Turning silver into gold

Oct 06 2006 by Charles Helliwell Print This Article

Firstly, let me begin with an apology to all you young whipper snappers out there, because this may be my last opportunity to talk directly to the mature community of fellow workers, without being accused of being age discriminating!

Well the good news for you is that 'your time will come' whilst 'OURS IS HERE RIGHT NOW.'

A plethora of nonsense has been talked about and written in relation to age discrimination; in fact I'm listening to one such talk show right now courtesy of the good old BBC, where the Bernard Manning equivalent in business was blathering on that he wouldn't consider employing anyone who wouldn't be able to work for him for at least 20 years.

"Oh do grow up", I heard myself say, swiftly followed by "what a bozo". The days of working for the same organisation and drifting gently into retirement with an indexed-linked pension died in the 1960s.

I know, because I used to play golf with many of them along with my Dad, a GP who was never in that mould.

When I spoke to my nephew, who's a lawyer, at my niece's wedding a couple of weeks ago, he proudly told me that once he had learned the ropes with the international law firm he's with, he's off to make as much money as he can elsewhere.

Good for him - and why not. But it is precisely this attitude to work which has so fundamentally shifted the paradigm of what work is and accounted for the ever-increasing volume of grey-haired (or in my case balding) individuals who have been kicked out in their prime and left to rot on the scrapheap of life.

What a load of cobblers !

The good news is that we ARE the future, not the spotty-faced nerds with a triple first from Oxbridge, so sought after by the blue chips of commerce, industry and the civil service. And we've got the credentials to prove it. We've been round the block; we've done the expense-account lunches, the business travel and motivational rah-rah away days. We revelled in company cars and Christmas lunches (before they became a taxable benefit). Oh yes… and there's much, much more to boot. So don't tell me that we're past it.

To hell with the niceties of convention. The reason that our time is NOW is because the paradigms of work HAVE changed.

People no longer work for the same organisation for twenty years. Organisations no longer desire to retain their people permanently. Staff 'churn' is now actively encouraged by most, as a positive outcome.

You've got to feel sorry for the youth of today, because youth is their only competitive advantage and it's a declining asset from the moment they start work.

Organisations now want to buy expertise as and when they need it. It's the way of the future and the only sensible option to make the most out of the talent and expertise that's available in the marketplace.

The world has rapidly moved beyond the culture of the part-timer or the interim. Organisations now prefer to have immediate access what they want and buy what they want, when they want, for as long as they want.

Does that suit us…or what ? Of course it does, whether you're an out-of-work warehouse manager in Milton Keynes or a redundant IT Manager in Exeter. The future of work is there NOW for us to take of advantage of, should we choose to do so. The pot of gold, if you will, at the end of a silver rainbow.

About The Author

Charles Helliwell
Charles Helliwell

For almost 20 years, Charles Helliwell has been enjoying a lifestyle and making a living as a behavioural and relationship mentor specialising in the personal and professional development of individuals and teams in the workplace.