How much experience do you have?


An older gentleman is asked to attend a training seminar at his job.  He is immediately irritated at the request.  He wonders why he has to attend this so called training.  To him it makes no sense.  He has been doing the same job for years now.  As a matter of fact, he’s been doing the same job the same way for thirty years.

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29 thoughts on “How much experience do you have?

  1. craigskipsey says:

    Great post Cranston, thanks for sharing! Many don’t see the difference in what you describe. Many think that doing exactly the same thing consistently for 30 years is enough to get a promotion or a big redundancy package.

    When new people come along and in a short time begin to question how things are done, it infuriates the experienced managers. But the good ones embrace it and recognise that the manager-employee relationship is one in which BOTH people learn from one another.

  2. So true. It is unfortunate that people get this way and do not have the desire to improve themselves and learn something new. On another note. In my job postings I no longer add the number of years of experience I am looking for. I do not care that you been doing it for 10 years or a few months. I want to know if you can do the job.

  3. Very true – and something that a lot of peole have trouble understanding. I always have things to learn and expect my employees to do the same.

  4. As John Maxwell says “Experience is not the best teacher. Evaluated experience is.” We always have to look back and learn from what we have gone through. Furthermore, we have to apply that experience to keep moving forward.

  5. So TRUE! Years on the job may tend more toward creating robots or drones rather than creative critical thinkers or expertise.

  6. Reblogged this on Movers, Shakers, Leadership Makers and commented:
    There’s a difference between thirty years of experience and one year of experience repeated twenty nine times,”

  7. cavegirlmba says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. rwresinger says:

    Great post! I am working on a similar post for my team explaining why we are constantly training on the basics and this post helps tie something’s together.

  9. I sent a link to a friend who is in this position – her co-worker has 20 years “experience”, but hasn’t changed how she does the job and suffers from jealousy when the new girl comes in and is much more efficient and accomplishes more. But, the one that has been there for 20 years is not open to change or a new way of doing things.

    If you close your mind off, you won’t grow. 🙂

    • Kate, we expect kids to progress. If they say in the 7th grade for years, we consider that a failure. Why is it different for adults?

      • I so agree! And for those of us that are open to change and work very efficiently, it’s hard to be a co-worker of someone that is closed off and not willing to change. It can be very easy to let them drag us down and get caught in their loop and we stop learning, too. The school analogy is perfect – every day you have to learn something new, you have to keep learning and moving forward!

  10. George Hayward says:

    Great little story and a powerful lesson!

  11. I know people that resemble this blog. I have signed people up who work for me with far fewer years of experience who express concern they are being punished because they are being sent for training. “I must be screwing up or they wouldn’t need to retrain me. Guess its time to look for a new job.” They fail to understand that times change and while the basic principals of the job remain constant, the methods to accomplish those goals change.

    No everyone with time on the job has 1 year experience times the number of years they’ve held the job. I was a senior leader in an organization in the same position for 15 years. Two things amazed me. The first was how difficult it was to get the CEO who had been there longer than me to value changes in methods (technology, changes in law etc.) and send people to train to remain current. The second was hearing those who had been there less time than me whine about changes I was able to incorporate. “Why do we have to change? We have always done it the other way” (these are the people with a year’s experience n times).

    I think too often younger people think that older people with wear on there shoes and some stretch in their belt just live in the old days and offer nothing for the future. Many of us who have been around preach and practice progress. Just because one of us tells you it can’t be done, doesn’t mean we don’t like change; rather, having been down that road, we know you should turn the other way, the way no one else has yet gone.

    Years on the job are only a measure of time. They measure neither real experience or vision. If one refuses to accept any change, it may be time for them to move on. Pay attention to the one with the warn heels who points in a different direction, not back and not the way you suggest, but another way. He or she may already traveled that road and know it is not the way forward. JMHO. Great blog and discussion.

  12. Cranston, this is more than true. Those that think that experience is enough are looking behind them for their value. When in truth…we must always be willing to move forward and grow as each day we can learn something new to bring to the table. 🙂

  13. Aisling says:

    Great post. So often people think “I’ve done my studying and my learning” but how much more powerful is it to stand in the perspective of ‘life long learning’. Those that continue to learn, continue to grow as others have commented. Leaders ensure that they and their teams continue to learn and develop for their own good. This is what sets them apart and makes them leaders:)

  14. Great post it’s all about continuous improvement and those who reject this or dont think they can learn anything new all the time are going backwards

  15. There are two important lessons from this post. First, everyone has a personal responsibility to develop themselves. There is always something new to learn or a way to improve what we do.

    Second, managers should not have personal development/ supervision sessions in public places.

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