Friday, November 25, 2016

Experience, We Don’t Need No Stink’n Experience*

* Apologies to B. Traven and John Huston

It used to be, and perhaps still is, a given for any good and successful organization to have a mix of older people and youth.  The youth bring enthusiasm and energy, while the older members temper their energy with wisdom and experience.  The experienced would mentor (often informally) the young to help them understand the tasks before them and the ways those tasks were best handled.  They would pass along things that could never be found in the instructions, training, or classes the young might have had.

Now it seems even as the wisdom of the old is celebrated, it is pushed aside by the desire for instant change, even when instant change is not necessary.  We can look at almost any endeavor where the good-looking youth is pushed forward to be the boss, almost always at the cost of experience.

I read an article the other day on how journalists coming into the trade were previously not valued until they had 10 to 20 years of experience.  In the old model, college was not a prerequisite for journalism.  Now we expect college to replace those years of experience and we push the young graduates into the limelight as soon as they impress someone.  The alternative is to take someone who has influence in politics and thrust them into the spokesperson role for the network, again without a great deal of experience in the trade. 

I wonder, in either case, how much judgement they bring into the role?

Perhaps, if the current journalists were into self-inspection this would be a concern they would address, but I suspect self-inspection is not a strength of today's journalists.
Although not directly related, I recommend this post by Scott Adams, A Lesson in Cognitive Dissonance.

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