Posted by: garyskidmore | August 14, 2014

How Old Would You Be…?

Gary at 60 with Much to Love

Lots to Love at 60

How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you are?

I’d be about 47… old enough to have had the experience of my career, but young and energetic enough to be planning a substantial second career. 47, that sounds good.

However, last week I turned 60. I’m now in age limbo.

Some, (millennials) consider me too old to “get it.” (For the record, I do not “feel” old and I DO get it.) Some, (boomers) believe that 60 is the new launching pad age…that time after you’ve had a long, successful career and you’re ready to start something new.

I do know that 60 is much too young to retire…in fact I don’t believe in retirement at all. However, turning 60 has been a time of intense thinking and reflection, including thinking about what I have learned after being in the workforce for 45 years about work life (and some personal life lessons, too).

So from score/groundskeeper for Western Little League to president and COO for a global marketing services company, here are Skidmore’s five things that matter most in business.

1. Everyone needs a true mentor. I will be forever grateful to Bill New. He took me under his wing when he purchased Sweet Publishing and was my advisor and partner in Select Marketing. He gave me advice and listened to me. He told me stuff I needed to hear to be a better business leader and person (if you think I’m intense now, you should have seen me at 26!). Everyone needs a “Bill New” in his or her life.

2. No matter what you do, decide you will be the best. I have said many times, that I fully intended to play second base for the Yankees, but I couldn’t hit and was slow. I sure didn’t intend to be in the direct marketing business, but I was. So, like my dad, Skinny Skidmore, taught me, if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right and being the best.

3. Be intentional about hiring and working with people smarter than you. This was easy for me ;-). Smart people raise the performance of everyone around them, including the supervisor, department head, vice president or CEO. And when you find them, hang onto them. As a leader, having really smart people on your team can make you look BRILLIANT!

4. Have at least 3 bad days in a row before you quit a job. Every job has bad stuff…bad bosses, bad co-workers, some lousy and boring tasks…you can make your own list. And the grass is never as green on the other side as it looks. So when you’re ready to throw in the towel, wait. If it stays bad, really bad, for 3 days in a row (this doesn’t happen very often), then think about doing something different. Staying in the same job for a while has big benefits.

5. Give back. The workplace is populated with people who need a friend, a listening ear, a littler career advice, or just a hug. Don’t make it all about you. When you go to work tomorrow, in addition to doing the best possible job, ask yourself, “how can I make a difference in someone’s life?” Knowing that you’ve done that, feels better (and is better) than a raise or promotion.

And here’s one more thought…maybe the most important learning from my first 45 years of working. Always…always act with integrity and be honest. In other words, do the right thing. You’ll always get a good night’s sleep.


“You have to change your ID, because they made a mistake. You are not 60. You are just a 40 year old with 20 years of experience.” — Unknown



  1. Loved it! Thanks for sharing the wisdom.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Great read and great advice for any stage of one’s career. Thanks, Gary.

  3. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from you! Thanks for sharing what matters most!

  4. Happy birthday Gary! I’m turning 55 next month and appreciated your wise words! Congrats on that new granddaughter you are blessed!

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