear not having work; Don’t get down to my budget; I don’t ask for enough money; I allow myself to take less money; And I don’t spend enough time investing in my own business.” 

In other words, “I work too much and earn too little.” 

Fear Around Finances:

One of the other fears I hear most frequently is the fear of being homeless. 

“Many women leave the finances to their partners.”

I get it. Women don’t have too much experience in being in the rooms of money and power. A lot of us have been conditioned into taking care of others first and not looking after ourselves financially. Many women leave the finances to their partners. They just don’t do the money thing.

Women often seek my help when they find themselves suddenly having to manage the money. This could be after they are widowed, or their partners have cheated on them and they decided to end their relationship. Others remain within emotionally or physically abusive relationships. They feel that they cannot leave because the children are too young. They fear that they don’t have enough money to support themselves and their children.

Ageism And Returning To Work:

When women go into their 40s and 50s, they may find themselves trying to rejoin the workforce to make ends meet. They meet another game changer: ageism. One of my clients wrote all her skills and abilities from raising children as part of a job application form and never got an answer back.

Yes, ageism is difficult to meet and accept today, when you are 50 and trying to restart your career after devoting your life to your family and partner.

Two friends of mine were enjoying a 5 star hotel as a treat in mid life, after working hard to get to the resources they have today. They wondered what all these very young people were doing in the lobby with them. One of my friends had a conversation with a few of them as they queued to check-in. It turned out they were in the tech industry, just out of college, starting at $124k per year. 

“It can be frustrating to see much younger, less experienced people catapulted to a much higher earning bracket.”

Ageism Sucks!

Another client left the corporate world to start her own business in her 50s. She gave up on that and tried to return to the corporate world and was told she was too old and over-qualified. 

So, yes ageism sucks! Having been a mum and wife, giving all your time and energy there and to have that go unrecognized in the work and money world hurts. It can be frustrating to see much younger, less experienced people catapulted to a much higher earning bracket.

And yet, we also bring our own suffering to it. We can point out ageism when it happens, but we can also shine a light on our own self-sabotaging commitments towards ourselves. 

“She was built to get second-rate jobs, to scrap for work, and to expect less.”

Identity And Self-Sabotage:

I worked with Saorise, a 50ish woman with 4 children from 12 to 24, in the midst of a divorce, who was working long hours for little. She didn’t ask for enough money and she allowed herself to take less money.

She complained about ageism but I was more interested in helping her turn away from that to what she was bringing to the dialogue. Saorise was the scapegoat in her family of origin. Her brother said to her recently “You were a great kid, but you always got blamed and it was never your fault.” 

She was raised to be the problem. She was built to get second-rate jobs, to scrap for work, and to expect less. This was the default programme. What was really revealing for Saorise was when she realised that she had an unconscious assumption leading all her behaviors: if she succeeded in her work and valued herself, then there would be nothing wrong with her.

If she made enough money with work that she loves, then she would have to abandon that problem kid inside her. Then who would she be? 

It Is An Issue:

Her whole way of being was to support the view that there was something wrong with her. 

So, yes ageism is an issue, certainly, but what are you bringing to the table too? This may be a bigger hurdle to your fulfillment than what the outside world is presenting to you.

When Saorise saw this clearly, she left the teaching jobs that didn’t pay well. She cut back her hours instead of working seven days a week, and focused on building her own English school business. Ageism still exists. Saorise continues to confront this as it arises. But there is a difference now.

“She has taken responsibility for the part she plays in her own happiness.”

Making Changes:

She is not using ageism to make excuses for the inner work she has to do. She has taken responsibility for the part she plays in her own happiness. And that has made all the difference to her sense of feeling powerful in making changes for the better in her life.

So, the question to ponder until we meet next. What unconscious self-defeating view is holding you in place and keeping you in a prison from a life well-lived?

There is an opportunity to do some work around your money issues coming up in 2022. Money and Spirituality starts February 19th at Noon EST for 4 Saturdays. Feel free to reach out and chat with me [email protected]

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About the Author:

Karen has worked with over 100 clients, helping them untangle their money issues and to become more effective in their work because of it. To do this, Karen has studied financial issues extensively from both the practical, behavioral, and the emotional perspectives.

She has been certified by Deborah Price of the The Money Coaching Institute as a Certified Money Coach, a Couples Money Coach, and a Business Archetype Coach. She has studied with Lynne Twist from the Soul of Money Institute for two years on Mastering your Money and Transforming your Life, including studies in Lynne’s Fundraising from the Heart program. Checkout Karen’s site TheMindfulMoneyCoach. Or, you can email Karen directly at the TheMindfulMoneyCoach.