The forties

The forties are a defining moment in your career. At your forties, you are likely to have had a stable job, children, mortgage, It is an important time of your life – the consolidation of your work and life so far.

Another reason for the importance of the forties is a negative one. If you get passed over for an opportunity, unfortunately this means your slow decline within the organisation. Getting managed by people your aged is not the problem. It could be worse. At least you are not being bossed around by some young twenty something graduate with little work or life experience. Unless you happen to be some non commissioned career soldier in the army having to kowtow to orders from a recent graduate officer. But if you get passed over for managerial positions it means you get lumped together with the young new graduates, who will be eager to please, have more energy to expend, have less life commitments. And if opportunities present themselves to all you junior employees, it is them, young and still having years to give to the organisation, that will be considered.

You could take a lesson from the military. Many start off on the non-commissioned scale, moving up as specialists to sergeant majors. A few then go off to officer training school, where they end up as lieutenants, the most junior of officers. But it gives them a shot at being general, the highest of the officers. You can’t be a general from being a sergeant major. Making the leap to the officer ranks gives you more avenues for promotion.

If, by your forties, you don’t make the transition towards managerial positions, in some sort of junior management role, then your career is likely to stall. That is because you are going to be overlooked in favour of the younger colleagues. Put it this way, if there is a promotion due upstairs, and all things being equal, employers know they can promote the younger person because it would be getting a cheaper salaried person to do the job.

Did you know the Italian music composer Giaocchino Rossini was already well established by the time he was in his forties? At the age of thirty seven he was already travelling and semi-retiring. He made his money off operas, and never wrote a work until three decades later! You can find out more about Rossini here and also read more music trivia from the Piano Teacher Crouch End N8 website.

Don’t let your forties slip by without planning!

The value of patience

Often you will hear people decry that they are no good with numbers, as if it excuses a lack of effort by confusing it with predetermined inability. Is there really an inborn inability to deal with numbers? We also hear misguided generalisms such as one being better with words than with numbers, as if the skills of language and mathematics cannot exist together side by side. But there really is no lack of understanding, it is more a lack of effort. And when I state a lack of effort, I don’t mean a lack of effort at working hard, I mean the lack of effort at patience and understanding.

When we attempt a new skill, we are more than likely not going to get it right the first time. If we do, then that skill was probably not that difficult in the first place and we would have actually not even considered it a new skill to begin with. After all, a skill implies something that requires some form of sustained effort to master. It is unlike you could play the piano to a good standard without even having touched it before. Piano playing is a skill. But you could play the piano because you have mastered another instrument like the flute, and the crossover in musical knowledge allows you to attain a good entry level at the piano in a short attempt.

When we try something new without any previous overlap, we will make mistakes and not get it right. And this is where the patience comes in. We need to focus less on the end product and think about how we can achieve it. Often the realisation that one has to devote time and effort to get to that stage puts people off, because they realise they don’t have the patience to work at it, or the patience to try slowly. They are willing to do repetitions of an activity, but not patient enough to analyse if the activity is of value to warrant the time in it.

Learning a musical instrument can be a good way of teaching this kind of patience. With a keyboard instrument, you get the instant gratification of multiple sounds, and the realisation that if you are patient enough to work at it you can produce something quite good. And if you live in the Harringay area, why not get in touch with a piano teacher in N15? You learn songs you like, while developing the patience at getting better!