Ageism & How To Get Through The Valleys In Your Later Life More Effectively?

In the New York Times Bestseller, ‘The Number’ Author, Lee Eisenberg says that, “Most people are procrastinators.  There are men and women who have reached their forties, even fifties, without any sort of financial plan in hand.  Avoidance is the name of their game.”  Why the sloth?  Well, some people don’t want to think about old age.  Others don’t understand how they should invest. All are in limbo, concerned lest they discover they don’t have enough to see them through to their retirement and well beyond.  Also, to help the Seniors more I think that we need ‘other sources’ such as Finance & Accounting people to provide better Financial Education that will complement what is currently available from the current financial advisers/brokers.

The saying goes: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks- and it seems half of Canadians agree.  In a new poll from Ipsos-Reid, exclusively for Postmedia News, 51 per cent of those asked said they thought older workers were more difficult to train on new processes and technology than younger ones.  The figures show a generational divide. Seventy-one per cent of people 18 to 34 agreed the mature worker is a training challenge, but only 43 percent of those over that age felt this way.

Edward Hinko of Redwater, Alberta, says that, “the worst part of being an older worker is we are inevitably hired by someone 20 to 30 years younger who sees our experience as a threat.”

Then, Laurence Malley of Vancouver, B.C. has a degree in mechanical engineering, is a wizard with a computer and has 35 years of experience in the automotive industry.  but at 62, the Vancouver man can’t even get hired as a delivery person. He says that, “The majority of people interviewing me are half my age, and then hastening to add he isn’t picky with his choice of position.”  Previously earning $90,000 plus car and expenses, Malley’s applied for jobs offering half that and was often labelled overqualified.

Spencer Johnson, M.D. Author of ‘Peaks and Valleys says that, “It is natural for everyone everywhere to have peaks and valleys at work, business and in life.”  Peaks  are moments when you appreciate what you have.  Valleys are moments when you long for what is missing.  You create a peak when you truly follow your sensible vision.  Your fear fades and you become more peaceful and successful.

What will my new life look like?

Deepak Chopra, suggests that if you are in your 50’s, go about creating a second adulthood with the knowledge and skill accumulated from the first 50 years, you can winnow out the bad and keep the good, establishing a foundation for a purposeful life that can rise from decade to decade.

If your in your 60s or beyound, this use to be the tradiional retirement but is now undefined.  Some people feel that their best years are behind them, others that the future is as fresh as ever.  Some minds are filled with regrets and nostalgia, others with higher aspirations eg. striving for self-actualization and a drive to keep evolving.

It’s our choice which side of the divide we want to be on.  Therefore, if you decide that your life should continue to be an upward arc striving towards a new peak, the vital thing to ask is, How can I keep growing?

How can you keep growing?

Colonel Harland Sanders (KFC) said that, “I believe that your spirit carries you to the point where you’re back on your feet again, and then you’re able to reach out to others and carry them when they need a hand.  Slowly, but surely, you’ll be raised to a higher ground moving towards your next Peak  by first going through any Valley that is present in your life.”

My Eureka Moment (Getting out of the rat race!)

My particular eureka moment came on August 31, 1990.  It was my last day working for the ALCB (Alberta Liquor Control Board) in the Head Office in St. Albert, Alberta.  My role was a contract-purchasing officer.  The staff on that day had a goodbye luncheon party for me.

I remember getting a pen gift set, saying my last greetings to fellow staff members and then calling a taxi to go home.  As I was traveling back how I began facing a new reality and I made a promise to myself not to look back in the rear view mirror, and just start a new career as a seniorpreneur.

Because my work background was purchasing management,  transportation services and research, it made perfect sense for me to set up a purchasing services consulting company- Cost-Effective Purchasing Services.  At first I tried to do everything myself.  This experience showed me that a real serious new business was impossible without some team members.

I discussed this business opportunity with a life long friend and fellow seniorpreneur, Tim Visscher. We changed the company name, added a logo, printed brochures, company letterhead, applications and price lists, and became Dynamic Purchasing Services Inc.  We incorporated this company and operated as a home-based business for almost 4 years.

I had one of my WOW moments during this time.  Even though we had difficulty generating some profit for any of the four years, the business itself was run as a first class operation.  My business partner was also the financing person and I noticed that I was having a lot more joy that my partner was having.  I was gaining entrepreneurial business experience, while my partner only noticed the drain on his financial resources.  At least I felt that NOW I was really on the road out of the rat race,  and it would be very difficult to go back to a corporate life job.