Life begins at 40 when you are over the hill

It won't surprise anyone to learn that I am somebody who confuses very easily.

Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 7:01 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th April 2016, 9:03 am
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I have never completed a crossword, sudoku makes as much sense to me as the offside rule does to my football-loathing mother and I still haven’t a clue who shot JR Ewing.

We are told this is a male default position and that (ever so slightly sexist sweeping statement alert) the vast majority of blokes switch off whenever they encounter issues which don’t take their fancy, therefore creating the illusion of confusion.

It may well be the case our concentration levels are somewhat selective, particularly when tasks such as choosing curtains and dressing the children are concerned, but the past week has thrown me into the deepest levels of confusion I have encountered since discovering Colonel Sanders doesn’t actually fry the chicken himself. It has been a week which has left me perilously close to the workplace knacker’s yard after a study suggested over 40s were much more effective in the office if they stuck to a three-day week.

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Confused because, little more than six months away from the big 4-0, I, like most of my peers, have resigned myself to another 30 years at my desk and I was looking forward to climbing a few more rungs of the ladder. This headline figure was widely reported and the fear is that it will stick in the mind of bean counters and ruthless wealth creators of the future and that employees a long way off their sell-by date will be unfairly downgraded and left on the shelf for the time it takes for a forest of hair to grow in my ear canal and for me to develop a penchant for pear drops.

Of course, anyone who has read the report will see that it is far from conclusive and that it shows the real problems seem to occur when the subjects, who were all aged 40 or above, worked more than 35 hours a week - which is bog standard for many industries in the modern age.

Rather than implying that the performances of those above a certain age begin to decay, these findings should serve as a warning to captains of industry that fostering a long-hours culture and benefiting from unpaid overtime is counter productive. It is beyond question that older workers, a group to which others seem determined to align me to, have their value - after all it is always handy to have people in the office who remember who Rod, Jane and Freddy were.