You’re the man
So there go the holidays for another year, well the summer one at least. This morning I was greeted by a grey and wet sky, no tube and a slog into work. It’s good to be back.
Compare this with the scene of sitting around the pool in 30 degrees heat and more. The place we stay is small, but lively enough for some people watching. The kids play, the adults read and somewhere in the middle are the teenagers, neither one nor the other. I sat watching a couple of boys interact with a group of girls. The boys were british, the girls french. Being teenagers, being male and (maybe) being british, they did what young males do best and displayed their bravado with back flips, rough and tumble and of course stealing the girls’ towels.
Just outside of the place that we stay there is a lay by. Each day in the lay by there is a man, with his tractor selling melons. We call him the melon man and his presence is celebrated by my kids with squeals and calls of, “you’re twisting my melon man” (God knows where they learnt that!). He is there selling his melons every day, he has been there every year we’ve visited and I’m sure for many a year before and I hope for many years to come.
All of this started me thinking about strength and perceptions of strength and how these change over time. I’m not teenager, nor am I an old man. My inner cheese-monkey is happily transitioning me from one to the other (during the holidays at a quicker than normal pace). Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because my back-flipping days are over (I’m struggling to remember when they ever existed!) but I’m hugely more impressed by the melon man than the kids. Probably no surprise?
Then I think about work and I think about how often we are taken in by the brash and the forceful and the high gloss presentation and ambition of youth. How many times do we place value on these elements and overlook the commitment, dedication and endeavour. Think back to the last time you or your organisation was making redundancies. Out with the old in with the new? In the UK we are seeing and are likely to see significant redundancies within the Public Sector. I wouldn’t mind betting that the majority of those going will be in the higher age bracket.
Maybe I’m just getting on, maybe this mindset is all about self-preservation. Maybe. But quite frankly, I’d rather a melon man than a one trick pony. True strength manifests itself in many forms, sometimes we just need to cast away the stereotypes and assumptions in order to see it.