You might have noticed that there are a lot of articles around that focus on “millennials” as the current stars of the workplace. Not to mention the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, still only thirty-three and the fifth richest person in the world, according to Forbes.
So it might be easy to think, if you’re of an age that still remembers ‘Rentaghost’, working public phone booths and the half-penny piece, not to bother starting a business, because frankly, you’re over the hill.
Or, as one recent article published in a national newspaper this week kindly put it, once you’ve hit your forties, “the drawbridge is definitely starting to go up”.
As somebody who’s just about to head into their fifth decade, I can honestly say that not only is this the most exhilarating time of my life so far, but that waiting until my late thirties to strike out on my own in business is probably the best thing I’ve ever done. Here’s why:
Confidence is booming
I’m an introvert who has always been nervous about speaking up in groups. At no time was this more career-hampering than when I was young and in my first real job, terrified of having to ask for anything in case I got a “no”, and fearing constant judgement.
Now I’m that much older, I rarely think about how I might be judged by others, and in some cases I’m the one who’s saying “no”. This makes doing business far less nerve-inducing, not to mention far more enjoyable.
(As for the whole “speaking up in groups” thing; well, it may not be your favourite ever thing to do, but by the time you get to my age you’ve probably got proof that it won’t actually kill you, and you might even have received some occasionally positive feedback!)
I know what I’m good at…and what I’m not
Experience has taught me to develop what I know and am actually good at, then outsource the rest. As someone who only managed an ‘E’ in GCSE Maths and whose number skills haven’t improved very much since, I wouldn’t dream of attempting to do my own accounts.
It’s easier to see issues from different viewpoints
It’s hard for younger people to imagine what it’s like to get older, what with all the soul-searching and nostalgia that suddenly rears its head…let alone payback (good or bad!) from earlier life decisions.
Not only can I channel my life experience into my writing, but I’m lucky enough to have reams of younger friends and family whose youthful perspectives I can tap into whenever the need arises!
I’ve got more experience and a bigger network
I have never been able to remain in a ‘normal’ job for over two years without getting bored, so I’ve moved around quite a bit. What this meant, though I didn’t know it at the time, was that I was busily building future work connections, not to mention plenty of experience working with different types of people in different companies.
Not only that, I’ve got the experience to understand what I will and won’t put up with in the second half of my career, which is worth far more than a gold carriage clock and a stable retirement plan.
So if you’re contemplating making a bold career move in your forties and beyond, don’t fear the “drawbridge going up” – sidestep it altogether and go for a swim instead!
However old you are, if you’d like me to help you out with anything wordy while you’re at it – why not drop me a line?