Motion: THB that elder employees should pass on their (so-called) ”silent knowledge”
Role: Chair (opp.)
Date: June 3rd, 2013
The Problems in Passing on Silent Knowledge
Every now and then some well-meaning ”idiot” comes forward with the argument that different ages (have to) mix at work, so that the accumulated wisdom that earlier generations have acquired can be passed on to the younger ones. This is BS, and I’m going to prove to you why.
What little wisdom the elders may have, they do not want to pass on. They guard it like hawks, for if there was a problem of the let’s-sack-and-get-rid-of-somebody kind in the workplace, they would like to stash their knowledge as a way of setting themselves up for protection against the assets of the young. The latters’ assets are a more up-to-date education and strength in bearing stress and getting (new) things done. Senior employees have to have something of their own, and its is exactly this concealed, a posteriori experience. They think that they do not want to divulge it, lest they be kicked out in the very next breath. It’s a safeguard. (They may tell what they know about two weeks prior to their retirement.)
Also, there is resistance at the receiving end. Some young people are so cocksure of themselves (in particular the boys) that they do not ”want to know”. They think that they already know best, and #uc# the rest, which time will test. Young people are not naturally attentive, alert, curious, compassionate, interested or nostalgic, something a successful transfer of silent knowledge would most likely require. They expect to gain something from merely listening out. It’s only in one’s late thirties that these kinds of qualities begin to emerge without the requirement of an immediate payback. Namely, ”gold-diggers” want nuggets of wisdom rather right now, but ”life-time prospectors” are happy just to do the rounds on the river and breath in the fresh morning air and relish the beauty of it all.
The third problem is aging and getting too weak, in the end. In a nutshell, when workers are still sharp enough to give information, they are sly enough not to give it away for free (see §1, or 2nd paragraph). When their inhibitions loosen up later on in retirement and on pension, it often so happens that @ that point they would already be so ravaged by Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, memory loss, sedatives and sleeping pills that they no longer can relate or relay anything of significance or interest to the young listener. Nursing homes and kindred places are filled with mindless chatter, out-of-date gossip, bad reminiscence, weather talk or anything else that does not interest one, frankly speaking.
In conclusion, do not hold up the card of ”pass on silent knowledge”. That has not happened on a large scale ever, and that won’t happen either in the future, or in the present. It seems that each generation have to take to their grave what they learnt during life. Deal with it. Cope with it. Be aware of it. Thank you.
Puheen kesto: 4 min 40 sek
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