Career Strategies at 60
post # 369 — May 3, 2007 — a Careers post
I’m going to be 60 this year, and many of my friends / acquaintances are of a similar era.
Many have worked for big firms that have mandatory retirement policies in place, so a lot of people have moved on to new phases of their life: college teaching, pro-bono or charity work, consulting, getting involved in their industry association. Some have launched entrepreneurial ventures, completely separate from what they did in their previous employment. Very few are doing nothing.
It’s a strange transition. For myself, I find it hard to contemplate doing something totally DIFFERENT.
I have been so “invested” in my career choice (writing, speaking, consulting) that the notion that it may be time to do something different (or change the balance) is an unusual feeling, and I think many of my age-group feel it too. For example, friends in Big-4 accounting firms tell me that their firms put on week-long courses for partners in their mid and late 50s, asking “Have you thought yet about what you’re going to do NEXT?”
Who says I’m done with what I am doing? On the other hand, with each passing year, as is normal in any business, more and more competitors enter the field. As the ads say “Past peerformance is no predictor of future results.” How many of us can be Peter Drucker, truly productive and creative into our 90s?
But they tell us that if you made 60, the odds are you’ll make 85 or so, and most of that time able to work effectively.
Any reaction from other aging baby boomers out there? What do you X-ers and Y-ers think we 60-year olds should be doing? (Other than getting out of the way!)
Duncan Bucknell said:
Keep trail-blazing, David, we’re all learning a great deal from it.
One of your recent podcasts (which, by the way are fantastic), told the story of a senior colleague ‘discussing’ your research with you when you had been at HBS for only 6 months. (For those who don’t know why ‘discussing’ is in quotes – you will really enjoy the podcast.)
I wonder if there’s some food for thought in there? Keep going after what you’re passionate about, and keep holding yourself accountable. That’s what I plan to do for the rest of my life. (I’m a generation X’er.)
PS – the whole ‘getting out of the way’ mentally is wrong – and they’ll find out eventually.
posted on May 3, 2007