One Chinese guy has just started a new career at 80.
Australian politicians and economists tell us that we all need to rethink our attitudes to work and career. The consensus is that we will all have to work much later in life and that, over time, we will have to be willing to change careers as the economy around us changes. The days of sixty-year-old retirement are over! The days of forty years in the same job are also well and truly over!
Chinese artist and actor, Wang Deshun, has become a celebrity in China over recent years with his most recent career change. Wang’s performance as a catwalk model at Chinese Fashion Week last year and more recent modeling roles has shown the world that working later in life and making career changes can help to smash stereotypes about age. The thing is that Wang is 80 years old. The catwalk is not normally the place for an 80 year old. This particular 80 year old is not walking the cat walk as an act of veneration to the elderly and infirm. He is doing serious modeling making the fashions he is modeling look very good indeed.
Wang has worked in the entertainment business for most of his life and has had a number of successful film roles. He even did a bit of modeling training and teaching earlier in life. He has not worked, however, in the pressurized world of high fashion catwork modeling. According to Wang, it is his fitness in body and mind that has opened this late in life career opportunity for him.
In a sense Wang is not just using his fitness, vitality, energy, strength, good looks and good body shape to sell clothes but he is also selling the concept of keeping an active mind and body. He is not just a model. He is a role model. Wang isn’t just a good looking old man… he is a good looking bloke, full stop.
Wang explains that he has been an athlete all of his life and that while he used to be a competitive swimmer when he was younger he now just swims half a mile to a mile most days to keep up his fitness and also spends a few hours in the gym to maintain his strength and suppleness.
It would be a disservice to Wang himself to treat his achievements in career and life as an aberration. He is the first to concede that most people who focus on continuing to pursue goals throughout their entire life as well as keeping an active body and mind can achieve great things. While we should applaud Wang we should also take note we should all try to follow his example.