Tonight’s blog post came from a suggestion from my mum and of course who would go against a suggestion from their mum? I think it is borne from the fact she is reaching a milestone birthday this year (and I won’t mention which one!). In this fast world where things are not allowed to age and we are all looking to keep wrinkles and grey hairs at bay, are we spending too much time valuing youth and not enough recognising the wisdom that comes from age?
Of course just growing older doesn’t give you automatic wisdom and you can avoid learning anything during your years. However, one thing that you do get through age is experience and it is that which brings something you can’t gather despite widespread reading or teaching.
Experience is mentioned on nearly every job description that I have ever seen. There are skills that you can list but experience is the essence of what you have gathered through your years doing something. In this case it is the broad knowledge of work.
In a nutshell experience is “practical contact with and observation of facts or events” and the more exposure we have to this, through aging, the more we have to put current issues, crises or other factors into perspective. We know after experience that when things are bad they generally get better, when we are under pressure at work we get through it, and when we face a problem we have a wide range of solutions and experience tells us what is likely to work.
When people are young and enthusiastic they can bounce in with bright ideas and others can get swept along. Don’t get me wrong there are times when this is what is needed and this approach can benefit a team, group or organisation. But I don’t think we give enough recognition to those who have gathered years of experience in a role.
Experience should never be a lazy way of getting people to agree. The ‘listen to me because I have the experience of this’ approach should never be allowed. What people need to do is explain what the experience is telling them and share the knowledge that they have gained.
I might appear to rarely listen to my parents now, in the same way I ignored their advice in my formative years, but there is a lot to value from life experiences and knowledge that is gained from every day of our lives.