I meet with one of our clients, a very open and receptive person to what is happening in technology, in the market, and who is constantly aware of the economic evolution. In other words, someone who is exposed to a lot of good quality information. We discuss about the profile of an operational manager in the industry in which he activates. It is a very demanding industry, so the profile of the successful man must have the skills in the field but also the resistance and the necessary energy.
I like talking to him, as he is very result oriented and encourages development within the organization, regardless of previous personal histories. For the first time since I have known him, he made a reference to mental age. Mental age or psychological age is an indicator computed by psychological tests on children, to identify those children who exceed their chronological age given by the year of birth.
It was clear to me that he did not refer to children, he talked about the mental age of adults – a definition that made the chronological age irrelevant. I have encountered many times candidates with statements such as “at this age no one is going to hire me anymore”, “I have already learned in my time, now it is the others’ turn to learn”, “I am 30, but I do not want to move mountains “,” I am 52 years old, at this age you think about a comfortable place”.
But it is not like that!
I think it is important to change our perspective. But in which direction?
The labor market in Romania looks like this:
- Before 2004 agriculture was the dominant sector in Romania, almost 40% of employees worked in this field. In 2017 agriculture still has 22.6% of the total number of employees, while the service sector has grown to 47.6%. Production attracts 18.1% of the workforce in 2016.
- Figures in 2015 show that 3.4 million Romanians emigrated, in 2017 Romania’s population was officially at 19.6 million, with an estimate of 17.8 million for the year 2035. A huge loss for Romania, and the birth rate does not help us compensate for this exodus.
- Population with the retired status reaches 18.3% of the Romanian population and will grow to 23.2% in 2035.
- Life expectancy is 75.5 years and low birth rates and emigration of young people make the active population age.
In other words, we have to get ready. We will be active for a much longer period than our parents in a dynamic market, where the necessary skills change. And it is not just the case of Romania, the aging of the active population and the low birth rate are phenomena present all over Europe. The pension system cannot sustain such a large number of retirees in the long term, so we will be active for a larger number of years.
But is this a disadvantage? NO!
I think we should change the perspective from which we see this aspect.
- In Europe, “working age” means 15-64 years.
- In the cases over 65 years, motivation for work is combined in varying percentages, depending on the level of development of the country we live in, between financial and non-financial.
- Non-financial motivation is strongly correlated with the level of education and training. In other words, the higher the level of education, the higher the added value is and the non-financial motivation for people over 55-60 years increases considerably. More specifically, we work because we want to contribute.
It is important to have this perspective in mind when talking about the mental age. Let’s view the fact that we will work many more years than our parents as a positive thing. We will work to maintain our social contacts, to have up-to-date knowledge, to stay active and healthy, and to contribute to the society we live in (European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS), 2011).
If we take into account the above mentioned information, let’s see the chronological age as a variable that reminds us that we are more likely to enjoy this life. In this case what do we need? A mental age that we can keep young and active. What do we do for that? First of all, we train, acquire new skills and knowledge, expose ourselves to valuable information, look for new social contexts, in a word GROW.
It does not matter if our chronological age is 30 or 60 years, as it is essential to maintain our mental age young, and not to remain with “aged” skills and information, and not to distance ourselves from what is happening around us and to spend time to do this self-actualization. Avoid limiting cognition that refer to the fact that we no longer need to learn, or statements about what others should do, instead of us.
We need to continually develop our diverse career paths, such as communication, analysis and synthesis, planning and organization, adaptability, proactivity and strategic thinking, as we have emphasized in the Psihoselect Assessment and Development Center.
The chart below is the best example
Romania is at the entrance to the treadmill of learning even when we speak of adults between 25-64 years.
So, we are there, we have our way, we have the determination in mind and we are starting to catch up. Do not forget, we can change the way when we have the higher speed, it is our decision.😊