Old Age is like Basketball, just because you Dribble a Little Doesn’t Mean the Game is Over

Old Age is like Basketball, just because you Dribble a Little Doesn’t Mean the Game is OverIf you are not already aware of this, Old Age comes with a lot of indignities.  However, while some of them are “real,” many more of them are assigned to those who are considered “seniors,” often by people who are still “wet behind the ears.”  Not only is this presumptuous on the part of those who make these unfounded assumptions, it can be really detrimental to the companies both groups work for!

Somewhere along the line, probably starting with the Baby Boomers, this nation got the askewed idea that “youth” is the key to success! Maybe it is because of this nation’s pre-occupation with sports, where once the body slows down people are moved aside to make room for the next young hero.  The thing is, when it comes to most businesses, physical prowess is of little consequence.

So, why is the western culture so quick to abandon the wisdom of everyone over fifty?   Why do we want to ignore their experience?  Why do we want to shun their ideas as old fashioned?  Why do we think that a newly graduated MBA has more to offer than someone who has been in the business for three or four decades?  Unfortunately, I’m not sure why.  However, I am sure of this – – we are voluntarily “throwing away” one of our greatest assets at our disposal – – our seasoned veterans of the business world.

There is another view, a much more cynical one, but one which, nonetheless, might garner a lot of support:  The business world we now exist in has discovered that you can hire young, inexperienced employees for far less than their mature, experienced counterparts.  While this is very exciting to the 25 year-old work force, it quickly backfires on them – – in about twenty years.  The thing is, when you are twenty-five, twenty years seems like an eternity away.  That explains why the “youth movement” has no problem with this arrangement, but what about those in charge of this practice?

The answer, I fear, is somewhat disheartening:  Corporate America has come to think that sacrificing long range success for an immediately improved “bottom line” is the way to go.  As a result, we end up with companies who promote “one way” loyalty, and don’t even bat an eye when it’s time to “axe” employees who have been with them for years and years and, quite frankly, have made them as successful as they are.

So, as you work with those who might be two, or even three, times your own age, remember that while they might be a little slower to the water fountain than you, they still might be able to help you understand the real keys to success, not only in the business world – – but in life!

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