What I Have Learned In My Fifties – So Far
I often write about the plight of the older worker. Unfortunately, we see how the very workforce they may have served well for decades often treats them like some turncoat and kicks them to the curb. Many were replaced by technology while others by someone half their age at half their salary.
What a shame.
In my opinion, companies, investors and society as a whole have been hurt by the practice. So here are some words of wisdom from a guy who will soon be 57 and who is happy to share his experience to any (and all) for the good of the tribe. Some of these are career lessons and others are simply prompted by life events.
1. People are Generally Good.
Don't get caught in the headlines. News organizations put out the horrific terror stories because they make money. "Daughter gives kidney to father" stories are awesome and happen all the time. But they don't sell. Most people want to help and will if they can. It is at the core of our DNA.
2. Finding Your Why
For me, life is about creating experiences for others and consuming experiences of others. They go in tandem. I realize now what my life is about and what value I bring to mankind. I arrived at this conclusion over the past year. It is quite humbling.
3. The Journey with the Kids
We have three boys. Two are in college, one has graduated and is working. They made it through the teen years with a few scrapes and bruises but are on their way. We can see a future for them as ours slowly changes. It's a big house.
4. Time is Precious and Fleeting
It feels like yesterday that I turned 50. Seven years gone in a flash. I am certain it does not slow down from here. Make that bucket list and start ticking them off. We flew to California for Desert Trip because we wanted to and had a great time. We went to Alaska 5 years ago and talk about the trip frequently. I decided to start writing at 54. In 2018, I will publish my first book
5. I Have Uncertainty About What Happens When You Die
I have seen and experienced so much but am not confident anything happens when it's all over. I do hope I am wrong on this one.
6. The Best Days are Ahead for Human Kind
I am optimistic for the future. Even with all the issues facing humankind. Hatred, poverty, sickness, terrorism, wars current and expected and everything else I believe we will thrive. The issues of today will make us better as we will work through them and be better for it.
7. Your Career Work Becomes Easier
This is because you have experience, are very confident and sure of yourself. The reality of how you are perceived in the workplace though is dire. People are generally mean and disrespectful to aging workers. I saw this at a place I worked once. The CEO actually said in a senior management meeting. "There are too many old people working here." I was floored and counted myself as one of those "old people."
It is during my fifties when I reworked my network and connections. Kind of like a hurricanes eye wall replacement cycle. I have done this (meaning I have dropped some and added others). Like a storm, I am certain my network is stronger now after making the changes. I highly recommend you constantly reassess the value you are receiving from the people you surrounded yourself with. This is important in your fifties, as your network will catapult you through your career in your sixties. See my article The Core of Your Network and Why it's Important.
I believe I am at my absolute best right now.
Further, I know I will continue to improve over the next years and decades. I'll be sure to keep the lessons learned flowing to my network and followers. For now, good luck creating experiences for others and be sure to share your results to continue to learn and evolve. It is how we grow.
My best, Chris