Old age has always been looked down upon in our society. The notion was the older you are the less work you can perform. It was a valid argument when people relied on physical ability to perform their jobs. Today however, most of our labor force is in services. In today’s service dominated economies the notion that age reduces skills and work performance in the service sector is no longer valid.
This is the first time in history, on a massive scale, that our seasoned labor force is still capable of producing at 100%. Yet the old notion of reduced output with age still has circulation, when in fact labor value now increases with age.
A great worker at 25 years old will be an exceptional worker at 55 years old. If you have passion for what you do, coupled with exceptional ability and you have progressively practiced your profession for 20 + years, you are indeed very serious at your craft.
When one marvels about the skill sets of young professionals and their accomplishments, considering how much smarter they will be in 25 years is why the concept of Talent Lost is so important. Talented young professionals turn into extremely talented senior professionals. No longer are companies simply discarding an older worker, they are actually losing a valued asset in a stage of their careers when they have the greatest value, i.e., when they are 50+ years old.
Age discrimination has always been morally and ethnically wrong but now, in addition, it’s simply bad business. What makes every generation better is the ability to pass on experience to the youth, thereby speeding up the process of learning. The result is the next generation’s labor forces knows more and are better prepared throughout their career than the previous generation.
Mentoring the younger labor force has never been more important than it is today as Today’s Talent Lost group members are the first group of seasoned workers from the information age. The amount of experience, knowledge and wisdom they possess is tenfold of previous generations. Experience is a terrible thing to waste and even more so in the information age when experience is in fact what keeps a company competitive.
Those companies that recognize the value which experience and wisdom bring to their organizations will have a strong competitive advantage over those who don’t. Today’s, seasoned workers get better with age. That message should resonate with the decision makers throughout the halls of corporate America and all businesses or organizations.
The younger worker should strive to find the mentor who represents their abilities with 25 plus years added to their age. Likewise, the older worker should be looking for that protege who was much like themselves when they were 25 years younger.
The younger worker and the older worker should complement each other’s abilities; each mentoring the other, one for experience and the other representing a new generation’s perspective.