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Labels suck, unless it’s the title you’ve always wanted 

By  Henry Rose Lee

Labels suck: what over people are calledAre you a “SceneAger”, a “Seenager”, or a “Seen-it-all ager”?

Are you anti all labeling? Because Labels Suck?

Or have you yet to identify your true position?

Perhaps you’re a dyed-in-the-wool, die-hard, “Seen-it-all ager”, where you’ve had a lot of experiences and done a lot of things. Cynicism runs through your veins. Nothing shocks or surprises you anymore. When someone rushes over, breathless, wide-eyed and slack-jawed with delight or horror at what has befallen then, you remain neutral, calm, bloodless. You might even say “Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt”.

If that’s you – then maybe your time is up.

Maybe you’ve had enough of this living life. Hard for me to believe – since it’s a huge world out there – and I don’t think for one moment that one single individual has seen or done everything. There are circa 6,500 spoken languages and 195 countries – have you experienced all of that?

I’m British and I’ve only visited Scotland and Wales 12 times each and I don’t speak Gaelic or Welsh, and I’ve never eaten haggis.

There’s so much more of the UK to discover, even before I look at Russia, China, the US or anywhere else.

Maybe you’re a “Sceneager”?

The label started to be bandied about around 2007/2008 positioning people who loved certain music, graphics and fashion (Hello Kitty, neon make-up, multi-coloured hair, skinny jeans, graphic tees etc). In later years, with the dominance of social media as our information feed, it’s now often about being seen in all the right places- those that are “woke”, or “on fleek”.

In my middle-aged vernacular that means fashionable, trendy and of the moment. Today, the urban dictionary defines the scene teenager as a young person who attends the event, festival, cultural or artistic happening, just so they can tell everyone else that they were there.

Is that what Smartphone selfies and Instagram photos are for? To show everyone “You woz there”? To add a title, and some filters to your SnapChat or Tik Tok feed, and then broadcast them to the world? Maybe. I guess that would make you achingly hip in some circles.. Me? Can’t keep up with that. Can’t bear to waste my time on people, places or productions that I don’t like.

Or, are you a Seenager?

A Senior Teenager where 50 years after being a teenager the first time round, you time has come again and you’re back?! You don’t have to go to school/work. You don’t need an ID to gain entry, and  in fact, your ID now gets you cut-price tickets, special discounts and age-related offers. If you’re lucky, you’ve got some savings or a pension. You’ve got your license & car. You’ve got your own place and you’ve definitely got your own money. You’ve got time to experiment. Life is a playground and playing “hookie” never felt so great! And you’re living a longer, healthier, active life, with all the experience, knowledge and skills to get more, do more and be more than ever before. Now getting older looks like so much more fun!

Me? I don’t think  I’m any of these, but I know I’m also labelling myself – as a speaker. I’ve even told friends and family that I’ve reinvented myself as a professional, public speaker. That’s because it’s kind of true. I have a speaker manager and I earn 50% of my annual fees through keynotes, lectures, seminars and presentations. I literally speak for a living. If you’d told me 10 years ago – or even 5 years ago, for that matter – that I’d be speaking from the stage, I would have scoffed, stuttered and stared in utter disbelief.

I would then have reminded you – in acid-laced tones – that I’m a face-blind introvert, who ain’t NEVER going to be the centre of attention! What a difference half a decade makes. I’m entering a new, ten-year period where I’m learning to live with the speaker label. I’ve found my voice and think my thoughts out loud. I doubt I’ll be achingly hip any time soon. I’ve become curious and interested – rather than world-weary and bored – because speaking has opened up national & international travel which is fascinating and hugely enjoyable. (2019 included Malta, Fuerta Ventura, Majorca, Ireland & Turkey).

Labels Suck – So Invent Your Own Less Sucky Ones

Your very own language, style, approach. And why not? Technology is changing how we work, communicate, live and create. So let me know if you’re an Ager. Start your own movement. Do things your way. And who knows? Your label could end up in the Urban dictionary, or the history books. There’s only one way to find out. Start living. Do it now. You know you want to. Oh, and if it’s really good – let me know – I might want to speak about it!

About the author

Henry Rose Lee

Henry is a recognised authority on Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers in the workplace. She helps businesses to recruit, engage and retain their younger employees, and helps individuals to ignite their talents and carve out an outstanding career, whatever their age.

Through her keynote speeches, workshops and coaching, you will understand the evolution of leadership in what is sometimes called ‘the Shift Age’, so you can avoid common pitfalls and help your organisation (and yourself) to thrive.

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