Millennial tech workers are paying $5,000 for a 1-week luxury retreat to feel younger, and it shows just how bad ageism in Silicon Valley really is

Westend61/Getty ImagesModern Elder Academy (not pictured) helps guests navigate the midlife.

Does 30 signal old age? In tech, the answer might be yes.

Just ask the 30- and 40-somethings who have attended Modern Elder Academy, a luxury retreat in El Pescadero, Mexico, that costs $US5,000 for a weeklong program.

Founded by Airbnb veteran Chip Conley, Modern Elder caters to workers in tech who feel their age can’t keep up with the growing pace of technology, according to a profile of the retreat by Nellie Bowles of The New York Times.

“In and around San Francisco, the conventional wisdom is that tech jobs require a limber, associative mind and an appetite for risk – both of which lessen with age,” Bowles wrote. “As Silicon Valley work culture becomes American work culture, these attitudes are spreading to all industries.

“More workers are finding themselves in the curious position of presenting as old while still being – technically, actuarially – quite young,” Bowles continued. “And Modern Elder sees a business opportunity in selling them coping workshops, salt-air yoga, and access to a shaman.”

In the tech industry, workers often feel older than their actual age

“People feel irrelevant younger, especially in places like Silicon Valley,” Conley, age 52, told Bowles. He came up with the idea for the resort after his younger Airbnb coworkers started calling him “the elder.”

According to market research firm Statista, the median age at four of the top tech companies in the US, including Facebook and LinkedIn, falls in the late-20s range. At another ten, including Google and Amazon, the median age of workers ranges from 30-35,Business Insider previously reported.

Read more: The average age of employees at all the top tech companies, in one chart

Tech workers in their 20s are worshipped, while those in their 30s are tolerated, Business Insider’s Julie Bort wrote. Many tech workers she talked to said they have directly experienced ageism at their jobs after turning 50.

According to Bort, older workers fall into a trap where their skills get outdated over time. The same can even be said of millennials.

“Those in their mid-30s today came of age on the cusp of the digital revolution,” Bowles wrote. “Many older millennials didn’t have internet at home until high school, didn’t join social networking sites until college, and didn’t get an iPhone until they had already begun their careers. The arrival of Generation Z into the workplace is showing millennials what a true digital native looks like.”

Wellness-inspired escapes are part of a growing luxury trend

Guests have to apply and be accepted to partake in Modern Elder’s program. Activities – some of which come at additional costs – include wisdom circles, beach meditation, mindfulness classes, horseback riding, and surfing lessons, according to the Modern Elder website.

While Bowles said that Modern Elder isn’t a health/detox retreat, its website said the retreat aims to reframe the mind and help guests navigate the midlife: It’s well-being for the mind.

It’s also part of a rising trend in health and wellness as a status symbol. More of the cultural elite are investing in the trend as a discreet way of showing off their wealth.

Read more: Forget shiny Rolexes and Louis Vuitton handbags – rich people are investing more in education and health, and it shows that discreet wealth is the new status symbol

“Wellness is increasingly regarded as a modern embodiment of luxury, and accordingly, an array of spas and studios offering treatments like cryofacials,weeklong retreats, and vitamin IV drips are delivering those experiences,” Business Insider’s Lina Batarags wrote.

Wellness inspired escapes like Modern Elder are just one example. As its website slogan reads, “Grow whole, not old.”


Read the full New York Times article here ยป

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