Aging, Wisdom, and the Workplace

Think of yourself as getting wiser, smarter, and more able to mentor and advise people. At the same time, be willing to learn something new, almost every day. The alternative is to become irrelevant and slip into the abyss of suddenly being “old.”

According to Chip Conley, author, hotelier, Airbnb advisor, Wisdom School founder; “the number of working American 53 and older has grown over the past decade, from more than 17 percent of the workforce in 2007 to almost 23 percent in 2017. With advances in health care, we’re also living longer than ever before. The average life expectancy in he U.S. was about 79 years in 2016. Some of us may live 30 years longer than our great-grandparents—and may spend much of that time working. At the same time corporate power has shifted younger, resulting in what Conley calls an ‘irrelevance gap,’ in which older workers want or need to keep working but are afraid that their skills are no longer relevant in the increasingly fast-paced tech world.” Conley’s solution is to embrace personal and professional growth in order to stay relevant, while creating a workplace that values the viewpoints of different age groups, and lets generations learn from one another. So younger people (who occupy most of the CEO space now) are willing to be taught and mentored by older people and older people are willing to learn something new and relevant from their younger co-workers who are often their bosses.

Older people still value the importance of handwritten notes. Younger ones know more about tech stuff because they grew up with it. Summing up the article, if we are to be successful in the workplace at any age, we need to be open and accepting of new ideas and free from preconceptions.

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