Change needs experience

Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill.
Unknown

Change is often viewed as the domain of young people. They have the energy, the motivation, the drive to challenge the status quo, they ask why not do it differently, and they change things.

Personally, I am a bit critical of this view.

First of all, I think in many cases people who are older are not that mobile, so they rarely encounter different situations where they want to change things. For me, the reason to change something is not that a person is young, but that this person notices a difference between what is and what could or even should be. It’s being “the new guy/gal”, not the young one.

Second of all, while youth might come with energy, it often lacks experience and skill. It is not just wanting to do things differently, or even seeing ways to do things differently, it’s also being able to work this out and convey it to others.

However, there is one area where younger people might have it easier. They don’t have the baggage of encountering situations where change was not welcome.

Unfortunately, many situations are rather resistant against change. After all, change makes those in power look bad. What they did was not only inefficient, they did not notice it themselves. It also requires additional effort from others involved in the change, and not everyone is willing to pay this initial investment in another way of doing things. Sometimes rightly so, not all change is good and it just might be a big investment for little or no gain, or even for more work in the future. Then you have organizations where the boss wants to be involved in everything, and given that there is just too much to be involved in, nothing that requires more than fifteen minutes of attention ever gets ever done.

Being young might mean that you have not made these experiences and thus still believe that you can change things. In this sense, ignorance might be bliss. Because perhaps you can change the situation.

In other situations, however, it’s best to accept that change is not possible, and if you feel the need to continuously improve your working conditions, it’s best to leave. This behavior does not mean that you are old and do not want to change things. It means you got the necessary experience to go where that change is welcome.

And then you should leave a changeless situation before it changes you.

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