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Your Wise Oldtimers Are Not Eternal

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I heard a snippet of a story on the radio about the trauma of losing older workers. I didn't hear much, but I'm pretty sure they were talking about retirement, both forced and voluntary, and occasionally moving to a different job. The staff who were left behind were all traumatized- the old coots are gone, and all of their ineffable wisdom with them! Now what will we do!

I've run into this several times in my consulting career. This probably reveals too much of my cranky, impatient nature, but the script always runs the same way- they act like employees getting older and moving on is an unforeseeable event, and act all surprised and betrayed and the foundations of the universe are cracking. I always wonder- don't they teach planning ahead and how to recognize the obvious in those spendy college business programs?

I've always gravitated to the quiet ones- the IT staff who are off in the corners doing the real work. The ones who roam around flapping and squawking like birds during mating season aren't productive, and don't know as much as they say they do. Back when I was doing a lot of consulting my #1 most useful ability was eluding whatever useless drone management had appointed as my chaperone, and finding the folks who were doing the real work. Then we got things done.


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