Your biography – does it follow a straight line or go on a roundabout path, is it continuous or interrupted, is its course determined by your age?
Patchwork biographies are what human resource managers call biographies that look like patchwork quilts on first appraisal, with seemingly unconnected stages and experiences. Biographies of this kind are evaluated in very different ways – depending on the requirements of the position the applicant is interested in and whether or not a common thread can be found.
At the same time, more and more companies appreciate a larger variety of experience – regardless of where this experience was made. These companies also support their employees in their individual professional development: making work more flexible and offering opportunities for lifelong learning are only two important examples of how businesses can focus on individuals and their personal circumstances, and take different requirements into consideration. From the perspective of human resource developers, each phase of life has its own potential.
What does this mean for young and experienced employees? Everything is possible – at any time! Professional development, a change in specialisation, new inspiration. Decisive requirements include a prejudice-free environment that does not tolerate age discrimination, the promotion of employees according to individual potential instead of age, and, of course, personal motivation to develop oneself further.
An orderly life – is a thing of the past! School, training, starting a career, careers with or without parental leave, and, finally, retirement. For generations, career paths appeared to be predetermined. In recent years, biographies and career paths have become more diverse. Values have changed as well as the esteem of different role models. Nowadays, people train for more than just one profession, they are constantly educating themselves further, and often take a creative break. And at 65? Who says that life is over then? (1)
Doctorate at 102
A belatedly granted right: in 2015, Ingeborg Sylim–Rapoport completed her doctorate at the age of 102. Because of her Jewish roots, she had been denied the right to take the examination in 1938 (2).
Sailing the world at 16
Conqueror of the ocean: at 16, Laura Dekker (Holland) became the youngest person to sail solo around the world. After approximately 50,000 km and one year on the ocean alone, she reached her destination in 2012. Travelling, sailing, working were all part of her later life (3).
Astronaut at 77
A space record: in 1998, the American John Herschel Glenn Jr, aged 77, was the oldest person to enter space. He orbited the world 134 times. John Glenn was a combat and test pilot, an astronaut, and a senator. He died in Ohio in 2016 at the age of 95 (4).
(1) modified by Mercedes-Benz