Resident Wise Woman.

October 21, 2020

Resident Wise Woman.

May 29, 2023

What would be your ideal title when you’re 50+? I was connecting with a friend who I’ve had the pleasure of working with both at Joie de Vivre and Airbnb and she was telling me about a recent conversation she had with the “Resident Wise Woman” Deb Ryan of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (scroll down to the second row of leaders to find Deb).

Deb is a “Jill-of-all-trades,” brainstorming strategy with the CEO, helping with accounting needs, being a voice of the foundation as the first point of contact taking calls from potential donors or grantees, and just offering sage advice and mentorship. Her title is “Resident Wise Woman.” Her informal title is “Professor Good Stuff.” The foundation’s CEO said the informal title came about as Deb is a great resource to impart her knowledge and insights about the community.

I was called the “Modern Elder” at Airbnb. The health care company DaVita has a Director of Wisdom. Aging 2.0 has considered socializing the concept of Chief Elder Officers for organizations.

What would you like to be called and what mastery would you have to offer in the second half of your career?

If it’s time to retire the term coined in 1959, “knowledge worker” (thank you to my Modern Elder O.G., Peter Drucker), and replace it with “wisdom worker,” there are a whole bunch of possibilities for new titles and job descriptions beyond “Old Fart.” This last weekend I marveled at the Netflix’s exquisite documentary “A Life on This Planet,” the story of 93-year-old David Attenborough’s witnessing of the degradation of Earth and its biodiversity. He’s a “First-Class Noticer” and a “Wise Witness.” He’s also a “Chief Eternal Optimist.”

Here’s my video riff on what we might call ourselves in the era of the “wisdom worker.”

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