Q: I’m 55 years old and I was recently hired to head a human resource department. I feel like my age may pose as a hindrance to my effectiveness at work.
– Black Ninja, Makati City
A: Let me share an anecdote from Fr. Frank Mihalic, SVD:
A professor was discussing the dangers of alcohol with his class. He set two glasses on the desk, one filled with water, and the other with gin. He dropped an earthworm into each glass. In the water, the worm wriggled energetically, while the other died in the glass of alcohol.
“What can you conclude from this?” the professor asked.
A young student answered, “If you drink alcohol, you won’t have worms.”
Obviously, he missed the whole point of the exercise. We can only deduce that his youth and inexperience may only provide an inaccurate answer to a lot of questions in the world.
But with old age, it’s different. With experience, an old person can give answers beyond what young people can imagine. Age is an important factor linked with experience, maturity, and wisdom. Without this, no one can adequately run such a complex job. This is the Asian thinking.
R.A.H. Elbo is the managing advisor of Kairos Management Technologies and acting president of Kaizen Institute of the Philippines, both consulting and training companies.