Amaya Lopez’s ‘How to survive’ series has returned to Building’s careers website. Here, in a sneak preview, she tackles (with impeccable sensitivity) the problem of being an oldie in the office

You feel 16, you might even look 21, but the cruel hard truth is that if you’re over 40 you’re old – in the eyes of colleagues and employers at any rate. So how do you overcome this hurdle? Follow our plan to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes…

Play your cards close to your chest

Nobody need know exactly how old you are unless you tell them. If you do lie, prepare a realistic age you are comfortable with, so it rolls off the tongue.

Dye your hair

There’s nothing more ageing than greys. Make sure you go to a hairdresser – you don’t want to end up with a DIY two-tone look.

Don’t behave like a fuddy duddy

Okay, anyone younger than you is bound to be an irritant, but don’t tut when they tell tales of the previous evening’s escapades or call their music a “bloody racket”.

Watch your references

Especially when it comes to popular culture. TV shows, records and films will all date you. If you mention something nobody’s heard of, say: “My mum told me about it.”

Avoid ‘dad dancing’ at the Christmas party

And don’t get excited about Status Quo or The Carpenters. Equally, be restrained when the Arctic Monkeys are playing or people will suspect you’re doing a Gordon Brown.

Forget the future

Don’t be caught fretting over your pension. You’re justified in worrying – just do it in the privacy of home.

Get to the top

The best position to be in if you are “old” is firmly on the peak of the pyramid. This way you can do all the bossing without worrying about getting the push. Just make sure you recruit an army of fellow oldies to help you man the defences.

If things get bad, get litigious

With the new age discrimination laws, any jokes made about your seniority means you can threaten to sue. The boss will be so petrified that the matter will be sorted out before you can say Stanna stairlift.