The New Republic is out this week with a lengthy look at Silicon Valley's obsession with youth, and the effect it has on hiring and VC funding in the industry. While the whole thing is worth reading, the standout section from a career perspective comes early, with the revelation that plastic surgery and Botox injections are becoming increasingly popular in the Valley, as ageing tech workers seek to keep up the appearance of youth.
Underlining the point, one cosmetic surgeon interviewed for the piece comments that "It's really morphed into, 'Hey, I'm forty years old and I have to get in front of a board of fresh-faced kids. I can't look like I have a wife and two-point-five kids and a mortgage.'"
The types of treatments the techies are going for, meanwhile, include:
"[L]aser treatments to clear up broken blood vessels and skin splotches. Next is a treatment called ultherapy—essentially an ultrasound that tightens the skin […] But, as yet, there is no technology that trumps good old-fashioned toxins, the most common treatment for the men of tech. They will go in for a little Botox between the eyes and around the mouth. Like most overachievers, they are preoccupied with the jugular. "Men really like the neck," Matarasso said, pointing out the spot in my own platysma muscle where he would inject some toxin to firm things up."
Of course, tech isn't the only industry where youth—or the perception of it—matters. And male techies definitely aren't the first group to have had to resort to superficial fixes in an attempt to prolong their careers. But short of professional sports or careers where your appearance is the job (modeling, acting, etc.), it's tough to think of another group of employees with such an early apparent sell-by date, especially given the expertise it takes to succeed in tech.
With that in mind, then, it may be that those who are interested in careers at the cutting edge of the tech sector are simply going to have to get comfortable with faking youth to prolong their shelf life.
The New Republic: The Brutal Ageism of Tech