After my last blog post, I did more research into the over fifty and hiring, and what I am seeing is making my blood pressure go up. The generalizations made about a group of people of which the thing they have in common is the number of years living they have behind them is astounding. They want to coast in a new job, they cannot or will not learn new things, they are less flexible, etc.. I dare say I could apply those very same attributes to describe younger generations that came to age in the me generation.
A little bit about myself, I am approaching the middle of my fiftieth decade of life. Every day I try to learn something new (I love learning) I learn about leadership, supply chain management, lean manufacturing, 3D printing on and on and on. I am usually at work no later than 4:30 in the morning, so I have time to learn while doing my work. I spend my days adjusting to the daily changes a small business has every day. Let me ask you does this fifty-something sound like the generalized description of a fifty-something person.
I spent an hour or more discussing with two gentlemen who deliver material for us to machine into parts the issues their company is having. I was able to give them the solutions necessary in part because everything that happens in a larger company occurs in a small company only in a small company a person such as myself is involved in every process and how it affects all other operations. 30+ years of problem-solving gives a person the experience and maturity to clearly see the issues and the solutions.
Excerpt from my resume draft
Thirty years of having a hand in all aspects of the manufacturing process has given me the skills to analyze and break down most manufacturing processes into steps. I prefer to use the keep-it-simple method when finding solutions to problems. The following quote sums up my philosophy for problem-solving. "Consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds!" When you are first learning any new activity, it is critical to be consistent. If too many things are changing at once, you have no idea what contributed to a good or bad result. Don't change too many things at once. If you can isolate and change just ONE thing, you will have a much better chance of success and understanding. This isn't always possible, so lock down as many items as you can. If, after a run of successful production, you run into a problem, go back to a known good state and start there. Many times we try to change too many things in our frustration, and that almost always makes things worse. Step back and think about how to isolate the problem areas with as few changes as possible." The keep-it-simple approach has served me well in developing new skill sets.
Strong business convictions
• Teamwork between employees, teamwork between departments and cooperation with suppliers
• Business is not just money; it is people, whether they be customers, employees, or suppliers.
• Every position in a company exists to support the companies products or services.
•Increasing efficiency can lead to higher quality. Higher quality can lead to greater efficiency.
• Quality is job 1 and is a business philosophy, not a paperwork creation.
• Continuous improvement in processes is essential.
• The law of unintended consequences in decision making can never be forgotten.
• Mistakes are learning tools, not weapons with which to browbeat employees.
• Using data to browbeat employees will only result in never getting accurate data.
Strongly held personal beliefs
• Honesty is everything.
• Treat others as you want to be treated.
• Be humble in all things.
My attributes learned from experience.
• The ability to see the big picture.
• The ability to listen and to fill in the blanks of what is not being said.
• Sit in meetings such as production and engineering, talking past each other, and bring the conversation into a format where they understand each other.
• The ability to lead people into finding their own solutions by asking leading questions.
So why the ramble
It takes years of trying and failing, reading, watching, and listening to learn the lessons necessary to give a company the resources to take the advancing younger generation and mold their talents into something productive. Older workers are timeless assets, not timed out assets. Every time a company forces out older workers, they are dooming themselves to repeating mistakes rather than building on past mistakes.
I am just one of many who have fought the battles won and lost and have valuable work experience. The question is, are companies wise enough to listen and learn or has that ship sailed.