Adapting to a new career mission |

Adapting to a new career mission

Michael Bennett
Mike Bennett
Staff Photo |

“You can age without being grumpy,” a good friend told me after reading last week’s column, which I wrote before traveling to a company meeting full of aspiring youth. If you are working and, like me, are in your 60s, you may know the feeling.

While attending our meeting, I looked around and realized baby boomers were in the minority. I ran into a couple of publishers my age who also were suffering with aging in our profession. I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be as miserable as they seem to be.”

By the end of the week, I found myself energized as I began to accept my new role in life and also appreciate the gift of aging in a healthy manner. Sure, I miss being one of those young and eager managers aspiring to new heights. At the same time I don’t miss the hard knocks those kids will suffer. Experience is a gift age provides. Over 40-plus years I’ve made many mistakes and have suffered the repercussions. By my calculation, I’ve cut back on mistakes of inexperience by at least two-thirds.

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Each of our lives’ paths is different with unique twists and turns. If you are a frequent reader of my column, you know that right or wrong, my career has been in the forefront of my path.

After a receiving a degree in journalism in 1974, I made my first left turn and began a successful career in advertising sales for the Trenton Times before moving into a management role at the age of 30. Up until then, as a seller, I was in full control of my destiny. Then I had to learn to gain fulfillment from the accomplishments of those I supervised. It was a difficult transition, as “normal” people have more balance in life than I do. To them, family is very important, while I was a workaholic.

As I rose through the ranks of management over the next 30 years, work life did not change much other than the vast number of locations where I plied my trade. Then, around the time I turned 60, something changed. I wasn’t quite sure. It was different.

It took a couple of years but I finally had the revelation that there were now two other generations in the workplace. And much like myself in 1983, they were striving to grow and advance their careers.

Finally last week, it dawned on me that my work life role has once again changed. With five years to go, give or take, before it is time to retire, I hope to gain fulfillment by doing my best to help the next generation shepherd the Post Independent into a product that will continue to be an important part of the lives of those of us with the good fortune of living in Garfield County.

And that’s not a bad deal.

Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.

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