Stumped used to be a slightly negative term. It meant that you were held back or held up, usually by forces beyond your control. In short, when you were stumped, you were stopped.
That was particularly true in the world of work. If you were stumped by a prejudiced boss or an inflexible HR system, your advancement came to a screeching halt. If you were stumped in your efforts to find another job, your progress and even your security in the workplace were lost. To paraphrase a song, when you found yourself stumped in your career, “you had nothing left to lose.”
Not any more. Thanks to an ageless old pooch by the name of Stump, the word has taken on an entirely new meaning. As of this week, being stumped is a badge of honor whether you’re 45, 55 or of a certain older age like me. From this point forward, if you’re stumped, you’ve got what it takes to be a winner.
Stump is the 10 year old Sussex spaniel—that would be 70 years of age in human terms—who was just named Best of Show at the Westminster Dog Show in New York City. Old Stump is a good looking dog for his age, but compared to the sleeker youngsters with which he was competing, he was … well, a bit down in the jowls.
He padded along softly when the other pooches preened and pranced. He sat serenely still while they jittered and jumped around the ring. He gazed with poise at the judges while all around him the best and brightest of the canine world clamored for their attention.
And, old Stump prevailed. Stump stumped the world and took home the blue ribbon. The old guy won.
Now, don’t misunderstand. I’m not putting down those in their twenties, thirties or forties. They give our society and our workplace much of its energy and enthusiasm, and of course, we should celebrate that. I’m simply suggesting that it’s also appropriate from time-to-time to recognize the character and wisdom of those who’ve been around the show ring more than a couple of times. As old Stump proved, they too have something worthy of acclaim.
So, for all my readers of a certain age, here’s my respectful advice: the next time someone asks you if you’re stumped at work or in your job search, you tell them and yourself “You bet I am.” I’m stumped and that makes me a winner!
Thanks for reading,