Monday, January 31, 2011

If youth knew, if age could

Of all the things needed to do something right, experience counts the most. Of all the things needed to do something at all, what counts most is the energy or enthusiasm to do it. Finding both of these together is rare- which explains why our world is less than perfect. There is a famous saying: "If one could learn from watching alone, then even the dog would become a butcher". This quotation elegantly outlines why and how experience counts.

Humans are, what a student of artificial intelligence would call, Expert Systems i.e. we have the capability of learning as we do the same thing over and over again. Unlike a computer which follows the same routine of steps everytime for identical procedures, we tend to memorize steps and skip them during future calculations. However, this does not apply to mathematical computations alone. An experienced doctor can tell your ailment without examining you. Some people call it magic; others call it experience. A writer cannot effectively write about something they haven't felt or experienced (except for the case that they're highly imaginative). So, experience is anytime better (actually, there is a very thin line between experience and monotony).

There are two things that must never be disregarded- craftsmanship and experience. Even craftsmanship stems from vast experience (a rule that hardly has an exception). During the last decade, the trend that companies followed for hiring people has seen a paradigm shift from the experienced candidates getting preference to freshers being hired in large numbers and now it is shifting back again to the experienced. If the economy is going through hard times, companies generally downsize to the disadvantage of the newbies. How far this is correct remains a question of debate.

However, during the times of deepest recession, a few companies did not downsize- they even argue that it is their large human resource that helped them survive the recession. While this may be true for big, stable companies that have a good margin of elasticity, most of the companies preferred to keep the old and discard the new. While this may seem okay in a top-heavy population; in a growing population like ours, such a move can throw a great percentage of the population out of jobs.

Detrimental for the employed as it is, how far does it benefit the employers ? Can we ever successfully trade the potential that youth has, the feats they're capable for experience, or the vice-versa ? The answer couldn't be a plain yes. For all that youth lacks, experience can compensate. For all that old age is incapable of achieving, youth could become the instrument. So, the question here is, can the yound and the experienced workforce work together as a team ? Can companies keep the older folk for a longer time while hiring fresh talent ? Or should the question be, "can companies or governments or societies afford not doing so? " ?.

With the retirement of an official from a government service goes the decades-long expertise that they had gained by doing things again and again, under varied circumstances, during war & peace, during crisis and prosperity. Immediately gone are their original experiences and all tricks of the trade that they had discovered. With retirement comes depression, anger and the feelings of being rejected or useless. If only the youth knew all that there is to learn about work and life and commit no mistakes at all, and if only the aged could do things right and undo all that has ever gone wrong, the world would be so much better! While this is impossible, it is also achievable- what a paradox!

From all that we have discussed so far, we know now that abrupt retirement from service is detrimental to the organization as well as to the individual. There has been growing acceptance of the need to make retirement a gradual process. This could be done by reducing working hours gradually till retirement or breaking the monotony as retirement approaches i.e. setting more enjoyable roles for them (which could include anything from training the freshers to defining best practices, etc. depending upon the very nature of the organization).

By recognizing the worth of the experienced and the potential of the youth and making them work together, youth would know much more and age could do much more ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you liked this post, please let me know !