As my waistline expands and my hairline recedes, I realise that being a fifty-something male is not without its challenges. However, there are a few advantages to being older.
For the first time in my adult life I am now playing football regularly; walking football for the over 50s every week is enjoyable and helps to keep me fit. Also, the local multiplex does special weekly silver cinema screenings where I can see a film and have a coffee all for £3. It’s great to be in a cinema without being surrounded by teenagers on their bloody mobiles!
There are only a few occasions in my personal life when I actually feel old. One occurred a month or two back when I was on a crowded inter-city train and realised that I seemed to be the only person in my carriage who was passing the time by reading a book.
My professional life however is another matter as the PR industry seems often seems to discriminate, perhaps unconsciously, against us oldies. It’s not just me who feels that way. The launch issue of Influence, the new magazine from the CIPR, has an interesting article by George Pitcher titled “Are you over the hill when you reach 40?”
OK, I admit that I am probably not as expert in the use of Snapchat as any of the bright young twenty-somethings called Henrietta and Sebastian who seem to inhabit PR offices these days, but I do have the sort of writing, influencing and planning skills which many of these youngsters seem to lack. Also, unlike one young public sector PR I came across recently, I do know the difference between a councillor and a counsellor!
With the demographic profile of the UK pointing to an increasingly ageing population, the PR industry needs to understand that it will be making a mistake if it marginalises old timers like me.
A T-shirt which I recently saw summarises it best – I may be old but at least I got to see all the good bands.