Mary Jane Roy

Resilient At Every Age: Beating Ageism And Promoting Resilience In A Multigenerational Workforce With Mary Jane Roy

PSF 85 | Multigenerational Workforce


One of the most uncomfortable realities in today’s world of work is that ageism and age discrimination in the workplace still exist. We are deep into the 21st century and companies are still hesitant to hire older individuals and quick to lay them off in disproportionate rates. Today’s guest argues that these companies are missing out on the research-backed benefits of having a multigenerational workforce. Mary Jane Roy is an expert on personal resilience and an advocate for workplace inclusion. In this episode, she debunks the popular image of older individuals in the workplace that portrays them as slower and less resilient. Mary Jane shares some of the science behind resilience that shows it can be built at whatever age and life stage. Tune in and learn how companies stand to gain by leveraging the unique contributions of older individuals in a multigenerational workplace paradigm.


Resilient At Every Age: Beating Ageism And Promoting Resilience In A Multigenerational Workforce With Mary Jane Roy

We’re a show that guides leaders on how to elevate the workplace. We believe that people are at the heart of successful organizations. Team member’s well-being, rewards, and career development are all essential to a happy and healthy workplace. This show discusses the practical and effective leadership strategies for top executives, senior professionals, and talent managers. We have a number of our hosts with us. I would like to introduce you, first, Howard Nizewitz. Howard is a seasoned compensation advisor with a strategic HR consultant as well, with many years of experience. I’m very fortunate to be working with Howard. We’re good colleagues from long ago at Barclays. It’s nice to have him here.

We also have Sumit Singla. Sumit is an experienced HR consultant dedicated to helping small to medium-sized enterprises scale up. He has a strong background with a lot of top consulting firms such as Accenture, Deloitte, Aon, and GE. It’s great to have Sumit here. He brings a great amount of experience and is known as the culture guy out in cyberspace. He keeps us on track with the international experience. We also have Char Miller. Char is a person that comes with some great expertise. She has been a Chief HR Officer in large organizations as well as her own company. Char is a serial entrepreneur. She has plenty of irons in the fire, including a mountain and sea career advocacy. She’s a career coach.

It’s all in the sea because I live halftime in the mountains and I have live half time in the city.

You’re an advocate for everyone.

As a former traditional HR lady, I am.

I’m definitely pleased to introduce to you our speaker. We’re delving into the topic of pivotal to the rapidly changing landscape. It’s resilience at any stage and at any age. Allow me to introduce Mary Jane Roy. She’s a dynamo in the realm of resiliency and emotional agility. She’s a former registered nurse and a military nursing officer. She founded the company Creating Waves back in 2011. She’s a seasoned corporate advisor, acclaimed author, and a magnetic speaker. I’m very pleased to have her here with us. Welcome, Mary Jane. Tell us a little bit about yourself so our community can know a little bit more about you.

Thank you for that introduction. I’m happy to be here and to meet all of you. Sam and I met here briefly in the Netherlands. I’m going to turn 69, so I’ll be in my 70th year. Around my early 50s, because this will give you context, I started having some serious health heart health issues. I felt very strongly they were related to not dealing with stress. I called myself for decades of stress money. I created massive amounts of fiction for the future. The what-if scenarios were prevalent. It’s something that some of you might recognize, “What if this happens? What if that?”

What I’ve learned since then is that around 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. Only 1% or 2% is as bad as we think it is. We do a lot of unnecessary worry, but it costs me a lot in my health. Because of my nursing background, I was open to doing a deep dive into, “What is stress? What does it do to us physiologically? How can we better deal with the stress in our lives? What strategies can we develop to deal better with it?” That took me on a journey, 3 or 4 years with various certifications, not that I ever thought that I was going to be using this to train, work in corporates, and advise. It was all for my own personal health.

Around 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass and only 1-2% is as bad as we think it is. Click To Tweet

There’s an a-ha moment that happened in 2011 when I realized that I have all this knowledge that I’ve gained. That was over by the four-year period approximately. With that knowledge, I thought, “There is so much pain in the workplace. What if I can share what I know with those employees and people who are working in corporate environments to deal better with the stress that they have?” Stress led to a deep dive into resilience, what it is, and the strategies around how we can develop greater resilience in life. That’s me in a nutshell. I don’t know if there’s any other tangent you want me to go off, but fire away.

I would love to know a little bit about your history, where you are being in nursing, and so forth. You feel like that has prepared you in a way to help organizations. It seems like there’s being in that field. You’re dealing with crisis and caring. It seems like it’s a natural fit for what you’re doing.

It is, but I have to say that background goes back many years ago. I had a lot of time in between when I was also working together with my husband. We had a consulting business. I was doing a lot of things at that time. I wasn’t following my passion, but I was following his passion. That might be recognizable for the readers. What I feel has helped me is the fact that everything that I share is scientifically based.

This is where I think my strength has been where that medical background has supported me in being able to read research and discern what’s fact, what’s not, and what is supposed supposition or what is research-based. That has been the advantage. I’m grateful. It was the first ten years of my career life that I was working in the nursing field, but it has had a lasting impact on everything that I’ve done.

We’re here to talk about an important topic as far as utilizing the entire workforce, thinking about how we can be resilient overall as companies and leaders, and understanding the strength of every team member on the team. One of the things that I’ve been diving into a lot over the past years is the fact that endemic graphics are shifting across the world. We’re having a lot of the places that we relied on in the past for supplies, goods, and services are getting squeezed.

For instance, China has been a powerhouse for creating products for the world in Europe, Germany, and a lot of countries. The US and Canada are included. We’ve all experienced this demographic crisis meaning that there are more people that are older than there are younger in a lot of cultures. This has caused problems for pensions and social services in those particular areas. It’s creating problems for organizations and the workforce as a whole, refining that there are not enough people to be able to do the jobs that we want them to do that have the skill sets that we’re looking for.

We’ve seen or witnessed massive movements of populations across the globe due to crises and other things that have gone on. We’ve had people coming through the Southern border of the United States. There are people coming into Europe from Africa in great crisis. A lot of organizations in countries welcome these people not only because they’re desperately needed but out of the goodness of their hearts.

The next thing is how to bring these people into our cultures and have them be productive members of society and so forth. That’s another challenge. What I’m trying to set here is the groundwork of one reality, is the future of the workforce in a lot of developed countries is being squeezed demographically. We need to value and harness the ability to communicate with all the different demographics or age groups. We need to make sure that we’re harnessing all the different generations in the workforce because they’re going to be desperately needed.

In some of these situations and some of the folks that are looking for retirement, we might be asking to stay a little bit longer because we need their knowledge, experience and wisdom. That is going to help elevate the rest of the team because, at that lower level, there’s a skill gap that needs to be filled. What are you seeing in that regard with your clients overall?

It is something we touched on earlier before we started the show. The real problem is that when organizations are looking up the talent constriction, they aren’t even considering looking at the 50 or 55-plus to boost their knowledge, skills gap, etc. It’s as if that group is being written off in many cases. It’s extremely difficult here, at least in the Netherlands. I don’t know how it is in other countries that once you hit the age of 50, whether you’ve been made redundant, the company has gone for heat and bankrupt and you need to find new employment or you want to change in your career and you want to move on in your career to develop it, it’s very difficult for people to find new employment after that age group.

PSF 85 | Multigenerational Workforce

Multigenerational Workforce: Many companies aren’t even considering looking at the 50-55+ to boost their knowledge and skills gap. It’s as if that group is being written off in many cases.


I consider ageism is a real problem and probably across the board in most Western countries. We have very deeply embedded stereotypical biases that we paint this generation of 50-pluses as a total group. This is what’s handicapping. They have such great institutional knowledge, this group of people and to write them off and to think because you think they’re going to be too expensive and they can’t keep up with the technological advances, they don’t have enough energy or aren’t flexible enough, there are many different biases.

You have to look at your birthdate cards from after the age of 30 and see what happens to the messages that you’re getting. This is a real a real problem. We need to start opening up to understand that the 4 or 5 generations working within the same organization is not just the future. It is the now. This has to start happening sooner rather than later. How you do that and integrate it is the next step.

It’s a hard mindset to change. People are living longer. There are better health facilities available for people to take care of themselves. You’re losing that part of the population that has a lot of experience and maybe they’re not the quickest and technology anymore, but they have insights that the younger generations can truly benefit from. They’re all being pushed out. How do you work in terms of changing that mindset and getting incorporations to realize this is a valuable population?

The first thing that I want to say, and I’m adamant about this, is let’s stop using generational labels, the Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z’s. We have to stop this because it perpetuates the stereotypical biases. That’s one thing. My next thing is a simple solution. Have a conversation with the individual. Maybe this is not as well known as it should be. I think it is because it’s been part of my study for 3 or 4 years, but our brains continue to develop and grow. We can learn until the day we die as long as we have a healthy brain or the neuroplasticity of the brain.

We have to stop using generational labels because it actuates the stereotypical biases. Click To Tweet

Even though I might be maybe or maybe not slower in developing my technological skills, I can learn them. Will you give me the room the space to allow me to develop and grow? Will you give me the training and development that I need based on the fact that I learned differently? The older we get, the more crystallized our thinking, but that means that we can make connections where a younger person possibly can’t make those connections because of this built-in experience. Those are things that come right off the top of my head.

I do watch my Netflix. There’s this wonderful show. It’s Tanya Tucker who slipped out of the spotlight. She was a rising brand for country music. It seems like other country singers like Willie Nelson and many others that I can name off, the main female that was identified as popular was Dolly Parton because she has created this massive industry. She’s got parks and all these new songs. She’s partnering with Miley Cyrus. They have all these cool new hip-hop songs.

The inter thing that I want to say is that I was super proud that there are some documentaries that highlight older women and women who used to be former rock stars or what your music genre is but to highlight the fact that music was created on history. It’s not just your traditional Elvis thing. There is an entire genre of females that built our history of music. This particular woman took a Tanya Tucker under her arm and said, “Let’s write an album together, and let’s celebrate your age, old-time music and redevelop it so that our younger generation is more excited about music from 30 years ago.”

That’s one industry. I usually talk about health care, but that’s music industry. Mary Jane, what do you think about this new trend that we’re seeing in the media and in entertainment? For example, Clint Eastwood. That’s another good one. He’s 93 and creating all kinds of music or movies. What are your thoughts about that in the entertainment industry?

I think that’s going to help set role models. People will begin to realize that in the Academy Awards, I think there are 3 women that are at least over 50, if not over 60. I don’t follow that anymore. I am living here in Europe.

This is an American thing.

Maybe not. North American at least, but that already is credibility. You have someone who was on the cover of the swimsuit at 82. Tina Turner is another example. The more attention that we can bring to older role models. When I was listening to a talk that Jimmy Buffett did, he’s one of the richest men, the more that we can demonstrate how active. There was this wonderful woman who passed away in the last few years. She was mayor of Mississauga, which is a city outside of Toronto. I’m Canadian from birth and have been here for many years in the Netherlands.

Her nickname was Hurricane Hilda, but at the age of 101, she was directed to a board position at the Toronto Airport. We need more role models. That’s one thing. We have to stop being biased against ourselves. That’s a big factor. Ashton Applewhite is a great person to follow if you want to understand why it’s important that we stop ages in its tracks. She’s an American journalist.

In her TED Talk, she used the analogy of how often she has not had to stop herself and going, “This a senior moment. You forget something. When I was twenty at university, when I forgot something or the book that I needed for a class, I didn’t go, ‘I’m having a junior moment.’” We talked down ourselves. She has a wonderful sense of humor. I like her. These are the struggles that we’ve got. It is embedded in our culture that the minute you hit, 50 is not bad, but 60 and then 70. I’m thinking, “Who are you going to compare me to? I will be in my 70th year.”

I’ve got lots of energy and skills that I’ve developed over the years. I still developed. It was a steep learning curve, but I learned how to do back end of an e-learning authoring tool. It’s very not intuitive at all for me. Those skills that I can still apply to what I’m doing. Maybe this is most important. Have conversations with the individuals. Don’t just disregard somebody’s resume because it says that you are 55. You’ve got a younger tech company. You need inclusive diversity in your company. That includes all the generations that are out there because you will have far more. Research is unequivocal. More productive, more creative, and engaged teams as long as they are inclusive and psychologically safe. It is a critical Factor.

PSF 85 | Multigenerational Workforce

Multigenerational Workforce: You need inclusive diversity in your company and that includes all the generations that are out there because you will have far more productive, more creative, and more engaged teams.


Another thing that I was thinking of is including older people in the workforce and making sure that they’ve got the right career opportunities. The second also is as the world ages are important, consumer segment as well. You cannot simply have new technology and say, “I find these couple of billion people. They cannot use the latest iPhone because they’re behind the times.” If you start targeting your advertising and marketing efforts, if you try including them in the fold, you’re doing the right thing. You’re also doing the right thing for your business.

That’s where China has taken a lead over the rest of the world because they do have specific universities that provide skills to the elderly, people about 50. That’s the minimum age for involvement in some of those universities. They’re not for everyone to join in. You’ve got courses that range from yoga to playing musical instruments, training, being a tour guide, and learning how to operate a smartphone.

There are life skills that help you and skills that help in employment. It makes a person feel more included as part of the workforce and not somebody who’s a burden to be born by the rest of society. Considering they’re likely to have 500 million people above the age of 60 in the next decades, it’s definitely a futuristic move from China. I wish more of the world would adopt measures like that.

There is so much to be said. I don’t know the exact numbers but I see quotes on it, 60 and over, but the amount of contribution that we make to the gross national product in our countries is phenomenal. I heard once, not so long ago, about a tech company that was building a platform for providing all kinds of information on female hormonal problems. It failed miserably.

Why do you think that is? They don’t have one woman contributing. If your demographics are showing that we have a lot of money to spend at this age and your products are geared to that demographic, why not have some of us in there with the design, development, and marketing? We’ve got to see a change in our mainstream media and marketing that’s happening.

In fact, there was some survey done in the last few decades on “Boomer women.” The title of the survey was Boomer Women, that’s why I use the term specifically. They found that the segment that’s spending the most amount of money on buying consumer products, but when they were asked, they said, “Most of them felt ignored by the entire marketing effort.”

I’m glad it’s starting to change in my country in India. You’ve got a lot of older models and people who are in their mid-60s. We’ve got a humans of New York an equivalent here, which is called humans of Bombay, the featured people who decided that, “I’ve had enough of being on the sidelines.” They tried out new clothes and stuff. Somebody took a picture, it went viral and they got modeling offers. Initially, there was a lot of ridicule saying, “You’re trying to stop the aging process from you,” but then, gradually, different brands picked them up. Those people feel integrated into society. They’ve become role models. That’s a huge positive change that’s happening.

There is a great need. My husband is 76. He’s still going strong with multiple health concerns, but his attitude is positive. He’s up at 4:30 every morning and in the gym by 5:00 seven days a week. This is 76 years old and has 2 different projects on the go. He is not what we think of, but I think he’s more typical than me. Anytime he hears somebody, for example, on TV, he’s watched CNN International here, “Mary Jane, here’s one for you.”

We need more of these role models. I’m wondering if I can bring it back as well to the resilience piece. This is a significant aspect. When I speak about resilience, it’s about personal resilience. It’s not about organizational resilience. If your personnel are more resilient than your organization, go hand in hand. I don’t think anyone would dispute that.

This is from the University of Pennsylvania, the Positive Psychology department. The ability to bounce back from adversity and stressful situations and the ability to grow from challenges. That’s what I loved when I saw this definition. It’s about what I call bouncing forward. You bounce back from adversity, but you bounce forward from the learning that you do in that situation.

One thing that I want to stress for the readers is that it doesn’t matter what your age or what stage you’re at in your life. It’s a dynamic process. We can learn strategies to develop our personal resilience at any age. Ideally, children and childhood would be the stage in which we would start to develop some of the coping strategies, emotional self-regulation, curiosity skills that we need, and moving forward.

We can learn strategies to develop our personal resilience at any age. Click To Tweet

In the words of Gabor Maté, who’s a Canadian doctor, what we learn as a toddler is what we take into adulthood. That’s a shame and blame game. It’s not a strategy that supports us. It might have served as a 3-year-old, but it’s not going to support us as a 23 or 53-year-old. I can honestly say that when I read that term, I thought, “Until the age of 52 or 53 when I started to do this deep dive into stress and ultimately into resilience, it was shame and blame. Either I was doing it to myself or I was blaming somebody else for what was not happening in my life the way I wanted it. This isn’t what we need.” It’s a dynamic process. I want to stress that we can develop the skills and strategies that we need in order to become more resilient. It doesn’t matter how old you are.

Here’s my reflection because when I transferred from one non-healthcare system to a healthcare system, and I became an HR generalist, I was transferred when I turned 30 years old. Hi to some of my former colleagues. They’re about 10 to 15 years older than me. I was 30 years old. Shelly threw me a little birthday party in my office. She was 40.

At that time, I was like, “It’s my birthday. I’m 30. I’m the brand new HR generalist.” We all have the same job. We are HR managers. They never classify this, but that’s another story. It was interesting because that friend who’s still my friend now and my other friends who worked in the healthcare system with me, we all had different ages. I was 30 and they were 40, 50, and 60.

As a woman and no offense to the men on this program, it felt even worse that, as women, we were competing in a “man’s world.” I know I’m being stereotypical. No offense to men. It is a very patriarchal world in addition to the ageism that was happening, being a White blond female, and all the other dynamics. I’m always analyzing sociology, “What’s happening? Why are the boardrooms acting this way? Why are people being political? Why is it hard to hire the right talent? Why are we ignoring the 50-plus work environment? Why does it seem the employees notice that the older generation is disappearing all of a sudden?”

There are pink slips going out and emails going out. We’re downsizing, but then everyone turns around and there’s everybody in under 30. That’s a loaded question. This may be over the last couple of decades, but with the pandemic and awakening or whatever word you want to use, people are realizing this behavior is going to stop. When you say this must stop, my loaded question is how do we make this stop? How do we open our eyes to ageism and all the other diversity aspects? What would be a tangible and actionable item that a talent manager, HR person, or whoever’s in charge of people for companies should do to transition this culture?

I’m sure there are multiple answers. One that comes directly to the top of my mind is the fact that bust the myths that surround age. Do you know what is a great resource in the US? It is AARP or the American Association of Retired Persons.

What age is that? I’m already getting mailings for that. I got that in my mid-40s.

They do some great research. They have a great document. I can send the link to you. If you can share that with the readers in, however you put this out to the media. They bust those myths. We’re too costly. That’s one myth that’s out there. Without understanding, “Are there other ways that you can compensate us to keep us in the workforce?” “Maybe if you can provide me a little bit more flexibility because I might have a mother that I have to take care of three days a week, I’m willing to take less salary but still stay valued, seen, and heard in a place that I’ve given possibly a lot of my time in life?”

It comes back, Char, to having the blood come to do the research. That’s first and foremost. Readers,  there is much research in this area, from the UK and the US primarily. Get your data. Incorporate non-biased techniques of interviewing, screening, and recruiting. Make sure you set quotas on, “For this role, I want to have people from over three decades to apply.” I know in the US, they’re not even allowed to ask for age. I’m not sure what it’s like in other European countries. I don’t think they are here either, but they still do. That’s what I’m told. Don’t be crazy. You’re shooting yourself in the foot. You’re cutting your nose off to spite your face if you don’t incorporate the older generations into your workforce. There is no single good reason not to and a lot of good reasons to do.

PSF 85 | Multigenerational Workforce

Multigenerational Workforce: You’re cutting your nose off to spite your face if you don’t incorporate the older generations into your workforce.


Companies need to think differently. Companies see the older generations to costly. They’re in the way of allowing younger people to be promoted up. You have a valuable resource. Speak to the people. See what else they might be interested in. They may be interested in taking a cut time more flexible hours. How else can you utilize them versus cutting the ties, throwing them out, and losing those resources?

It’s a mindset for starters. It needs a strong intent. One of the examples is from the BMW plant in Germany, where in the assembly line, they used to have cars that were placed horizontally for workers to assemble, but they found older workers struggled to get under the car to work on it. They tweaked the design of the assembly line to make the cars vertical. Therefore, it was easier for older workers to work on them. That’s not only lip service saying, “Yes, we must get older workers into the system or we must keep them.” It’s also, “We must enable them to succeed and to contribute meaningfully.” That’s the next step that a lot of companies haven’t thought of yet.

I think you’ve hit the nail on the head and that’s a good example, the BMW in Germany. There has to be some structure in the recruiting and hiring process. The example that I had in my head, and now it’s coming back to me is a 47-year-old friend of mine who asked for a lateral transfer to another department, but it would mean that she has to go through quite a learning development. She’s been with the company for over twenty years. She was refused that lateral move because she was too old.

At least in the Netherlands, it’s another 25 years of work life. If you’re stopping people from having learning or development opportunities because they’ve hit a certain age, rethink what you’re doing. You’ve got to make that investment to keep their skills with the times. We learned differently, but one of the things that we want to know is if you want me to learn something, then I want to know why and what’s the motivation.

I just don’t want to learn for the sake of learning. I did that for the first 25 or 30 years of my life, but now I want to know why it’s important for me. You build the case as well in terms of your learning and development programs. The research out there shows that we are more engaged and more loyal to our companies. You lose that. I say more, but it’s a definite advantage to having the older generation.

I want to bring in the role that the older generation needs to play to engage the younger generation. We can’t be pointing fingers and saying, “All of you young people are this or that.” That’s one of the things I want to get rid of the generational labels for because it perpetuates that. It’s about getting those conversations going between the groups. That is not difficult to do the reverse mentoring. A younger mentoring an older and older mentoring the younger. The learning that comes from that is amazing.

I love your topic.

I hope others will walk away from this loving it too.

As an HR/talent management person, to open up the dialogue about this topic, is critical because I’ve sat at the table saying, “Why is the fact that your recruitment program takes you 45 days to fill this position?” We have a critical position here. I’ve also been in charge of all the recruiters. I totally agree with you that the recruiters, no offense to my former team, are looking for young talent, fresh out of college, maybe has 5 to 10 years of work experience.

To break open the paradigm in the mindset is a huge change management strategy. However, the data that I’ve learned from Sam and CompTeam is the world has to break open this paradigm to think that if you’re younger than 30 or 45, you’re the golden child and, “You are my talent. You’re young and fresh. Like a football team and NFL, I have to make sure that they’re the youngest, brightest, fittest, and the fastest.”

Here’s my point. I do feel that some of our older generation or whatever we want to call it may have spent more time on technology, the freedom to spend time understanding artificial intelligence, and the ability to research what’s happening in our global economy. Don’t say that our “older generation” has no ability to learn, think, and develop. Our brains, from the research I’ve done, were constantly learning. Our challenge is breaking that paradigm because of that mind or group thing because, in my HR world, it’s there. I’ve been at the table and tried to convince my colleagues to open their mindset about recruitment and talent management strategy, but it’s a hard thing to win over. It’s data that’ll break that shell.

There’s plenty of that out there, Char.

I’m a big soccer fan. There are times when you play an older defender, they’re not as fast as the younger ones but you play them for their positional intelligence, their ability to read the game and to recognize different patterns, which a younger player may not be able to do. While the person is physically lacking, they bring a different value and diverse skill to the team.

The second is my suggestion or advice to companies. You’ve got a huge demographic dividend staring at you in the face. You either take it or get sued for non-compliance. A large social media company, which was taken over by a billionaire has been sued for age discrimination because data shows that they laid off older workers that are at a much higher rate. In fact, any of the top tech companies, it’s ironical that they sell technology to the rest of the world, but out of the so-called Fang or The Man companies. I think there’s not a single one of them that’s not being sued right now at this very moment for age discrimination. That’s shocking.

What else is ironic is that if you think about companies while they’re jetting their older population, if they have a project like a business strategy and they’re bringing in outside consultants, they typically don’t bring in twenty-year-old consultants to help them with their issues. On one hand, people might be able to help them and on the other hand, they’re willing to pay consultants top dollar for that same knowledge that maybe some of the population has.

I’m going to give one quick illustration of that. A good friend of mine was working here in the Netherlands for ten years with her company. She was told she had to retire at 67 and a half. She said to her employer, “I’m at the top of my game. I don’t want to retire.” She started her own consulting business and immediately had clients from past years hire her, but her ex-employer hired her back at a far higher rate because they couldn’t find the younger talent to replace her institutional knowledge and experience.

What Char and Sumit were saying is there are a lot of taboos out there that exist in the marketplace. To the full circle on what Char said earlier, we were talking about Warren Buffett and Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy Buffett is a performer. We talked about athletes as well. Jimmy Buffett in his 76, unfortunately, passed away prematurely, but he was still working through that entire time and wanted to do more shows and had them scheduled on the books. He was not going to be slowed down, but one of the taboos is that as we get older, our bodies wear out a bit. I can feel it in my knees every time I bend.

The important thing is that we make accommodations in the workforce for all age groups, all different cognitive abilities, and so forth. There should not be a taboo around that. It’s around the physical ability of a particular person. It doesn’t mean that they are any less useful. Another taboo that we have is we believe that people only grow their careers up. It’s not until recently we started thinking about, “Maybe I don’t want to take that higher level job. I want more work life.”

PSF 85 | Multigenerational Workforce

Multigenerational Workforce: We have to make accommodations in the workforce for all age groups and for all different cognitive abilities.


We are more commonly thinking that’s acceptable at the family age, but why not at the senior ages when people are saying, “Maybe I do want a little bit more time. I want to enjoy the sunsets?” We need to take the way the taboos there. Another one is in alignment with that and in my field, there’s a taboo to lower pay. Part of the mindset is that it can never take pay away. If you want a smaller job for flexibility and you’re willing to accept that for a lower level of pay, then why not? Why do we need to get rid of our higher or older workforce? We were afraid to ask them if they would take a pay cut if they wanted a smaller or lower level job for work-life balance or something like that. I think those taboos need to be broken.

It comes back to communication. Have the conversations and sometimes there are courageous conversations because they’re not the easiest ones to have. By asking a person, “What do you need from us and how can we meet in the middle somewhere?” Be curious about the individual and not these standard generalizations and judgments that we’re making about a group of people. It doesn’t cut it anymore.

It comes down to communication and listening. That has come up many times for me in the regular course of work. It comes down to communication and listening to one another. This has been a great conversation. Nobody escapes getting older.

If you are age in your approach to others, and I’m talking now older ageism, then you’re being prejudiced against your future self. That’s a quote that’s out there. It’s not for me, but I do love it. It says volumes.

Nobody escapes getting older. If you’re prejudiced against older people in the workplace, then you're being prejudiced against your future self. Click To Tweet

I’m going to look at that quote because I see such judgment and it’s like, “You just wait.”

For people who want to know more and want to know more about how you can help them, how should they get ahold of you?

Connect on LinkedIn and let me know that you are responding because of this show that I’ve taken part in. I’m part of a Global platform called Wize Moves Society. All the things that I’ve shared with you are the things that we have as a passion at our heart for creating change in the world. Char, you see yourself and you are a serial entrepreneur. We offer an entrepreneurial program to explore whether or not you have the skills and mindset to become an entrepreneur at an older age. In research, we are much more successful from the age of 50 onward in setting up businesses than younger generations are. We have again that crystallized learning that comes into play.

If you start your Master’s degree later in life, you have a lot more to write about because you have real-life experience. It makes a big difference. I love that. I’d love to look at your material. Thank you so much.

You’re welcome. Thank you.

We’ll see everyone next episode. Have a great week.

Take care, Mary Jane.

It’s nice meeting you all. We’ll connect.


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About Mary Jane Roy

PSF 85 | Multigenerational WorkforceMary Jane Roy is a passionate advocate for personal well-being and organizational excellence. With a wealth of experience and a diverse skill set, she is dedicated to helping organizations and individuals thrive in today’s demanding world.

Mary Jane’s journey began as a Military Nursing Officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, where she specialized in cardiovascular diagnostics. This early career provided her with a solid foundation in healthcare and the importance of resilience in high-stress environments.

Today, as a certified Resiliency Coach, Stress Counselor, Sleep Coach, and Happiness @ Work Coach, Mary Jane empowers organizations and their employees to lead healthier, more creative, and productive lives. She believes that by equipping individuals with the right knowledge and tools, we can all enhance our resilience and thrive in the face of life’s challenges.

Mary Jane’s approach is grounded in science-based strategies, and she is continually expanding her expertise through lifelong learning. Her diverse certifications, including Foundations of Positive Psychology and Science of Well-being, demonstrate her commitment to staying at the forefront of well-being practices.

In her mission to create waves of well-being awareness, Mary Jane emphasizes collaboration and co-creation both within organizations and through her extensive Partner Network. She offers interactive group trainings, workshops, 1:1 coaching, and team coaching to provide a holistic approach to well-being.

With values such as dependability, perseverance, humor, and equality, Mary Jane embodies the qualities needed to guide individuals and organizations toward a brighter, healthier future. Her goal is not only to help individuals make informed choices for their well-being but also to promote gender-inclusive leadership for a more equitable world.

Mary Jane’s dynamic presentations on topics such as resiliency, work-life integration, courage, and curiosity have a profound impact on audiences, both large and small. She invites you to connect with her at [email protected] or +31(0)6-24241112 to embark on a journey of personal growth, resilience, and thriving. #livingfrommyheart


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