Many of us have had long, successful careers. We think that our job history has great value, and it does, but it can also be a pitfall. When speaking to someone about a job, or really in any conversation, the surest way to seem dated is to be speaking about what happened in the long ago past. And in today’s world, long ago is not that far away. As our frequent collaborator, Irma Zandl at The Opinionator puts it: “Nothing makes us look as old and out of touch as consistently talking about the past. Don’t talk about things that happened more than 3 years ago — that’s ancient history; it’s irrelevant.” It’s true we’ve lived through a lot — Nixon, the birth of the internet, the tech crash, 9/11…but even something as recent as the great recession of 2008 was 10 years ago. It may seem like yesterday to us, but to others, it’s a long ago ancient and probably irrelevant time. We learn from the past, but it’s one of those things that even though we know it’s valuable, it may be a better idea to consider your audience before you reference it.
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