What’s critical about 47?
What’s critical about 47?
There is a remarkably consistent pattern to what happens to a career when the careerist reaches forty-seven.
Dealing with some 20,000 clients over 27 years, almost half of them on a one-on-one basis for issues of work and purpose, we have observed that forty-seven is a critical age for a man in his career. It is equally so for a woman if she is a committed career lady. Obviously if she takes time off to raise her family her career won’t follow the same pattern. In any case we are making a generalisation; there will be variations on it. However, there is a remarkably consistent pattern to what happens to a career when the careerist reaches forty-seven.
On the one hand, the career can level off or plateau. This doesn’t mean that it is not a success. Many people want a career where work is fully balanced with home life and other activities. They maybe have the most satisfying life of all. They do not reach great heights nor do they become very rich. Depending on their career they may get slightly bored with the second half but that may be a small price to pay for contentment. ‘Steady as she goes.’
On the other hand, careers of even mildly ambitious people often take off at forty-seven. It seems that with fifty on the horizon and perhaps no immediate prospect of advancement, opportunities will be looked at more carefully, greater risks will be taken and a sense of ability to succeed will assert itself. We have also seen that people at this age get a clearer idea of their abilities – especially their strengths – and this gives them more confidence to tackle what they previously thought was impossible.
What are the drivers of such significant changes when they happen?
Ability to handle other people is paramount for any ambition to succeed. It involves reading people not just with an open mind but creatively as well. Experience properly handled helps you read people better; a developed ability to perceive relationships, even more so. Handling others involves imagining their situations, their moods, their fears, their hopes. It involves being curious about people and what makes them work.
‘Steady’ people often think they are not creative. Some of them regard creativity as slightly wild, even possibly threatening. Fear of failure can be the cause. It is a fear that recedes as we get older. Many ‘steady’ people aim for the ambitious route in their career at this stage – and succeed. It requires courage but the results nearly always justify that.
Halfway through your working life you have the best choice possible. You stay on an even keel or you take a leap into the future. There is no right or wrong – the choice is yours. Here are the questions you should answer to help you decide which road to take:
Do you want your achievement to be more a contented life or an advance, however small, for humanity?
Do you anticipate a quiet, relaxed old age or one that gives you opportunities to discover and enjoy more of the world’s treasures?
Are you a ‘gardener’ or a ‘grower’?
Do you know of anyone whose life you tremendously admire other than for their fame or fortune?
If you could give your child one gift other than wealth and security what would it be?
Do you really know what you want?
Your answers to these questions will point you in whatever is the right direction for you.
If the answer isn’t clear, I recommend a PASDAQ™. I only mention it because it has helped so many people.
It will certainly speed your decision.