When I was 16 years old and just starting out on my career in healthcare I thought anyone who had reached 30 was pretty old; people of 40 were well past it and their ambition must have gone; if they were 50 they were old and looking forward to retirement therefore they were slowing down; anyone beyond 60 and still working was ancient, eccentric and needed to be pushed out.
Although now I feel pretty awful about it, those very discriminatory statements were fairly typical of me and my fellow teenagers.
HOW MY OPINIONS HAVE CHANGED!
Most of you will jump to the obvious conclusion that as I am now in my 55th year ‘He would say that wouldn’t he?’
You are right - Of course I have a personal interest in saying that people of my generation are ‘younger’ (emotionally if not chronologically) than when I was 16,
I genuinely believe they (we) are!!
I see absolutely no reason why I cannot be working productively and enthusiastically for many years to come. OK, I will probably be more selective about what work I actually do but I see no reason to suppose I won’t have the energy and mindset to try and make a difference in business, leadership and management well into my 70’s.
People who have worked in management positions for a few years offer terrific experience.
BUT ONE MYTH I WOULD LIKE TO DISPEL IS THAT EXPERIENCE NECESSARILY EQUALS KNOWLEDGE OR COMPETENCE.
I think as we get older we must resist the temptation to rest on our laurels, because we have been round the block a few times, and simply say – ‘We have experience to offer’
Experience is not enough.
In addition we have to offer passion, enthusiasm, optimism, integrity, leadership and role-model behaviour. We also still need to retain within us a small bit of that rebellious teenager who wants to make a difference.
I love the quote generously given to me by one of my heroes 82 years young, Tony Benn;
“Having left Parliament to devote more time to politics I am free: Lots of experience and no personal ambition. I can't wait for April 3 2025 when I shall have completed my first hundred years and a new century of work begins” - Tony Benn
I’ll drink to that Tony!
By the way – The Tony Benn Diaries 2001–2007 that I am currently reading is a wonderful book.
Its title is ‘More Time for Politics’– loads of common sense, simplicity, integrity and passion from an inspiring man.
The book also reveals a lot about Tony Benn, the person, with many honest and intimate expressions of his feelings about his life and his family of which he is justifiably proud.