In the hiring game, younger is usually cheaper but not necessarily better. Millennials and Gen-Y are renowned for being in a role for just weeks and wondering why their manager has failed to recognize their talent and not promoted them.
Wisdom requires age and has it's benefits especially in roles where buyers seek trusted advice to manage their purchasing risk and avoid implementation mistakes. The best employers recognize that their customers appreciate dealing with those who best meet their needs and who also provide insight beyond mere information. The smartest employers also value diversity (gender, age, culture, etc.) within teams to ensure they're not blind-sided by competitors. There are 5 things mature and older people must do if they hope to escape being typecast as past their prime.
1. Be fit and healthy with high energy. Arnie and Sly have both defied the age stereotypes. Physiology has a huge impact on your mental state so walk, jog, ride a bike, go to the gym. Walk briskly and speak with enthusiasm. Drink lots of water and as Doctor John Tickell once said: "Everything in moderation except vegetables, fish, exercise, laughter and sex... but not all at the same time; it makes a hell of a mess."
2. Embrace technology. The good old days weren't really that good. Be nice to the computers that may one day replace you... young people have more to worry about than you. Be the one who learns new software applications and mobile apps. Software is becoming increasingly intuitive and user-friendly. Have a good attitude toward learning which should be a life-long commitment. New technologies, including the interweb, open the door to an amazing world. Engage in social media, be the most active user of your CRM, and do research online.
3. Be curious and embrace change. Many within the generations below you are not readers, yet everything is at your fingertips online... be willing to go deep and bring something youth does not, context and wisdom. Variety is the spice of life and be the team player happy to be where the side needs you most. Tell your co-workers that you read 'who moved my cheese' every month and that you love uncertainty.
4. Have an infectious sense of humor. It's impossible not to like someone who makes you feel good. No-one wants to fire the person who brings joy and a positive sense of humor to the workplace. Laughter is infectious
5. Carry the culture. The world is losing its way with narcissism and relativism. Corruption in sport (FIFA, cycling, boxing), politics, unions, and big business is rife. Every workplace needs people of good values who act with integrity, reject gossip, build others up, and are force for good. Carry the organization's culture and live the values by driving them forward in your own special way!
Bunnings in Australia is a great retailer and they value the wisdom, patience, stability and loyalty of older mature staff members. My son commenced university this year and has been working part-time at Bunnings for three years. He loves working there and will do so all the way through university. The older staff members mentor and guide younger ones and there is a genuine team culture without discrimination.
Just like happiness, age is a state of mind. Set goals, pursue a passion and be inspired. If these three legends are still going... what's your excuse.
If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website: www.TonyHughes.com.au.
Main image photo by Flickr: Roberto Rizzato THE DALAI LAMA (The Strength of Faith)
P.S. Yes, the main picture is the Dalai Lama... photo-shopped.