You’ve always been a “team of one,” and your company has never worried about your workload in the past – so, why are you suddenly being given an assistant?
Your workload may not have changed, but your company’s attitude toward you might. You may currently be training your replacement.
Why would a company do this?
Companies tend to devalue their older workers for a number of reasons. While you might think that your experience and dedication over the years would make you one of their most valued employees, that experience and tenure cost your employer money. If they can get rid of you, they can put someone new in your place who is willing to work for a lot less.
Or, your company may simply be in love with an image that embraces youth, so they may be worried that having an older employee in a public position doesn’t fit the vibe they want to project. In other cases, employers are just biased: They believe that younger workers are simply more technologically proficient and adaptable to whatever new processes are coming.
How can you tell if your company is slowly angling to terminate your employee while setting things up so that there’s someone ready and able to step into your role? Here are some signs that should concern you:
- You’re asked to shift more and more work in the trainee’s direction – and their workload seems to be growing at the same time yours is shrinking.
- Your trainee is being given the newest assignments or you’re pulled out of certain projects with your trainee as your replacement, “freeing you up” to finish other things.
- Your boss ignores you. Instead of talking with you about the trainee’s progress or asking you to relay information to your trainee, they simply go to the trainee directly.
Ageism in the workplace can be subtle, and you should never doubt your instincts. If you think that your “trainee” is actually meant to be your replacement, it’s wise to start documenting what’s happening and planning for a possible exit. Speaking with someone who is familiar with age discrimination laws may also be wise.