It doesn't matter what vocation you are in, what hobbies you partake in, what sports you play, or what interests you are involved in, you will always face in some way OLD vs NEW. I've faced it on both ends of the spectrum, and as I lay in bed the other evening it came to mind to write out my thoughts about this concept.
always be new people joining into whatever it is you are doing, who we
will call "newbies". And there will always be old people who have been
doing their thing for quite some time now, who we'll call "veterans".
This has nothing to do with age, you can be an 80 year old newbie, or a
22 year old veteran in many cases.
Just to make this clear what I'm talking about, here are some examples:
Photographers! You'll always have people who are just starting out
learning the ropes, and you'll always have people who've been taking
photos for decades.
Musicians! You'll always have some new band, new singer, new artist
making their way up the ladder, and you'll always have tried and true
musicians who know the scene and have been doing it 'forever'.
Volunteers! No matter where you volunteer, or if you are a docent or
not, you'll always have the fresh and green volunteers, and those that
have been there 5, 10, even 20 years.
Another Example: Writers! You gotta start somewhere, and then you've got those who know the ropes and write in their sleep.
Gamers! Yes, even gamers start out as 'newbs', and then you've got
those that are veteran gamers that can pick up a game in the first few
Hopefully now you understand what I mean
by the OLD vs the NEW. You can't get away from it, and no matter what
you do or who you are, you will always start out as a newbie in
something, and eventually you'll be a veteran in something (or many
So, how do you act as a newbie, and as a
veteran - regardless of what you are a newbie or veteran of? This is
what I want to talk about. Too many times I've seen newbies come into
something and attempt to change how everything is done. They do not show
respect for those who've put hard work, time and effort and insist that
change is absolutely necessary and even judge veterans for being
'behind the times' if they refuse to change. Or on the other hand, I've
seen newbies come into a venture excited and a veteran crush their
dreams, ignore them, or even judge them against standards they could
I'm going to use photography as a
basis for this, because it's something I'm involved in, but you can
substitute anything. In my very newbie days, I've had veteran
photographers who out of competition, or perhaps just sheer meanness
because they like to put down the newbies come to me and question me
intensely about everything I was doing on my camera technical wise. I
was nearly in tears in one case, because I could not answer the
questions quick enough and did not even know what he was talking about
in some cases. He was trying to trip me up, in order to perhaps make
himself look like a professional, and myself look like the hobbyist who
had no idea how to use her camera properly. I can imagine the scenario
playing out differently, if the person had asked me if I was having any
problems with anything and I could have said "Sure, I'm having an issue
with lighting.." and then a conversation starting where I could soak up
their knowledge instead of being judged for not having it.
is much to be learned from veterans, if they will share. And sometimes
newbie enthusiasm can light a fire in a veteran that they haven't had
NEWBIE - Here's some tips on being a gracious newbie.
1. Remember, you don't know everything. No one likes know-it-alls. Books don't teach everything.
2. The 'new' way isn't always the 'best' way, be open to tried and true ideas.
3. Don't immediately join up and try to change how everything is done.
4. Be respectful to those who have been involved longer than you, even if you do not agree with how things are done.
Seek out veteran mentors to teach you, it doesn't have to be a serious
or time consuming thing. Meet a veteran? A simple question (even if you
think you know the answer) opens the door to information sharing. Ask a
veteran how they'd do something, and listen. Ask a veteran how to solve a
common problem, you might learn a new trick. Use the vast knowledge out
there that isn't in books, but in people.
VETERAN - Here's some tips on being an understanding veteran.
Do not pass judgement so quickly on the newbies. Stop your mind, and
your mouth, before you judge someone new to your vocation, hobby,
2. The 'old' way isn't always the 'best' way,
so be open to new ideas. After all, if we did not have new and
innovative ideas we'd still be riding around in a horse and carriage.
Realize that newbies are usually very excited about their new venture,
and that is impetus for them to learn and experience. Don't be grumpy
about their eagerness, don't snuff out their light.
some leeway for learning, a learning curve, to newbies. They may not
know the ins and outs of everything, so before you judge, remember you
started out as a newbie at some point too and experience takes time.
5. Do not ever fall into the trap of thinking you know everything. You can always learn more. Learn until you die.
6. Use this opportunity to train instead of judge, mentor a newbie and let your spirit and knowledge live on!
will always be know-it-all newbies, and crotchety veterans but if even
one newbie gave an ounce of respect to a veteran, or one veteran opens
up to a newbie and gifts them with information then I'd be quite happy
because there will always be the old, there will always be the new and
there is no reason for any of us to be ashamed or debased for being new
to something, or for veterans to be disrespected for being out of touch.