Don't call me junior

May 15 2008 by Derek Torres Print This Article

When I hear of age discrimination, I tend to think of people being passed over for jobs or promotions due to wage demands or physical limitations. But one particular case in Canada threw me for a loop.

I had quite a laugh when I learned that a Canadian MP called a considerably younger colleague "junior", but I didn't expect it to launch a debate. I was rather hoping that he would have retorted by calling the elder MP an "old fart".

However, this does bring up a new debate on ageism and to what extent its presence may be felt at the office. Although comedic in its tenor, the "junior" comment remains a pejorative comment that was probably less than appropriate for the workplace.

Before it seems like a mountain out of a molehill, there's the reverse: how bad would it have been had the younger called the senior MP a "dopey old man" or "pensioner"?

The truth is that age can cause some problems at the office, as the aforementioned article points out. Different generations might different ways of working or work ethic, differences in how they view breaks or things like listening to music at work, etc.

While I've never seen such issues turn into serious problems, they can create some tension within the workplace.

At the end of the day, however, you should be part of a team with your colleagues Ė young and old Ė and we should work to avoid stereotypes or other harmful commentary that distracts us from getting things done.