On age and beards

Interesting how things come in waves. The new normal seems to be that I am working with people on sharpening leadership skills, business planning, or prepping the “mega-interview” for a dream job.  A year or two back a good number of my individual clients were mid career people searching for new pastures after they had been displaced by advancing technologies and business models – and, let it be said, by younger candidates.

Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, wrote in the 1930s of his youth in Vienna before WW1: “Young people who always instinctively desire rapid and radical changes, were therefore considered a doubtful element which was to be held down or kept inactive for as long a time as possible … in that age of security everyone who wished to get ahead was forced to attempt all conceivable methods of masquerading in order to appear older.  The newspapers recommended preparations which hastened the growth of the beard, and twenty-four and twenty-five year old doctors who had just finished their examinations wore mighty beards and gold spectacles even if their eyes did not need them so …All those qualities which we look upon as enviable possessions – freshness, self assertion, daring, curiosity, youth’s lust for life – were regarded as suspect in those days that only had use for “substance.”

Makes me wonder about all those beards I see around me in Williamsburg. Could the wave be heading back to favor the old?  (One of the beards below belongs to Rudolf, Archduke of Austria and Crown Prince of Austria-Hungary, and one doesn’t.)