One July day in 2006, designated hitter Jim Eriotes of the Sioux Falls Canaries led off the game by striking out on a fastball in the low 80s and was promptly benched.
Frustrated by his performance, Eriotes offered this comment after his team beat the St. Joe Blacksnakes, 5-3, in a minor league contest. “If I got a couple more at-bats, I’d get a hit. Easy.”
Eriotes, who fouled off one of the four pitches he saw, was 83 years old at the time, making him the oldest player to appear in an official baseball game. Reportedly, his confidence stemmed from his ability to hit pitches approaching 100 miles per hour in a batting cage.
A new survey conducted by Braun Research for Adecco Staffing suggests that many companies also feel older workers can still hit the fastball. The study says that hiring managers are three times more likely to hire someone over the age of 50 versus someone in their 20s or early 30s (the so-called Millennials).
Seasoned workers are viewed as more reliable and professional, while their younger counterparts are seen as more creative and motivated. Mature workers were also overwhelmingly considered to be better listeners and writers.
The knock on creativity bugs me. As a seasoned communications expert, I don’t feel I’ve lost the knack to come up with new ideas. But it’s not surprising to associate creativity with younger workers, because numerous studies show that staying creative helps keep us young.
For example, George Washington University psychiatrist Gene Cohen conducted a two-year study of healthy adults over the age of 65, and he found that those who participated in artistic activities, such as singing in a choir, painting or writing, had fewer medical problems or took less medicine than those in a control group who didn’t participate in creative pursuits.
Cohen, who wrote the book “The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain,” argues that most people really don’t start hitting their creative stride until their 40s and 50s, partly because they reach a point in their lives in which they are confident in their individuality and don’t feel the need to conform.
As we age, we have an obligation to grow by experiencing new things, taking classes, participating in social groups, and unleashing our inner selves. It’s nice to know that we are reliable. So are old Volvos. The trick is to make sure that we use the wealth of our experience as a foundation for new experiences, and not as an excuse to rely upon old habits.
Mike Sockol has been a writer and communications strategist for over 30 years, developing and implementing editorial, PR and marketing communications initiatives for companies and organizations of all sizes. If you need help to solve your own communications challenges, visit www.msockol.comfor more information or contact Mike directly at 732.682.8361.