Re: Grey beards pricing themselves out of the market
I have to disagree somewhat with the second AC poster. There's nothing new about the overall problem, but things have changed a lot in other ways.
I'm in my 50's, and I well remember, 30 years ago, a guy in his 40s who'd come up "through the ranks", starting as an apprentice. He'd always turned down all opportunities to a more managerial/team-lead position because he enjoyed the technical work too much. Eventually he decided that it was time to take that step, and started applying for promotion. He was rejected every time because he was seen as somewhat hidebound and his managerial skills as old-fashioned. He'd missed his chance, and no-one in the office was greatly surprised by it, even though he was seen as a generally likeable guy, always ready to help. Unfortunately he started to harp on too much about being denied his 'entitlement' to promotion, and was eventually encouraged to take a severance package. No doubt he would tell the story differently, which always makes be sceptical about these "I'm 50-years-old and that's why no-one wants to hire me" sob stories, there's usually more too it than that
The comment about the UK reads, to be honest, a bit like like sour grapes. I wouldn't generalize so much, I've had good and bad UK managers.
California is interesting. Back in the 90s startups had lots of youngsters, greybeards were rare, but today we're everywhere. It still entertains me to sit in internal meetings where people are enthusiastically presenting ideas for new products and features, based on the latest trendy technology, and to realize that half of them have less hair (and more grey) than I do. Sure the youngsters may be the ones who work all weekend prototyping to impress their boss, but when it comes to getting a reliable and secure design that same boss has the greybeards heading up the meetings.
Europe varies too much to generalize. Older Germans really do think that working late means being in the office after 4:30pm, and older French really do assume that August doesn't exist when it comes to setting project schedules, both of which attitudes really irritate US managers. Yet, while both countries allegedly have problems with over-50 unemployment figures it's still not impossible to find good work at that age. My wife is having a great time at a local startup where she's one of the older people in the place, but she seems to be valued almost as much for the stability that she brings to the youngsters as for her technical experience.
At the end of the day your own attitude has at least as much impact on your employment chances as your age, be you 25 or 55.