Ageism at Work: “Unfit to be on Campus”

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  • Discrimination is discrimination. And none more so despicable, pathetic and cowardly than when perpetrated against the elderly.

 

Today’s News in Australia:

 

Dr David Goodall – a 102 year old botanist and ecology scientist – has been told to pack up his office with the Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia declaring him unfit to be on campus.

His career spans 70 years resulting in more than 100 research papers, earning him three doctorates and the Order of Australia for his contribution to serving Humanity.

David Goodall is also a Shakespearean actor of note.

Below link will take you to a short article on this 102 year old scientist:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-08-21/102yo-researcher-told-to-leave-his-edith-cowan-university-job/7769422

 

This will be a death sentence. Most of his social exchanges are at the University.

This man is a scientist. Not a fitness instructor. Why send him home?

 

The Edith Cowan University is a public university, thus taxpayer-funded.

We also fund jails.

  • And this is where they are sending this man who has devoted his life to Humanity.

 

Says Dean of the School of Sciences, Andrew Woodward:

  • “This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly, this is something that has been considered over a period of time.”
  • “We are now of the opinion where the situation is at a point where we really do need to make this change in David’s best interest and our own.” (my accentuation)

 

(George Orwell: Rule # 3 on writing: “If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out”

Question: Can anyone spot the excess words in the above statements? Or are both statements excessive?)

 

Here is a snip from Dean Andrew Woodward’s public LinkedIn profile:

  • “In my leadership role at ECU, I have a strong commitment to quality teaching, engaged research and a focus on expanding international partnerships. I believe strongly in ECUs values, particularly those of integrity and respect, and make sure that I demonstrate these values in my dealings with others.” (my accentuation).

 

Mr. Andrew Woodward, let me put this in a different context:

  • So, a person can be too black and must move off campus?
  • Or too white?
  • Perhaps too short?
  • Too tall?
  • Bald?
  • Wrong sex”

 

Or Too Old?

 

With modern science you may even be able to change some of the above parameters.

But age?

 

Here is a suggestion:

  • Let us put in place forced retirement of Deans after one year in their job. And move them off campus. For their best interest.

 

Sounds silly doesn’t it? But to paraphrase Andrew Woodward:

  • This is not a suggestion I make lightly, this is something that has been considered over a period of time.
  • I am now of the opinion where the situation is at a point where universities really do need to make this change in their Deans’ best interest.

 

I repeat: Discrimination is discrimination. And none more so despicable, pathetic and cowardly than when perpetrated against the elderly.

 

I would like to close with 6 points on “Remember – Age is Mostly a Number” from my 2nd book “50 PERSEPCTIVES – The Value of Things Unseen”.

 

KEY POINTS

  • How ‘old’ would you be if you didn’t know your birthdate and real age?
  • Ageism is another –ism, and is as offensive as racism and sexism.
  • Some reach mental maturity earlier whilst others are slower and even stagnate.
  • To age is a privilege. It is neither a sin, nor anti-social. Character is what counts.
  • Knowing and understanding things become easier as we age.
  • Ageing is as much a spiritual journey as a physical one with challenges taking on different hues.

 

I note Andrew Woodward was an IT Network Security Manager and Advisor for 10 years of his life. I can relate to that having been in the IT domain for 43 years of my life, and having had IT Network Security Managers work for me….

I can share the passion for acting with Dr. Goodall, having been able to play in numerous student movies and one feature film (at age 68/69) care of Singaporean independent filmmaker, director and producer Tzang Merwyn Tong. And am thankful for that opportunity to do something outside of the IT world…

 

Hence in closing:

 

“You are not old until regrets take the place of dreams” – Adapted from John Barrymore

Dr. Goodall – don’t be bullied. May you be spared for many fruitful years!

 

We all get old. Or die on the way trying to get there.

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PERSPECTIVES: Transition OR Stagnate

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“Train your DNA to accept change”

 

Change – and how we handle it – reveals who we are.

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Steve Jobs.

Build your destiny one change at a time.

We are always in transition – a work in progress. And change brings with it uncertainty, fear – and an opportunity to learn and to grow. Uncertainty presents you with the opportunity to weigh things from different perspectives. As for fear, whilst it is good as a motivator, do not allow it to seep into your Soul and destroy you.

One of the sad myths is that Senior Workers do not adapt. A light needs to be shone on this fallacy. Fact Number One is that Senior Workers had been adapting all their lives – that is why many are still turning the wheels of industry. Fact Number Two is that the world keeps changing for all Generations of the alphabet – X, Y and Z’s – not only BB’s (read Baby Boomers), hence the challenge for all is to “Adapt – or Die”. Both old and young dinosaurs became extinct, not only the Senior Ones.

The secret is to learn how to adapt, how to handle and accept change. And Seniors may just have a slight edge here – having adapted through 60+ years of change, and still doing it.

 

Physical

In moving from birth through adolescence into maturity we transition though much physical change. There are those who would like to remain paused longer at some of the various points on the way but it makes more sense to enjoy each stage as you move through it – “to live in the moment”.

 

Social

Nowadays very few of us are born, live, and die in the same “village”. We are thus bound to experience change brought about by moving from one place to another – engaging in new positions of work, meeting new people who may become future friends – and new opportunities.

We develop social circles as part of growing up, going to school, college and eventually work. In the process those whom we meet are accorded a place in one of our three inner, middle and outer circles.

As we grow, we realize that our preferred relationships will become a valuable part of our support structure in later life, especially for women – who currently tend to live longer than men.

Good relationships make life worthwhile, and we should “water” those that we want to keep.

 

Mental

A multitude of changes impact on us throughout life, and oftentimes simultaneously. Some require more mental energy than others – and with more reward. It is notable that those who succeed in life, are themselves the change they want to see in this world, rather than expecting the world to change to fit in around them.

It, therefore, helps to spend your energy transitioning with change – whilst maintaining the core tenets of your life – rather than to spend your energy fighting it.

 

Emotional

You never stand on the banks of the same river twice. You never go back to your old hometown. Both change. Do not search for past joys to repeat themselves. Nurture the ones that present themselves now, and let them nurture you in return.

 

Intellectual

Life does not come with a manual. You have to work it out for yourself as you go along.

There is a difference between being a product of your past and being a prisoner of it. Destiny should not be by chance, but rather by choice.

And it may help to realize that the path of change follows a certain set of steps: Open yourself up > Step into the fire > Learn > Change > Grow. If you do not, Life will soon disappear in the rear-view mirror.

 

Spiritual

Respect the journey you have been given. There are pauses and stops on the way – some enjoyable, others less pleasant – and though you may seem to be able to wander off the trail from time to time, you will visit all your pauses and stops.

 

Key Principles

  • From cradle to grave we transition though much change.
  • As we move physical location we experience social change and meet new friends.
  • A multitude of changes impact on us throughout life.
  • We never stand on the banks of the same river twice.
  • Destiny should not be by chance, but rather by choice.
  • We will visit all the pauses and stops on our Journey.

Action Steps

  • Enjoy each stage of Life as you move through it.
  • Develop your preferred relationships as part of your support structure for later life.
  • Spend your energy transitioning with change rather than wasting energy fighting it.
  • Do not search for past joys to repeat themselves – nurture the present ones.
  • Open yourself up > Step into the fire > Learn > Change > Grow.
  • Respect the journey you have been privileged with.

 

Where Does The Greying Of The Workforce Lead?

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Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age ~Victor Hugo.

The ageist bias against seniors is rife, but how long can the workforce ignore them as part of a productive economy?

  • Shifting demographics and workforce movements point to resource shortages which may give seniors more bargaining power in time to come.

Following are welcome facts for those seeking to be “still in demand after 65”, albeit worrisome for countries / organizations, but:

  • 31% of employers worldwide have a challenge filling positions due to a shortage of experienced talent in their markets.
  • USA: One in 7.5 is 65 or older. Credible data is unavailable for the exit and entry numbers of the workforce, but using other countries as a reference, it should be almost 1 for 1.
  • Canada: One in 7 is a senior citizen. For every worker that exits, just over 1 enters.
  • Europe: One in 5.9 is a senior citizen. By 2030 it will be 1 in 4. More people are exiting than entering the workforce.
  • Japan: One in 4.4 is a senior citizen. More people are exiting than entering the workforce.
  • By 2020 in China, Russia, Canada and South Korea more people will reach retirement age than entering the workforce.

Shifting Demographics

  • The under-65 skilled workforce in the USA / rest of the Western world is shrinking.
  • Recruitment may thus soon be from both an aging and dwindling workforce.
  • Labor demographics are shifting and will present local/global employers with resourcing challenges – which will eventually favor both seniors and countries with a younger workforce.
  • The global workforce will be augmented from retirees and women in countries where woman traditionally do not enter the workforce.

Effects of Workforce Movements

  • The available global resource pool has become more mobile. This often leads to xenophobic backlashes in countries where an influx of foreigners is seen as taking jobs away from locals.
  • Loyalty in terms of remaining with a company for many years is largely a concept of the past – for both parties.
  • In some countries the replacement is almost 1 for 1, except that those who exit has more than 40 year of experience.
  • This will create unparalleled competition/polarization between young and old, skilled and semi-/non-skilled, knowledge/non-knowledge workers, possibly amongst different industries and countries.
  • Countries/companies must develop new policies and strategies to maintain/re-engage skilled workers who are leaving the workforce due to reaching retirement age, and put in place knowledge/skills transfer policies and programs.

Enter Generation U

Generation Unretired is the newest – if not youngest – segment of the workforce. They:

  • Represent 8 out of 10 baby boomers who will work past retirement age or return to work after retirement.
  • Have significant depths of knowledge, experience and interpersonal skills, developed over 40+ years.
  • Have a strong work ethic – comparable to, if not better than other “generations”.
  • Can overcome the technology learning curve in certain industries through training.
  • “Sees the big picture and have strategic thinking experience” or a zest for detail (retired accountants).

In summary Gen U is the critical mass that has reshaped all facets of life as they moved through it and will continue to do so.