Am I Becoming a Grumpy Old Man?

164510786I was recently having a conversation about some of my latest Strumings–about the decline of football and the demise of traditional radio. These posts were characterized as “things that aren’t as good as they used to be” articles. And I guess they were. I said maybe they are just “thoughts from a grumpy old man”. In fact I had written an earlier Struming on this topic.

Some things are in fact not as good as they used to be. On the other hand…..There are many good things that are FAR better than they used to be (Like seeing Yankees batting averages updated on my phone in real time!). I will write about things that are better than they used to be in a future Struming.

Nonetheless, it made me reflect on whether I am becoming (or at least trending to become) a grumpy old man. I am not ashamed to say I directionally that I might be, at least in 2 ways:

1. I am old(er).

No denying this one. We all age. I am young in thought, but older in body. I can’t dunk a basketball (actually I never could) and though I am generally in good health, I surely feel more aches and pains than in yesteryear.

2. I am less patient

Truth be told, patience was never a strength, young or old. My lack of patience is in fact a double edge sword. Lack of patience probably helped me succeed in business over the years, as I was driven toward goals.

On a business basis I have evolved from an ad agency head to a business consultant, a conversion I made almost 20 years ago. As an ad guy I needed to be a positive influence inside and outside the agency. Clients don’t like agency heads that consistently challenge them and often disagree, even if it’s deserved. Ad people are supposed to be consensus builders and have good “make nice” skills. In truth I am not sure I was ever a star on those dimensions.

But I know I have changed, some might be based on age, and some based on my different role as a consultant. I now feel the need and obligation to speak the unvarnished truth; My clients respect me for doing so (I think). In fact, I believe the role of the independent consultant is to provide wisdom and naked objectivity which is difficult to find within an organization or from a marketing vendor.

I used to want everyone to “like me”. In fact as an advertising account manager rising through the ranks, likability was an important asset. In fact it was an issue I discussed in a 2014 Struming, Likability: The Key to Success. My new vision however is that likability is more important on the “front nine” of life and career, and less so on the “back nine” (interesting that I use golf analogies since I hate golf—there goes that grumpy nature).

I am still sensitive to wanted to be generally liked, but I am more than OK with a 3-4 to 1 ratio of likes/dislikes, where I always sought as close to 100% in my youth. With the wisdom of age I now realize that having 100% of people who know you to like you is not the goal, it’s 100% of people you respect is the goal.

Grumpy old man? Not really. But I am certainly more forthright than ever. You got a problem with that? Too bad if you do.

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