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Friday
Aug272010

Age and change

Old age and treachery will always overcome youth and skill. Willie and Waylon

Thanks to my friend John Pederson, I got a chance to hear Seth Godin in person yesterday morning in Minneapolis. A lively, well-presented delivery with an excellent Q&A, Godin didn't cover much new ground for those of us who are regular readers of his blog, but he did remind me about the need for innovation and change. As "artists" he says, we need to always be taking risks. Those who don't fail often should be fired.

In yesterday's post Senior Management, Seth Godin writes:

One thing that happens to management when they get senior is that they get stuck. ([It] isn't about old, it's about how long you've been there).

If you've been doing it forever, you discover (but may not realize) that the things that got you this power are no longer dependable.

Reliance on the tried and true can backfire.

This one struck a little nerve with me.

While I am probably not as old as many of you think, I am constantly running into peers who are the age of my daughter (and younger). I am in constant check for "hardening of the opinions." I am starting my 20th year in my current position (I rose to my level of incompetence early and stayed there) and I've been in education since 1976. You do the math.

And a guy has to wonder if a younger, more exited, less cyncial skeptical experienced person running the tech department might make a bigger difference in students lives. 'Where could we be by now?" I ask myself.

I am gobsmacked by some of the up-and-coming powerful voices in ed tech and libraries. I won't list them because I will leave somebody out - you know who you are. The ideas, enthusiasm, impatience and even anger is moving and exciting. They will cause change to happen.

<- Me in about 5 years.

What Godin and the young turks don't realize, however, this that we geezers have at least one small advantage - some of us would sort of like to get fired - or at least be encouraged to retire with a nice severance deal. That means we are happy to take some chances.

And maybe we have a little better idea of what chances are worth taking ...

Oh, Godin didn't look like any spring chicken himself.

 

 

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Reader Comments (4)

Doug:
Have you seen this: Who are the thought leaders in educational leadership: http://edinsanity.com/2010/07/30/thoughtleaders/ ?
I think you and Gary Hartzell need to compile a similar article re school library leadership!

August 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteralice yucht

Hi Alice,

I'd be afraid to put one together alone since I'd leave people out! I wonder if this would be a good project though for something like the SIGMS or the T-L Ning? Would you contribute?

Good to hear from you. You'd be on MY list!

Doug

August 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Doug,
It is true that the longer I teach the more I feel free to take risks on behalf of my students. The closer I get to retirement, the less I worry about pleasing the powers that be. I guess confidence comes with old age and experience- been there done that and now for something different that may work better to the benefit of my students. It is after all, all about my students.

August 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElona

Hi Elona,

Here's a cynical thought - do you suppose this is why early retirement was invented? ;-)

Doug

August 31, 2010 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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