THE WISDOM OF AGE

There has been a lot written of late about the aging population, baby boomers leaving the workforce, how technology may be outpacing the ability of some older workers, etc.  Consumer products companies, the media and others are changing their marketing efforts to attract and appeal to the younger generations.  Nursing homes and alternative care programs are filling at alarming rates.  Many in our nation are putting out to pasture the group of people who have driven technology, invented the web, found cures for life threatening diseases, served the poor, and lead the recent efforts for democracy and keeping our country strong and free.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on which side of the fence you stand I am among those born in the waning years of the famed baby boomer generation.  To my twenty something children and my aging parents I am a part of the “tweener” generation, still requiring my attention to both. I am still working and earning a living and still contributing to society, paying way too much in taxes and contributing to a questionable Social Security system.

There is much to be said for the wisdom of age.  This wisdom that is only gained through experience, trial and effort, failures, reading, experimenting.  My “older” friend Cee Godwin reminds me that “Just because you are old doesn’t make you wise”, however many forms of wisdom come only from the learning’s associated with the ageing process.  The better employers realize the value of experience and age and have instituted formal mentoring programs pairing their newer younger workers with mature employees.  The mentoring process provides opportunity for positive growth and development for both the older and younger workers.  Small business and mega-corporations alike are actively recruiting the older worker to fill much needed positions at all levels of the organization. Citing better work ethics, less specialized skill sets and a spirit of contribution to the good of the whole, many employers are looking to the older employee to work more years and add a value to the workplace that can only come from experience.  Older job seekers often ask if they should limit their years of experience on their resume for fear of age discrimination in the hiring process.  My advice is always “it is what it is, when you walk in for your interview they will be able to see how old you are.”  Instead, tout your years of relevant experience and demonstrate through your statements of significant past contributions the added value that your experience, and yes wisdom, will provide.

This is my final column for the Times Call.  Their desire to appeal to a younger business reader has eliminated their need for my column. I am hopeful that their new format and look will work well for the paper and their readers. Over the last two years I have made a feeble attempt to address many relevant issues within the realm of human resources and career management.  I have been both surprised and pleased by the number of readers who have commented to me about my articles and I feel privileged to have been provided the opportunity to contribute to our newspaper.  Blessings to each of you.

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