‘Pace yourself’: lessons for King Charles on working in your 70s | King Charles III
The biggest challenge for those, like the King, who are working in their 70s is adapting to change, according to David Smith, 73, who, for the past 20 years, has been chief officer of the men’s charity, 15 Square.
“I think a lot of people get into their 70s and say ‘I’ve always done it this way and this is how I’m always going to do it’,” says Smith, who is the same age as Charles. “And that is a recipe for disaster. You have to embrace change.”
According to the Office for National Statistics, rising numbers of older people are either working or looking for work. More than half of those are men over 65. Whether forced into a job out of economic necessity or out of duty, some of the challenges may be surprisingly similar.
As the chaplain of a private school in the Cotswolds, 73-year-old Bob Edy finds dealing with paperwork on the computer the biggest challenge. He thinks Charles will not find it easy to read lots of official documents, day after day. “It’s partly due to mental tiredness, but also my eyes are not quite as good as they were.”
Vanessa Lampert, 73, owns Focus Force, which recruits people for market research and focus groups. While she loves working, she is finding it harder to handle the pressure. “I get more stressed than I used to, and more tired,” she says. It is crucial to stay as physically fit as possible, and to notice when you need a rest. “That’s the important thing – to pace yourself.”
Peter Gluckman, 75, an organizational consultant, says he often walks into a meeting and doubles the average age in the room. “You’ve got this tension that arises from young people thinking you might be very wise and experienced, but could drop dead at any moment.”
Prince William may be interested in this tip from Smith: mutual support is essential when you have younger colleagues. “Make them feel part of what you are doing. Don’t try to do everything yourself.”