Third Act Update

I wrote a blog a few months ago on the Third Act. Since then Dr. Ed Kelly gave a very enlightening and interesting talk here in Limerick and I also attended a Third Act one day seminar in Dublin recently. I am learning more about what it involves and more importantly how we need to reshape our thinking to ensure we make the most of the opportunities that it presents rather than becoming a casualty of a changing environment.


The issues as I see them!

We are living considerably longer i.e. 15 to 20 years longer than the previous generations and this will continue to grow.

This will have a direct impact on the people involved but also on the economy that they will be participating in, whether as a contributor or as a dependant.

So we all have a reason to give this some attention either as someone who will one day be in this age grouping or as a tax-payer supporting this section of the population.

At a macro level the employment market and government policy seem to be largely indifferent to the changes that have occurred and how this issue is going to explode in terms of impact over the coming years.

The employment market provides clear gridlines and definitions around roles and career paths up to late 40’s early 50’s. Beyond that it becomes less defined and if we use the road analogy it is like the motorway can come to a fairly abrupt end with no clear route beyond that.

It is not just ageism. I am coming across people who have been very successful in their careers but are struggling to find career progression because of their level of experience and seniority. The number of roles at the next level are limited or do not exist.

Board directorships/NEDs provide an employment model that addresses this in that it values experience, contacts, expertise and wisdom. My view is that the board model is an excellent concept and every organisation should have a board of some sort but it is a very limited employment market in terms of opportunities and the risk now associated with being a director versus the rewards is questionable.

Consultancy is another option but it can be a precarious way to make a living and also can be quite lonely.

So we need to look at new models that match the needs of the market and skills and experience and motivations of the people involved. There is a clear gap in the market that requires new thinking on how to employ the talents and experience of an important section of our society.

I don’t have any silver bullet solution but this is something that I am going to give some time and thought to and I will be looking to learn from the experience of others who have successfully “travelled this road”. The starting point is to recognise that change is required and the potential rewards are significant in terms of economic benefits and creating a better society for all of us.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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