I am male, stale and pale – a 58 year old crusty – past his sell by date and blocking young , ethnically diverse and female colleagues from achieving board level positions. Put like that , it is small wonder that most of the people I have grown up with over the past 40 years of adult life are either grimly clinging to power or drifting gracefully into “portfolio careers”
I took a decision a couple of years ago that I was not going to block the paths of younger colleagues at First Actuarial and that it was time that I developed a business that I could , within five years, hand over to others to run. I was determined that those “others” would not be cronies – but bring something genuinely different to my chosen field – pensions.
The idea of a 58 year old entrepreneur working out of a WeWork and connecting with a workforce half his average age seems far-fetched but it isn’t. Our WeWork at Moorgate is full of people like me and we are there out of choice – not desperation.
Because 58 is not old at all, it is young enough.
Being born on 11th November is good news, it gives your birthday an identity that gets it remembered. It also makes you remember those on whose shoulders you stand – see my blog yesterday.
But it’s also worth remembering that actuarially speaking I have thirty years ahead of me and that’s a lot of living.
The older worker – which is how I think of myself – has a different and most valuable skillset which he or she can and should offer.
And we have the capacity to keep ourselves in better condition than any other generation – due not just to advances in medicine, but in a better understanding of nutrition and the impact of toxins on the body. Most 58 year olds do not smoke.
We have the capacity to create job, mentor younger people and improve the opportunities of generations to come. We should be remembering our responsibilities, not just to ourselves – in terms of future planning- but to others.
This idea of succession is there in everything. In our family and work life. It is our social purpose.
Not gently into that good night
So I sit here, watching dawn come up over the English Channel, and looking forward to a rare day off – to spend with my lifelong partner- Stella.
We’ll be playing golf on the Isle of Purbeck, having lunch at the Pig on the Beach in Studland and eating a slap up in our flat in Canford Cliffs before I go back to London tonight.
I have no intention of going gently into anything at all.
So to all my friends of my certain age, thanks for your good wishes and here’s to the future.
That buss-pass may be only two years off but I’m staying on my bike.