Tom Cruise and Tom Jones teaching us older boys valuable lessons..

I don’t think it’s the very best time to be an older man in this world due to a whole number of reasons and circumstances and quite frankly some quite awful examples of male personalities that we all know only too well.

At a panel discussion recently that I was chairing for a client, we tried to take on a number of issues about bias including Gender, Race and LGBTQ and how these issues may affect the workplace dynamic and career progression. At this session I heard for the first time the expression “male, pale and stale” which was used by one of the participants when referring to men of my age group and older (over fifties effectively).

It struck me that while we were talking about biases, here was quite a blatant one and I realised that this is how many would view me, my generation and older. They have us written off!!

When we give an opinion, when we apply for a job, when we present an idea or go after an opportunity are we written off by many because quiet frankly we are viewed as being “male, pale and stale”?

I was talking to a male colleague who recently applied for a board position and from the credentials that were required, you could not get a better fit. Knowing him I would 100% want him sitting around the board room table providing guidance and wisdom and with a huge moral compass.

He wasn’t even considered because of, you guessed it ..a gender quota and an organisation trying to be politically correct and balance the male/female ratio.

While I understand some of the rationale for this policy, I can also understand how my colleague felt in this scenario where merit is discarded – he is talented, qualified and experienced but sadly the wrong gender, the wrong age, the wrong colour and instead of getting frustrated, maybe accepting his lot and throwing in the towel, putting on the slippers and instead deciding to coast to retirement?

All of this can start to make us older boys, feel irrelevant, past it and possibly done and dusted and suddenly our whole mindset shifts to a poor place.

I went to see Top Gun: Maverick last week and I saw 61 year old Tom Cruise in the all action movie. He looked great, he apparently flew those fighter jets himself, drove the fast motorbikes and got the girl!

And just this weekend I went to see 82 year old, great grandfather, Tom Jones (not my choice !!) entertain a packed house at The Marquee in Cork, full of energy and passion. He was brilliant and totally different to what I was expecting.

In a funny way both of the Tom’s shifted my thinking and reminded me that we still have so much to give and so much of this is down to our attitude.

I can’t do anything about my colour or my gender, but I’m definitely not that stale guy that you think I might be. Most importantly I must make sure that I don’t think it!

Age is a mindset..


Greg Canty is a Principal of Fuzion Communications, a full service Marketing and PR agency with offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.

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3 Responses to “Tom Cruise and Tom Jones teaching us older boys valuable lessons..”

  1. marymtf Says:

    You can’t do anything about your colour or gender, but why would you want to? Or be shamed into wanting to? The racist attitude seems to have flipped and no one’s better at promoting it than white woke folk. I’ve often thought that if the white, male-bashing folk were sincere in their belief, they’d be saying white (fe)male and stale. Wouldn’t that set off a hornets nest.

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