October 2, 2017
Throughout my career I have thought of myself (in terms of an employee) as a fine wine, getting better and better with age. But, with close to 25 years of experience, I sometimes worry that I am more of an avocado – you know, forever ripening and ripening until suddenly, as if overnight, I am no longer good. Not valuable to anyone, past my prime.
The struggle for senior professionals is real. You work your whole career, looking toward that 20-year milestone, forever thinking – assuming – that when you reach it you will have reached the pinnacle of value to employers. They will be beating down your door to have your wisdom, maturity, knowledge and experience at their disposal.
Much to my surprise upon arrival here, I have experienced a different reality. Though I am valued for the counsel I provide and I am able to continually get work, it’s much tougher than I thought it would be. I find myself surprisingly envious of my contemporaries – the digital natives, as they are sometimes called.
Obviously, the key to avoiding The Avocado Syndrome (as I have just coined myself), is professional development. It’s critical that senior professionals continue our education, particularly in the digital world, to understand the trends, the latest tools and technologies, and to effectively incorporate them, when appropriate, into a fully integrated approach. As a bit of a laggard, this has been tough for me. I do not have even the tiniest inkling of FOMO. So, I work hard to make sure I understand the new opportunities through technology, and how to translate them into effective strategies for clients. Continuing education is a critical way I avoid The Avocado Syndrome.
What do YOU do to avoid it?