At a time when we’re constantly hearing about the “young” tech geniuses disrupting various industries, it can almost seem impossible to keep up or feel like we can contribute anything to this new digital age.
But that’s not true! In fact, Chip Conley, a long-time hotelier and entrepreneur shows us that there’s an immeasurable value of innovation with experience, humility, and wisdom in his book Wisdom @ Work.
The Making of a Modern Elder
Let’s back up and talk about Chip Conley for a minute. At age 26 he founded Joie de Vivre Hospitality (JdV), transforming an inner-city motel into the second largest boutique hotel brand in America. He sold JdV after running it as CEO for 24 years.
After he sold his first disruptive business, he was approached to be part of the next wave of hospitality disruption – AirBnB. The young founders wanted his experience and help to turn their new, shiny tech darling into a hospitality giant.
Working with AirBnB was eye opening for Conley. He was twice the age of most of the employees and while he was supposed to be a mentor to a CEO young enough to be his son, he didn’t have the same digital fluency of his young colleagues. He felt as much a student and intern as he did the mentor and teacher he was meant to be.
But what emerged out of that experience was what Conley feels is the secret to thriving as a mid-life worker – learning to marry experience with curiosity, a beginner’s mind, and a willingness to evolve.
Ageism in the Workplace
One thing we loved about this book? Conley understands that it’s going to be hard to continue feeling visible and valued when we have young digital entrepreneurs bringing brighter and shinier objects to the table. But being an “elder” doesn’t have to mean “elderly.”
Instead, Conley wants us to embrace wisdom as a path to growing whole, not old. Those human skills that us mid-career workers possess – like good judgment, specialized knowledge, and the ability to collaborate and coach – will never expire. No matter your current career path, we think Wisdom @ Work will help you embrace the change and write your next chapter.