So I recently reached a milestone. It wasn’t one I had to work hard to get, it certainly didn’t require any great knowledge but it did require assistance from others and a little bit of luck. It is also a milestone that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to. Yes I turned 50. Many people say nothing changes but for me it was quite a sombre day. Sure I got to see relatives I hadn’t seen in years and celebrated with some wonderful friends but the reality of 50 hit me harder than I ever thought it would. The next morning I felt every day of my 50 years- little did I realise I was coming down with the flu but that thought hadn’t crossed my mind. But the day got better. I had mentioned to my wife that I would love a Kombi for my 50th– I had one when I was 18 and regret the day it was sold. So in her imitable style she bought me one- granted it was Lego but the time spent with my son building it was irreplaceable.

You see at 15 very few of us knew what we wanted to do for a living, we hit 18 and some go off to college, others off to work (I joined the CBA three weeks after finishing school). Back then (in the 80’s) work was a career- we started thinking what we were going to do with our lives. Many believed the job they first had was going to be one they had for life. In our 20’s we started thinking about career paths and ultimately retirement. During my wild stage in the early 20’s I wondered whether I would make 30 years old. I am sure many of my friends were surprised when I did. Once I settled down I realised banking life was not for me, so I started out my own business. Goals followed. I thought I’d be retired at 50 but have come to realise that doing nothing would drive me nuts. Retirement for me perhaps will just be a transitioning rather than a stop-work event.

Working life in the 80’s is far removed from today’s environment. I’ll use Millennials as an example however that is pigeonholing one demographic when so many other age brackets could be used.

Statistics show:

  • 21% of millennials have changed jobs in the past year & 41% of millennials expect to change jobs within 2 years
  • 71% of millennials are actively seeking a new job, despite 83% of millennials saying they’d prefer to be with one company for a long time
  • 93% of millennials left their company when changing a job role


I think back to 1985 and my personal experience when I joined the CBA:

  • Not 1 of the employees had changed jobs in the past year & no-one expected to change jobs in the next 2 years, unless it was an internal promotion
  • Very few people were seeking new jobs
  • Very few people I worked with ever left the bank- instead they looked at internal promotions. Some people I worked with in 1985 are still in the bank


So times they are a changing.

What would my 2017 self tell my 1985 self? Firstly it would have to be quick as my 1985 self would probably punch 2017 me in the nose due to excessive lecturing. Everything many would say to themselves; save more, don’t drink too much, eat better, exercise more and try not to be too much of a dick. However the real crux of what I would tell myself revolves not around work but around some of the intangibles in life.

  • Love more and do it passionately. Love those you are with, your family, your friends. Love what you do.
  • Set goals and strive to achieve them. They may be financial goals, they may be personal but whatever you do set goals that will make you happy. Goals are there for a reason- because there is a belief that it will make your life better.
  • Persevere more- with everything you do. If you love something it is generally worth fighting for. Too many times we give up and try something new when all along we know deep down we should have stuck with what we loved.
  • Patience- it has never been my strong suite but it is something I have learned, ironically, with time. Nothing happens overnight.
  • Choose some non-negotiables- those things you will do- or won’t do- every day.
  • Choose your friends wisely and be loyal to them. Like any relationship friendships need work.
  • Be bold- take risks. Nothing great was achieved without risk
  • Have fun- it is one of the most underrated activities on the planet
  • You can’t take it with you- physical and emotional experiences far outweigh material items.
  • Kindness matters- maybe not to you but to the person you give it to it could be life changing
  • This too shall pass- everything you go through in life is transitory- whether good or bad it will pass. Tomorrow is a new day filled with new possibilities
  • Change is good
  • The little things in life are often the most important. I have a picture of myself in a sandpit with my 3yo son- he remembers it, I remember it and my wife remember it- all with great fondness. Do we have the same fondness for the video games we bought- not a chance.
  • Don’t worry be happy (have you got the tune in your head?)
  • And the big one which I have learned sometimes painfully- be grateful for what you have. It is one of the most liberating experiences one can encounter.


Millennials to a degree have it right- don’t stay in a job just because it pays a wage. Do what makes you happy and if it doesn’t make you happy or help to put you on the path to happiness leave it.

Life is far more important than the job you have, your status in life or how many likes you have on Facebook. And as my 50yo self has suddenly realised- life is what you make of it.