It’s never too early to start talking about football, is it? This story has a unique spin to it so even the least of football fanatics will find something special in it.
Earlier this month, the National Football League announced that Sarah Thomas will be the first full-time female referee to officiate regular-season football games for the NFL. She is from Mississippi and has been officiating football games since 1999. Starting with high-school games and then college, Thomas worked her way through the ranks and now has the opportunity of a lifetime. When she was asked to comment on what she felt contributed to her success, her answer was quite ordinary with regard to this extraordinary story. Thomas said dedication, extreme focus and training led her to where she is today.
Hmmm. If you were the best you could be in your chosen field of work, to what would you attribute your success? My guess is you would say something very similar to what Thomas said.
No one makes it to the top of anything without dedication, which is demonstrated through years and years of hard work, listening, learning and commitment. Words like, diligence, enthusiasm and resolve come to mind when speaking of someone who is dedicated.
Extreme focus is something we all lack from time to time. The fact is it’s becoming harder and harder to have any form of focus with all of the distractions and diversions we have today. Competition for our attention is at an all-time high. And the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s national survey of children’s health reported an 830 percent increase in children diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder from 1985 to 2011. Wow!
So how important is training in today’s culture? Can you say “very” important? It seems as though we are training our associates daily in one phase or another of the work environment. Whatever the goal may be, training is always going to be a key component. Training leads to better work experiences, which over time produces dedicated employees.
Hey, look — we’re back where we started.
And that, my friends, brings me to my conclusion that, all too often, we write off the more-experienced, well-trained older individual for someone with less experience but possibly greater vitality. Never in history has our workforce been older. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, more than 22 percent of our workforce is 55 years or older. Yay for the gray!
Yet many companies and hiring managers are looking for the 24-35-year-olds, not 55-65-year-olds. And that’s too bad. Most of our older workers grew up in a time when work/life balance meant you worked until the job was done. Maybe that’s why I’m finishing writing this article at 2 o’clock in the morning.
With all the baby boomers still needing to work — some into their 70s — to make all the ends meet, the talent pool of experienced, dedicated workers will continue to grow for many years. As the economy shifts into a more-positive direction, please remember that our older adults still have much to offer.
Stay working, my friends.
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