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A totally “cool” thing to do

The things I don’t understand…

I’m still on the uphill ride to my mid forties, nearer to 45 than I am to 50. From where I sit in my relative youth, 50 seems a mysterious “young-old” sort of age, with rules all it’s own. For example:

  • You are old enough to be taken seriously (or so it seems to me)…yet you are young enough to stand up on the bus, should you so choose.
  • You are old enough to have reached seniority in your field (hopefully)…yet you are young enough to embark on a new career or two, should you so choose.

Recently a colleague apologised to me for saying “cool” as he felt it wasn’t very becoming for a 50 year old man. Never mind he has a “totally cool” sense of humour and can make me laugh with a hilarious impression of a side-tackle that leaves me still chuckling weeks afterwards.

Apparently there are some things that just aren’t said when your age starts with a 5. Even when you have a sense of humour!!

But I’m not sure I understand this. To me the word “cool” brings a sense of lightheartedness that I hope I can use in conversation for many years yet. It sounds like fun to shock younger generations with it’s frequent and inappropriate use. Cool huh?

And that’s not all..

But, if this was the only thing I didn’t understand I’d be lucky. There’s a lot more not so fun and lighthearted things I don’t understand.

Despite my level of education and 20 year workforce experience there are still plenty of things I don’t understand. Especially about work. I wonder if, at 50, I’ll reach the magical age of insight and will understand some of the things I’m struggling to “get” during my 40s. Things like:

  • Why do we still have such a divide between employer and employee?
  • Why do workplaces pay us for how many days we show up rather than our outputs or achievements?
  • Why does occupational health and safety activity concentrate more on physical injury than psychological injury?
  • Why is there so little understanding of mental health issues in workplaces, when this is such a common problem in our society?
  • Why do workplace bullies always seem to get away with it?
  • Why do victims of bullies seem to get punished again by the process of complaints and compensation?

Maybe I won’t understand all these things by the time I’m 50. Certainly society itself does not yet seem to understand them.

But what I do know…

But I know one thing for sure, whether or not I understand, I’m going to do my best to do something about these things.

  • I want to help employees, managers and organisations understand more about mental health issues in the workplace.
  • I want to help employees, managers and organisations design mental health promoting workplaces and cultures.
  • I want to help give bullying the boot.

And that, I think, will be a totally “cool” thing to do.

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  1. Jocelyn,

    Really like this post.

    With my birthday this October, I will be on the downhill side my fifties, sliding toward sixty. There are a lot of good things about that, some of which you mentioned above. Also, as I wrote recently in my own blog, I am starting to understand more about how much I don’t know and don’t understand. As I get older, it’s okay NOT to know everything and understand everything and that is tremendously freeing!

    Hats off to you for having the goals you outlined. They are important and achievable. I wish you the very best in getting there.


    • Thanks Greg.
      The past few months have really helped me clarify that these goals are what I’d like to spend the rest of my career working towards. No idea yet how I’m going to do it, but knowing would ruin the fun of the journey…

      • Exactly.

        The journey itself and the struggle is what makes the work worthwhile.

        I know you’ll be successful.


      • Thank you for the faith you have in me…in times of doubt I’ll just return to your comment, smile and go for it….have a wonderful Sunday and week ahead.

  2. The Accidental Amazon

    Jocelyn, I’m months away from 60 now, and I can tell you that neither 50 or 60 is, in many ways, nothing like it used to be if one has been relatively healthy. But I can also say that, while I still don’t know the answers to the questions you raise, after 50, I’ve become a lot better at picking my battles & kicking butt productively where I think it will accomplish something. I managed, after the age of 50, to initiate a process that removed a longtime workplace bully who was a departmental boss. The whole thing took 2 years, but oh, it sure ended with a remarkable poetic justice. Good luck! Kathi

    • Thank you for your helpful and hopeful comments. I take great encouragement from what you say. May you go from strength to strength in all your battles.

  3. The Accidental Amazon

    WHoops! Call the grammar police! First sentence shoulkd say beither 50 or 60 is ANYTHING like it used to be…

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