Last week I wrote about adapting, how we must keep learning and changing in order to survive. The comments were amazing, prompting me to continue thinking about the subject. So here’s some new thoughts on the subject of adapt or die.
We’re going to start with an anecdote. When my Husband was about 40, he decided he wanted to be promoted to the next level at his job. After speaking with his boss, he was told that he needed to have an MS in Tax. Without this piece of paper, there would be no more promotions. He already had an MBA, so this would be a second advanced degree. He already worked a lot of hours. We had a young daughter. He asked me what I thought. I told him to go for it- get the degree. And he did. Three years of going to school at night, after a 10 hour day…he completed his course of action. He didn’t love sitting in a classroom again. He didn’t love studying on weekends when he would rather have done other things. A few people actually mocked him- asked him why he was bothering, at his age. At his age, they said, he should be teaching a class, not enrolling in one. But he adapted to his environment, his reality. If you want something you do what it takes.
40 is not old, yet people told him he was too old to go to school.
Which brings us to the next point: is being old, or older a reason not to change?
There were some comments last week about being tolerant of older people who may not like using the internet, that maybe there was no reason why these people should change/adapt. Here’s my thoughts:
We should be tolerant of everyone, regardless of the situation. I ask for tolerance every day, because WordPress and I have a love/hate relationship. I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing half the time. I learn what I can, and hope that no one notices the obvious gaffes. I get frustrated and I muddle through. There are times I’m doing something technical, and I’m on with customer support, and I will say “Talk to me as if I know nothing. Explain it to me in baby steps.” I hope that I get help from someone who understands that it takes me five minutes to find the backslash key on my computer, and that I still refer to “hashtag” as “number sign”. So yes, tolerance to all those who are not as savvy, whatever the situation may be.
Age should never be used as an excuse.
Now I admit, I sometimes use age as an excuse. This is usually when I’m trying to do something that requires an iota of flexibility. This is when I feel my knees give out. Then I blame age. But honestly, I shouldn’t. I should be doing things to increase my flexibility. I should be doing things to ease my achy joints. I have no right to use age as an excuse.
Age should never be an excuse for not learning something. If you don’t want to learn something, that’s fine- but don’t use age as an excuse.
See, the problem with using age as an excuse is that it can backfire. If people use age as an excuse to not learn something new, this could lead to ramifications in the workplace. Like, why should we hire someone of a certain age, because they’re not going to want to learn something new- they’re not going to want to learn that new program. Not wanting to learn or change because of age sets a bad precedent. And what age is the right age to not want to learn something new? 80? 65? 57? 40?
Using anything as an excuse is ridiculous. My friend had an employee say that they couldn’t do something at work because of menopause issues. Really? You couldn’t sit at a desk and use a computer because you had menopause issues? Does that mean that women can’t do work because of menopause? Bad precedent.
If you don’t want to do something, learn something new, adapt- that’s fine. But own it. Say I don’t want to learn how to use the internet because I think it’s a stupid waste of time. Don’t say I’m too old. Because you’re not too old. You just don’t want to. And that’s a big difference.
Don’t use age as an excuse. It’s not fair to the rest of us who want to get up and get on.