In case you don’t know, Derek Jeter is the 37 year old shortstop and captain of the fabled baseball team, the New York Yankees. He’s been a super star with the Yankees since joining them as a 21 year old in 1996. However he’s getting older and his physical skills are not what they once were. Soon, due to injuries or diminished performance, he will be sidelined. He is in fabulous shape by any standard for a 37 year old. In the professional world of baseball, he is currently outshined by most other shortstops, when one objectively looks at the statistics. Unfortunately for Jeter, age just wins out in the long run. Whatever he does, drugs aside, will not compensate for what happens naturally. You and I however and unfortunately, based on the fact that he’s building a 30,000 square foot house in Florida, are not Derek Jeter. But we need to be cognizant of the “aging” principles creeping in prematurely when it comes to our work. Thank goodness most of us are in knowledge jobs. This means we need to keep our minds and skill base sharp. Investing in sharpening our mental capabilities will last most of us towards the latest part of our careers, hopefully when we are fully prepared for the consequences. But if we get stale, trouble and being out shined by others is inevitable.
It disturbs me when I hear people at any time in their career state a facsimile of the following:
- I haven’t got time to take training/development classes.
- I don’t need to learn that.
- That’s what the kids are about (e.g. social media).
- I pretty much know everything about this job? Company? Industry? Etc.
- I’ve done so much for this company.
- I’m so well connected here.
- I’ve seen that before.
- We don’t do it that way.
- What do you know anyway …wait ‘till you’ve got a few years under your belt.
- If you are saying or thinking one of the above it is only a matter of time before you will get “retired” …trust me because someone like me will be making that decision. And someone with better skills will make loyalty to what you did in the past diminished.
- Have a very clear personal development plan in place. Commit to improving yourself daily. Learn what it means to be the best at what you do. Be a continuous “all star.”
- Stay current. Stay fresh. Become a master. Never stop. Do not get lazy.
When baseball players get older they often try and compensate when batting by guessing where the pitcher is going to throw the ball. In baseball parlance they call it “cheating.” Do not cheat at work. You will get thrown out! (to apply the baseball metaphor)
Staying current and sharp in the Triangle,