The Age of Talent

By Christina Kim - August 13, 2015

I have worked for several years now, since I have graduated from university and in many corporations which I have learnt and gained invaluable experience, adding value and just cementing that foundation of the knowledge taught from my institution.
There are many mentors and extremely skilled, talented peers who have guided or in some way or another, just showed me a tip or two when it comes to surviving on the job.
I am thankful for these people who were the lighthouses blinking and shining their lights brightly on my path or I would have wrecked blindly (and unknowingly) against the vicious rocks which I could not see, though at times, these wrecks could be what lead to the lessons to make up that portfolio of experiences in my life.

While I am thankful for the experiences, knowledge and skills I have learnt along the way, I have also noticed that it is a culture and a norm, in fact, that people are often recognized for their age, skills, experience and talent. The higher the number you name to your age; it seems that it is more likely that people will take you seriously, and I mean in a general sense when it comes to the professional working environment, regardless of gender.
(Funny how the same doesn’t apply to women in the looks department, just saying).

It is perhaps a tradition; a mindset that have been set into practice where age is not just a number when it comes to the professional setting.
Seniority counts.
If you are young, and have less than a certain number of years on the job, you are typically brushed off as inexperienced or just fresh, as they say.
Typically. I say.

Of course there are always exceptions, where exceptionally young people are recognized for their talents despite their lack of experiences which have been overshadowed and discarded when their talents just took over the limelight.

It is not wrong; for it is the way the world or we are all generally engineered to be.
It is definitely not something one can make up in a matter of seconds.
It has a long line of history; from the very beginning of civilization and it is just embedded in the society, that seniority supersedes in terms of credibility and generally, the ranking in the eyes of the public, regardless of the cultural background or the ethnicity.
The early philosophers emphasized on the importance of respecting the elders; in most of the traditions which have been passed on for generations, to create the hierarchy of ranking and respect; even after their demise.

Naturally, age has attained its much recognized value across the society, and perceived with importance in its weight even in professional institutions and workplace.
It is just a norm that it is part of the nature.
No one questions it; and seniority is just set as the benchmark to determine one’s value and their mindset.

At work, promotions and decisions are often handed over to those who are older in the organizations; not in physical age alone, but based on the number of years they have served the company.
It is perfectly normal to practice that, since these people, with their experience and exposure based on their age and years of work, are bound to know what is best for the company.

We have come to an age where modern thinking are slightly more unconventional, though not totally unreasonable.
While the elders are often far more grounded in their thinking based on their exposure, there are times when the younger generation are simply more forward in their judgment.
The world is constantly changing each and every day, and as the world evolves, so does the people and the trends and it just goes without saying, that technology changes at an even faster pace; as though in a blink of an eye.

It is the times that we need to keep up with, and while there are those who are constantly keeping themselves up with the trends and in tune with the new knowledge, there are still those who are adamant on their own beliefs.
While knowledge can be with us for life, literally speaking, there are times when knowledge too can be obsolete.
Knowledge, just like experience, can be rather dynamic at times too, which is the reason why learning is a continuous and never ending process.

There will always be those who refused to believe it, but it is a fact.

Seniority does prevails in most situations, because admittedly, experience does make up most of the credibility.
However, there is one thing that experience may only enrich but not precede, and that is talent.

There are those who are born talented; though not many.
Talent is not something that comes with age; though talent can be nurtured to enhance to be a greater asset for one to possess but fundamentally, talent is more of a gift rather than something one can just work on and make up overnight.
Talent is not the same as skill; as many may have mistaken.
Talent comes with birth; one is born with that talent, and some are just showcasing that talent at a much later stage, but the key is, talent is something one has and cannot be just produced.

Skill however, is something that one can pick up, and learn to be one’s strength along the way.
For instance, saying that one has musical talent and the other is skilled in music means different things.
The person who is talented in music may not have much knowledge in music or even know how to play an instrument, but when exposed to the world of music, can just blend in and even contribute to the creation of new music.
The other who is skilled in music, could spend hours (more than the talented person) harnessing their skills in learning about music and mastering a musical instrument and that makes a skilled musician.
They could put their learning to practice and master it at the highest level.

Skill can be harnessed, and sharpened along the way with constant practice.
Talent, on the other hand, is just there and one just has it.

The drawback is that talent, while left unnoticed or not put to use, could mean nothing as well, while skills; over time, with much attention, could even overtake talent.
It is the way; for one could just have many presents given to him on his birthday, but just kept stowed away in the closet.
He would never know the gadgets which could help make his life easier or that bedside light which could help him to read at night.
He would never know, because he threw all of them into the cupboard and never looked at them.
Compare to someone who had nothing, but searched for the things to make his life easier, and adds to this collection one by one, would slowly, but surely surpasses the other who never even looked at his closet.

There are many who are born with the talent but never put their talent to use, nor enhance/strengthen their talent with additional skills for their benefit.
There are those who are not born with any talent but yet excel in their lives because of their hard work in making their skills work far better than talent.
There are some who are born with talent and become conceited, putting themselves above others for their exceptional talent.

There are just simply too many examples to name about talent and skill, and how many of us could even clouded by the judgment in distinguishing both.
While there are many criteria to determine the value of talent and skill, age should probably be one of the assisting factors though not the deciding factor.

In my years of working, I have often worked with people of varying nationalities, age, position and ethnicities.
In short, the diversity of the environment is most often the landscape of my workplace.

I have seen many talented people; who are just so natural in what they do.
I have seen skilled people; who just keep getting better and never tired of learning and improving themselves.
Some of these are older and more experienced, but there are also those who are young and fresh from school.

Young and talented people are just great assets to the organization, and even the society, though sadly, sometimes they are not truly recognized or rewarded rightfully because of the age factor.
There are times when they are dismissed due to their lack of experience and qualification, where they are then told to acquire more experience for a few years before they are regarded in their importance.
While I understand the lack of experience, but there are times when talent are simply not to be brushed off lightly for it is a pity when a bright star is not allowed to shine.

I have myself been an inexperienced worker; being a fresh graduate.
I dare not say that I have yet to own all the experience in the world, but I do agree that there are times when experience does get the better of us in making certain judgment calls and that calls for exposure to the outside world.
To be able to be exposed to more of the situations and train our skills, does require one to be given that opportunity as well.
How then, when opportunities are denied to the young people, because of their age?

It is kind of a chicken and egg situation as well; where opportunities can be awarded to the young people and yet they may lack in the experience and knowledge to handle it, despite their talent.
However, that should not be a deterring factor for that is where we have the seniors to mentor and guide; the same way as a parent guiding their child in the world.
If every child is denied the opportunity to walk on their own because they have yet to stand properly, with their feet rooted to the ground, how would we all be able to walk on our own today?

I have seen young talents being passed off for promotions despite their great achievements and I do find it a pity when these young people then proceed to leave the company, though I am sure they are bound to find somewhere they are better valued for their talents and skills. It is a loss the company faces and a gain for the other organization where they are soon to contribute too.
Of course, at the same time, there are some of these young people who are just conceited and thought too highly of themselves that they lack in their respect for the elders.
I can understand their reason for their pride, for they have been great and high achievers and can easily lose their heads in the cloud nine they have been taught to tread on for years.
However, there should be humility despite the exceptional talent and respect for the elders and this is where experience could easily quell their arrogance.

It is a two-way situation; where the older generation should always be open to the new people joining their ranks each year and rather than suppressing their desires to perform, they should lead the way and even, give way for them to succeed them.
The young should be mindful of the generation and the hierarchical ranks to display the required respect to those older and more senior than them, despite their excellent achievements and successful backgrounds for the road is still long ahead for them to explore and arrogance and pride can just be their barriers rather than stepping stones.

It is all about understanding the succession; just like the way waves of the ocean work.
Those who come before should always understand that those who come after will be taking over and succeeding their earlier positions eventually.
No one can be immortal; and one should always allow the next generation to have that chance to just have that opportunity.

Age can be a weighing factor, but I always believe in the idea of recognizing the talents among the young and plan one’s succession rather than let fear of being replaced to dominate their minds.

It is only when there is someone to succeed that we can truly grow and then retire with much fulfillment and enrichment, feeling that we have done our part in the cycle of continuity.

To stop others from succeeding by denying them of opportunities out of fear that they will outgrow your position, that is truly the mindset that is obsolete in age and a sure way to stump one's own growth.

 There is never an age to talent; neither is there a talent that will phase out in obsolescence due to age 
- My own quote-

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