Saturday, January 5, 2019

The New 50s: Far From Retirement - working as a "modern elder"

The economy is volatile.  Markets are crazy. You're looking for stability.  

Launching a new enterprise in this environment - especially for those of us in the second half of life - seems like a risk.  My point continues to be that it is riskier to trust others to look out for you than it is for you to look out for yourself.  

Bringing the knowledge and networks you've built throughout your career to a new business opportunity is something that you can manage on your terms, launch at your own speed and begin to build out a life that you have more control over. 

Here is a recent New York Times piece on working in the second half of life.  

I love the idea of working as a "modern elder", coined by Chip Conley.  I also especially love the idea of being inspired by and learning from much younger colleagues.  I've got Mr. Conley's book on order.  Can't wait to learn more.

The article describes approaches and strategies for people in the second half of life moving into new roles in a changing economy.  One great quote from Kimberly Strong who at 52 started her career pivot by searching out new ways to give back.  In the article she describes her effort to mentor young female founders this way:  “Basically, I’m the auntie to the start-ups,” she said, and the beneficiary of “reverse mentoring.”

The closing paragraph describes the opportunity quite nicely:  "At a time when we can Google the answer to just about anything, it’s important to remember that some things come only through lived experience. And there’s a certain magic when older and younger learn from, and with, each other."

This is the role we can play as ageless entrepreneurs.  This is the contribution we can continue to make.  This is how we can continue to learn and grow.

The New 50s: Far From Retirement  -  NYT

"At 52, Chip Conley took on a new job at Airbnb, toggling between being a mentor and an intern in a role that he described as 'modern elder.'

For the next four years, Mr. Conley worked at Airbnb, toggling between being a mentor and intern in a sometimes baffling new role - a "modern elder", as he put it.  As a veteran hospitality executive, he was used to being the "sage on the stage."  But as a newbie in the tech sector, he was ofter the oldest person in the room, learning from colleagues who were young enough to be his children.

It used to be, 50 was a time to begin thinking about retirement. But today, many people in their 50s — myself included — plan to work two or even three more decades. To become modern elders, we have to find new ways to stay relevant and keep our minds open, skills fresh and humility intact."

New York Times Article link