Over and Over

I wrote a post on LinkedIn that got some attention, so I wanted to tell the full story behind it. Here’s what I said:

We need a 100 under 100 recognition awards for those people who did awesome things after they were 30, or 40, or 50 or even older. It’s great that young people do things, but plenty of people do good things later in life too.

Like many of the things I say, I was not 100% serious, but Let’s explore the idea a bit more… after some context.

First, a story. Years ago a friend of mine said he was submitting his name to a “40 under 40” thing a local business publication was doing. He explained that a year earlier his business partner applied for it, and was recognized, and felt that he really wanted that too. But why? Well, exposure can lead to business opportunities, maybe an ego boost, or just another thing you can claim as an accomplishment. The reasons are as varied as there are types of people.

Alas, my friend turned 40, did not get recognized, and his hopes were dashed. He still managed to live a full life and run a successful business, so I guess it ended just fine.

Hey, I’ve got one more story. There’s a guy named Doc Searls. He’s on Twitter, and he’s got a web site, and… a blog. I remember something that Doc said, and it took me a while to find it, but I did. It was in a post from Rex Hammock’s blog on July 29. 2006:

“Everything you know me for, I did after the age of 50.”

(Rex notes that Doc may have said or written that in other places, but I found it on Rex’s blog, so I’m giving him credit.)

There are entire organizations and communities and students who only have experiences with me after I was 40 years old, and who I was (and what I knew) after 40 was vastly different than the person I was before I was 40. I don’t mean to make 40 a line in the sand, it could be 30, or 35, or 50, or whatever… I know the whole “40 under 40” thing shouldn’t be taken too seriously, which is why I wanted to skewer it with my post.

So yeah, we could do a 40 over 40, or 100 under 100, or whatever. It doesn’t really matter. What I’ve learned in my age is that there really is no replacement for experience. Living your life provides you an insight into how the world works, and how you work, and you might not even work properly until you’re 40 or 50 or 60. The old idea that we might peak at different times during life. (I’m not even going into the subject of ageism but that’s a whole topic of its own.)

If you look at the image above, it could be taken as 100 over 100 or 100 under 100. It’s all a matter of perspective, right? Right.


Work Well With Others


Sometimes the best skill you can offer will be to lift a heavy object, carry it somewhere else, and put it down.

Sometimes the best skill you can offer will be to come up with a new idea while someone else is lifting heavy objects, carrying them to somewhere else, and putting them down.

Don’t feel bad if you’re not always the one lifting. (But you should feel bad if you’re never the one lifting.)


You Should be Fired!

Do Not Block Fire Exit

Maybe you should be fired.

I don’t mean like, right now, today, at your current job, but I do mean that, I think everyone should be fired at some point in their life. I think it’s a good thing, and helps people put things into perspective.

Some people get too comfortable, or stop caring about the work they do, and just show up, and somehow pass the time, all for that paycheck every two weeks.

Not everyone loves their job, or the work they do, and even those folks who do will have bad, annoying, failure days now and again…

It’s like that movie, where the main character has never been dumped, but is always the one doing the dumping. It’s probably good to see things from both sides of the table.

Being fired is like a reset button… hopefully in a good way.

There may be some wallowing, and drinking, and swearing, but hopefully in the end, it’s the right thing for all parties involved.

I’ve seen more and more people start their own businesses, and become much happier, due to losing their jobs.

Sometimes it’s the kick in the ass you need.


Do Your Job

Bricks #2259

We’ve been hearing a lot of people say to other people, “Do your job!”

But what is your job?

Is your job to manufacture widgets, or to sell things, or to serve food, or remove trash, teach others, create laws, clean windows, manage computers?

Or is your job, first and foremost, to be a human being, to help others, to fight injustice, to protect those who can’t fend for themselves?

Sometimes events occur which are of a higher calling than manufacturing widgets or selling things…

When the 9/11 terrorist attacks happened, and people left their work to help others, to aid in rescuing their fellow man, to try to survive, was anyone there yelling at them to get back to work and do their job?

When a school shooting occurs, and lives are in danger, are teachers expected to keep teaching, and act as if nothing is happening?

When a natural disaster strikes (or even, you know, a really bad snowstorm) I find some comfort in knowing people will take time to help out others.

When the shit goes down, I expect my fellow humans to be there for me, just as I would be there for them.

That “every man for himself” crap? That’s not what’s made great things happen. Working together is what makes accomplishing amazing things possible.


Work | Learning | Enjoyment

The 94

Work, Learning, and Enjoyment are three things to think about.

Work is something you probably have to do. Most people have to do it nearly every day.

Learning is something you probably do no matter what. It’s hard to avoid learning. There are life lessons every day, and if you love learning, you probably pursue it, and you probably enjoy it, and you probably don’t consider it work.

Enjoyment is something you really should have in your life. For some people, enjoyment is what they have when they are not working, or learning, but you may get enjoyment out of work, or get enjoyment out of learning.

So really, if you can make all three of those things happen simultaneously, then consider yourself lucky.