I’ve encountered many octogenarians who, while not regretting retirement, are clear that this ‘phase’ of life has, for them, been a missed opportunity.
At the other end of the spectrum are the enlightened young. I find them inspirational. Their grasp of the changing times we are living through is extraordinary. They know their lives will be different to those of their parents which are different again to their grandparents. But how? The rate of increase of human life expectancy is unprecedented and the consequences profound. In the last 50 years average human life expectancy has increased 50% while the global population has increased 50% in the last 25 years.
Not only do these ‘smart people’ recognise the trends they are already changing their behaviours in ways that their parents and grandparents struggle to understand. Instead of looking at a ‘career for life’ they see life as a series of stages. Employment is much more ‘transactional’ with both parties needing to gain from the arrangement. be it money, training, new experience or greater responsibility. I continue to be amazed at the complete confidence these people display – walking away from what others perceive as safe, secure, high paid and demanding jobs – just to ‘go travelling’. Speak to them and they are clear – there will always be ‘another job’ but, unlike their parents, they will not have the opportunity to complete a bucket list on retirement, so they say – why wait – start now.
It is said that 30% of the jobs we will be doing in 2050 have yet to be created. If that is correct then we have much to learn from this younger generation!