What will happen when turning 100 becomes the norm?
How will it affect, society, individuals, families and businesses?
What sort of world will our children inherit?
These were just some of the hefty questions we grappled with at our latest Astley MediaExecutive Breakfast Briefing.
Since the beginning of the year we have been debating the future of work, looking at subjects ranging from artificial intelligence and digital nomads to turning disruption into competitive advantage.
More are lined up, including an all-day gathering on building brilliant and resilient teams, with some very special guests.
But our latest session, which debated the concept of ‘The 100 year life’, was the most thought-provoking to date.
The theory goes something like this…
Many of us have been raised on the traditional notion of a three-stage approach to our working lives: education, followed by work and then retirement.
But this well-established pathway is beginning to collapse — life expectancy is rising, final-salary pensions have all but vanished, and increasing numbers of people are juggling multiple careers.
Whether you are 18, 45 or 60, you will need to do things very differently from previous generations and learn to structure your life in completely new ways.
Joining some of the bright business brains around the table for this debate were Malcolm, an 85-year-old former headteacher, and Ella, a 20-year-old higher level apprentice.
And from the outset, it was clear that, we, as a society, are on the verge of a fundamental shift in almost everything we currently take for granted.
It’s difficult to distil the complexity and depth of the discussion, which lasted for well over an hour, into a single blog, and so we have selected our top seven take outs:
1) With people living to a riper age and many of the current employed population having to work longer there may be a need for families to support each other even more. That could be from nursing the ill and infirm to taking care of grandchildren. One delegate pointed out that in some Caribbean cultures there is no such thing as a nursing home, as relatives fulfil that role without a second thought.
2) What was right for us may not be right for our children. Those in the 100-year-life spectrum will have decades to decide what they want to do and will change their world-view several times. By insisting on the traditional school/university route we may be doing them a disservice.
3) Ownership is no longer a priority for young people. Whereas previous generations would covet their own home or car, millennials today are more interested in a sharing economy in which people rent beds, vehicles and other assets directly from each other.
4) Health… If we are to live longer, more enriched and rewarding lives we need to take better care of ourselves otherwise ‘bits will begin to drop off’ as one delegate put it.
5) It will never be too late to start something new. Whether it is starting a new business or going back into education, our lives will be more fluid, more unpredictable and, as a result, more rewarding.
6) Set your course for the direction you want to head in, knowing that you may not reach your ultimate destination in the way you expected to. However, that does not mean that you are not going to get there! Malcolm (our 85-year-old) who is also a keen sailor, said while you can still tack back and forth sometimes you just need to go where the wind takes you.
7) And finally, take a helicopter view! Matt, one of delegates who has been to all three of our sessions said one of the biggest benefits he had gained was the ability to take time out and think about subjects that wouldn’t normally bear scrutiny. “It’s really important,” he said. “We just don’t do this sort of thing … and we should.”
Do get in touch if you want to join the conversation. We have more discussions coming up and our first all-day gathering looking at how you build brilliant and resilient teams. We will be joined by some very special stars of sport and exploration. Find out more and secure your place http://bit.ly/ResilientTeams