Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I don’t know Carlo Strenger but in my book he’s been talking a lot of sense in a straightforward, easy-to-understand manner lately. I would even say I take great comfort in what he’s been saying.

Essentially, he reckons that a “midlife crisis” is unlikely for most folks although “midlife change” is inevitable, but not in a dramatic, potentially harmful way.

That’s because Carlo, a psychoanalyst, psychologist and associate professor at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, reckons middle-aged workers of today are more laid back than the young thrusters making their way in business.

And there was a section from the Harvard Business Review quoted in many newspapers that I particularly liked pointing out there was a trend for big companies to “rely on outside consultants (and this) was particularly good news for mature, independent professionals.” Woo-hoo, if that’s an appropriate response from a mature, independent professional.

No, I’m acutely aware since I set up in business that an older head, my own, has helped me considerably, to stay calm and to play to my strengths. At one time I was, yes, honestly, a young buck, who was eager to learn but had difficulty sometimes listening to the learned. I didn’t know everything and the older pros who took time to help, guide and calm me down knew that – their patience and know-how and willingness to share was unbelievably beneficial and they asked nothing in return.

Eventually, I did learn to listen, absorb and make use of the knowledge offered. It paid off.

Today, conversely, I’m listening intently and appreciatively to the young entrepreneurs and business people at the cutting edge of digital, social, whatever media you want to call it, and they are really good instructors as I reckon I’m learning steadily and surely. And they enjoy sharing what they’ve learned, too. The mix of the experienced and youthful exuberance is vital, I suggest.

Anyway, back to Carlo. The Daily Telegraph summed up his words perfectly by reporting: “The midlife crisis is being replaced with a graceful ‘midlife transition’ as increased life expectancy and good job prospects take the sting out of ageing.” That’s good to know.

And the paper’s coverage of Carlo’s findings goes on: “…an increasingly confident and resilient generation are embarking on productive ‘second lives’ as they reach 50, aware that they still have 30 good years ahead of them.”

I’m over 50, a father to a three-year-old son – and 31-year-old and 28-year-old sons – this is very good to know, indeed.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. The thing is as well that the young 'uns can learn from the older brigade as well. The amount of young execs I see flapping about over trivial matters is incredible and sometimes you have to tell them that there's no need to panic as there's no-one's died.