Gender, Work & Organisation

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Volume 22 Issue 5 (September 2015), Pages 437-533

Work, Age and Other Drugs: Exploring the Intersection of Age and Masculinity in a Pharmaceutical Organization (pages 459-473)

This paper explores the work experiences of older male pharmaceutical sales representatives, many of whom are working well past traditional retirement age. In many respects these older sales people are the material signifiers of the company's products because they embody the firm's strategy of selling ‘older’, tried‐and‐tested drugs. Extending their careers well beyond the traditional age at which most Australian men retire enables these sales representatives to continue to construct masculine identities strongly related to work and career as they negotiate their ageing identities. We found that they drew on comparisons with their younger selves, older non‐working men and their future selves to counter ways in which ageing threatened their masculinity. While work remained the main site for the construction of their masculinity, we found that they drew on ageing norms and successful ageing discourses rather than earlier held hegemonic masculinity ideals to construct what it meant for them to be an older man.

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