By Jane Harvey, Executive Search Specialist, Eden Ritchie Recruitment
I just passed around the earth once more and whilst the build-up to a birthday isn’t what it used to be, it did get me thinking about the age I am and the way I feel. I said to someone in the office yesterday “how did I become this age?? I don’t feel like I am this number!!”.. they laughed and kindly told me that I certainly don’t act this number! I decided to take that as a compliment!
Anyway, it got me thinking.. this year the youngest of Gen X (1965-1979) are turning 40 (the upper end are well into their 50’s) and Gen Y or Millennials (1980-1994) are well into their 20’s and 30’s! So this begs the question, is 50 the new 40? Is 40 the new 30? We are working longer and harder than we ever have.. I see this every day in my job. We want more…seem to need more and it appears we are developing more of a conscience when it comes to social injustice and our planet for example..
The hard fact of the matter is that many of us are not 30 anymore. In fact, the upper end of Gen X are ‘middle aged’ BUT we are not finished with work and with our careers… many are just hitting their straps! SO how does this translate if you are searching for work, as many are, well into their 50’s and 60’s? It shouldn’t matter right??
No matter how smart you are, when you’re young, you’re a little silly. You haven’t lived and learned yet.. you lack the depth of experience, often compensating with confidence and energy as well as a great deal of enthusiasm. Or in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “At 20 years of age the will reigns; at 30, the wit; and at 40, the judgment.”
With four or five or six decades behind us, we start having the perspective necessary to begin serious thinking, as well as the skills and experience to do great work and to add not only to an organisation, but to the generations coming up behind us. We can offer perspective and life experience and, well, let’s be honest.. we still have a great deal to do, to prove and to accomplish…
SO get out there, get amongst it! Stop telling yourself that you are aging yourself out of the workforce!… and do what you do.. don’t be afraid of a younger generation.. perception is changing, maturity and experience is being embraced.. you just need to work with the people who value and embrace it.. and why would you honestly want it any other way!