I remember times when I was job searching, I’d see jobs that I knew I could do, and do well, yet I had no chance of getting it simply because I didn’t have the necessary years of “experience”. You might have seen the same thing.
Equally, when you turn eighteen, you are able to vote, at sixteen you are able to drive. Legally speaking, a mere 24 hours before your birthday, you weren’t equipped or experienced enough to vote or drive. We sometimes accept age equals experience.
But I’d rather be driven by a sixteen year old who drives a long distance every day, than a forty year old who only drives occasionally. I’d trust an eighteen year old who has studied the policies of each politician on the ballot to vote more responsibly than a fifty year old who votes on a whim.
I think we all would, yet we are often still blinded by the false idea of the importance of experience over anything else.
If it’s not about the years of experiences, what are the true indicators of ability?
Imagine you’re an employer, and in front of you are two prospective employees. One is relatively young, but in their time they have overcome a number of challenges, they show drive and determination, they demonstrate good knowledge and skill, yet they haven’t worked in this industry for very long; the other is about a decade older and they’ve spent a number of years in a similar job, they have experience for sure, but very little else.
I think most of us would go with the younger employee.
Age, ultimately is a measurement of time lived, not things achieved or difficulties overcome.
Let us consider Elon Musk, he is a self made billionaire, the co-founder of Paypal, the CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and numerous other companies. Were he to have joined a tech company and wait until he had the right amount of experience, then without a doubt, he would have achieved none of this.
Though, as you’d imagine he was an computer prodigy (at twelve he designed, programmed, and sold a video game), his life wasn’t easy. His parents divorced at an early age, and at school was bullied remorselessly. Yet, after achieving two bachelor degrees in Canada, and dropping out of a Ph.D, his success was immediate and meteoric.
In short, he overcame a great deal of personal problems, but due to his drive, passion and talent, was able to achieve great success. Success ultimately achieved without years and years in the tech industry gaining experience (indeed, he studied physics and economics in university).
It’s about how many challenges you have gone through, not how many years you have lived through.
A good employer knows these things. When looking for new team members, a good employer takes drive, passion, talent, resilience far more into account than the number of years they’ve spent in a job and certainly not the amount of years they’ve been alive for, which again is really all that age really signifies.
At Lifehack, when we recruit new team members, we are not concerned about the number of years a candidate has in the field. During a job interview, we ask candidates about their concrete experiences over the past time. For example, what have they achieved and how did they do that? What obstacles have they come across and how did they get over them?
We’ve seen plenty of candidates who have 10 years or more work experience in the field, yet they can’t really tell us their journey of growth.
Deep down, you don’t grow with years, you grow with challenges.
I believe we need to reconsider growth and experience. You grow with things faced and battles won (or lost).
Think of your greatest accomplishments, I imagine after accomplishing them you felt stronger and more effective than you did after after working at a place for a year,
Because of this, I think deciding to wait for a few years, until you start working on your dreams is potentially disastrous. If you wait for a eureka moment where your brain tells you that you’ve gained enough experience, then I’m afraid you’ll be waiting forever.
We should begin to consider growth as something that comes from developing skills, improving your intelligence, and mindset, and not something that just sort of…happens after being alive for a while.
If you want concrete proof of your growth, don’t wait, but seek out challenges and take risks. Even if you fail, you still had the strength to try, and have the strength to try again, this matters more than any amount of experience.