I was reading Joanne Maly’s blog and she had a post with a video of Gregory Hines tap dancing. Well, one thing led to another and I found myself watching the video below, highlighting Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr., that has some great lessons for leaders, those over 40 out of work, and those just entering the workforce.
For Those Over 40 and Out of Work
Don’t despair! Just because you were let go, you still have game. You have experience and talent. What you learned and the skills you developed over the years matter. You just need the chance to use them. In the video, these older gentleman had the skills to dance. They had it regardless of Max’s (Gregory Hines) initial opinion. They had this inside of them, in their souls. Just because you find yourself without a job, doesn’t mean you have no worth, or no skills. Never… ever… forget that.
To use your skills again, you need to do a couple of things.
- Stay sharp. These older dancers in the video must have been practicing or exercising regularly.
- Get a support group. These gents had each other and it helped them a lot. Don’t go about your layoff alone.
- Keep your pride. Challenge the system. Don’t let your age keep you from reentering the work force, or for settling for something less.
- Learn new skills. While this didn’t come out in the video, the reality is that the world is changing. Be willing to learn new ways of doing things.
For Those Just Starting Their Career
Gregory Hines learned a valuable lesson. Older people still have what it takes. I was young once and remember entering the workforce with enthusiasm. I also had a nickname while a Naval Flight Officer, which I once laughed about but am not so proud of anymore…. Prima Donna. I was cocky. I thought I knew it all. Now over 50, I realize how little I knew 30 years ago. Here is some advice for younger workers:
- Don’t assume those over 40 don’t know how to get things done using today’s technology. Some of them don’t… but some do.
- Listen to people who have been in the workforce for awhile. They may have some sage advice that will prevent you from making a serious mistake, or will propel you to stardom. Take advantage of their experience.
- Remember, you too will one day be one of the more “experienced” workers.
There are lessons for leaders in this video too. I mentioned this in a few other blogs, but I have noticed that many displaced workers are older than 40/45. This is not a coincidence and I understand why this happens.
What you need to remember as a leader, is that older workers have valuable skills that the younger workers don’t. I just read an interesting blog by George Brymer on Linked2Leadership that listed the top 10 things that younger workers are lacking. These are things that the older workers are great at. Remember, you should have a balanced workforce and there are gems out there that although older, may be worth keeping and polishing. Don’t be like the young girl who comes in at the end of the video and dismisses the older crowd because they are old.
All the best!
All the time!