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CHICAGO — While some of you don’t have to worry right now, many will find yourself middle-aged or older sooner rather than later. The key is to take advantage of all the good and bad things that come into your life, both personal and professional. Don’t give up the ship!
Varied experiences, maturity, wisdom, confidence, attitude, gathered knowledge, good and bad decisions, dealing with bosses who just don’t get it, understanding peers, personal credibility, friends and contacts made, and the ability to empower others are all aspects of learning and becoming a leader, no matter what industry you come from.
Avoid being pushed aside because of your age — employ up-to-date approaches, remain competitive and sharp, and, most importantly, stay healthy. Work with your teams and never settle for mediocrity. Do these things, and the onset of old age will slow down considerably.
One area where we often fail to keep up is in the development of new technologies. “New” and “proven” technologies are definitely two different perspectives. In recent years, for example, there have been numerous efforts made to make the laundering and handling of textiles in both the hospitality and healthcare industries safer, when all along, if we were to practice the basics of infection control, masking products with a new barrier of protection would prove unnecessary, as would the cost associated with such products.
Let’s examine the new and proven perspectives. We should all know by now that water and mechanical action alone, in just about all cases, will render a textile product hygienically clean. We introduce chemicals for additional quality aspects such as stain removal, brightness, etc. After that process, we usually finish an item by ironing or drying in rather high temperatures, so when a textile item leaves a laundry, it should be hygienically clean. The handling of linen after processing is an issue of infection control.
Keep in mind that there has never been a case documented that identifies linen or the handling of linen as the basis for the dissemination of contaminants. This is not to say that degrees of probability don’t exist, but I have yet to see any scientific evidence that would substantiate a need to add another mechanism or process to control or eliminate bacteria — it’s not necessary or cost-effective.
If you have the opportunity to examine such a product, ask for a copy of the scientific study. Keep in mind that a textile product can only be evaluated scientifically through a process called “maceration” (softening or breaking up in liquid), which lets you see if contaminants were involved or removed.
While there may be a time and place for new products that provide additional assurances for a safe and clean environment, make sure that you are as knowledgeable as those trying to promote a new product. I would ask once again, where in the world is Dr. Ray Otero on such issues? (Incidentally, I spoke with him recently, and he is enjoying retirement.)
Recently, when traveling on business and listening to the greatest hits of the ’70s — the only thing you can get on the radio in Florida — I walked past a mirror in my hotel, and for a split second I refused to accept my reflection. I looked really old (and no, I didn’t have a long evening before). Thinking it was probably the lighting in my room, I ran to the lobby in hopes of getting a different reflection. Well, the lighting was brighter, but the reflection didn’t change.
The moral of this story is that it would be perfect if mirrors would reflect the full picture, including self-image, but don’t fool yourself — they only give back externals.
We all grow older and hopefully wiser. A birthday card I recently received from a younger friend said, “No Matter How Old You Are, I’ll Always Be Younger.” Some friend, right? But you know, I do feel young, and I realize that while I’m not a young, career-driven person, I’m a mature, experienced manager who deals with young professionals all the time, and this is really fun and challenging.
Well, the holidays are approaching, and it will soon be 2009. But stop for a moment and don’t forget that Nov. 4, 2008, is Election Day — probably the most important Election Day in history. No matter your age or position in life, please vote, and encourage those around you to do the same.