Sunday, April 19, 2015

Career Advice for the Baby Boomer: If Han Solo is Old, Then So Are We

You think you have problems keeping a job and staying relevant. Consider an aged Han Solo from Star Wars fame. Even in space you have to watch your back to stay on top or even just in place. Remember who shot first.

A couple of years ago I was looking at references on a career hire, my number one pick for an administrative job search we had actually been doing. It was an essential job: challenging, interesting market, a major competitive employment.

And although it's unlawful to ask questions about age and even bring up that somebody may be too old for a given position, I do not believe I can get in any predicament now by pointing out that this prospect turned out to be well into his 60's.


Use the Force


I believed he was an excellent catch and his age was never mentioned. All the same, I required delicate information from the applicant -- and had no choice however to obtain it in an underhanded way to stay within the law. So I made use of the common euphemisms, inquiring about his "bandwidth" and "energy level" and "endurance" and "capability to endure continual pressure."

While speaking with the final reference on my checklist, he stopped briefly and stated, he grasped exactly what I was asking and would certainly tell me what I wanted to know. His response was then "The Force is really strong in him."

Ultimately, our prospect was presented the position, accepted ... and carried out exceptionally. Not a surprise, actually.


Do Or Do Not. There Is No Try


If you're a baby-boomer exec who's just recently arrived at the ripe side of 50, there's most likely less to fret about than there was a generation earlier. 

With the exception of the economy, obviously. Not that you do not need to watch out for a million boys who wish to eat your lunch-- specific things do not change.

Yet if the present trend in hiring is any indication, companies have actually become extremely risk-averse and seem more prepared than ever to sacrifice youthful edge and momentum for a couple of gray hairs.

Something that might need some modification, however, is that the risks are measurably greater. It hurts a lot more now when you get fired. As we commonly see in professional sports, being too important can wind up feeling like a downgrade. 


If you're not a hero, you're a bum, a has-been. Isn't that why we say "washed-up," by the way given that our professional has left the field and gone to the showers?

Growing older?


Growing older? Do not wait till you're at the top of your game to perform like you mean it. It will not come about unless you make things happen. We simply acknowledge the peak achievements in retrospect. Keep moving, keep fighting! 

Guard your bad ankle and attempt to prevent hits to the chin. Sure, you're vulnerable. C'mon, you're old! And yes, it's a lot harder to pick yourself up once you've been hit on your ass.

Nevertheless, ignore how you look, wipe your nose and make your way back into the huddle. There is no uphill or downhill any longer. There's simply being in the match. And hoping that "The Force" sticks with you.

If you ever envisioned that you may leave this world with your self-respect basically in one piece, think about the Heroic Han Solo: Winning by the regular miracle, however still losing one piece at a time. It needs to be an allegory for living.

1 comment:

  1. As an over 50 business man you better believe you need to keep on your toes. Both in work and in how you look. There still is much to worry about.

    ReplyDelete

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