Monday, September 22, 2008

Experience is a dirty word

It is the only thing that you can have too little of or too much of and therefore be practically unemployable. Experience is that great "Catch 22". When you are young it is the greatest barrier to getting a job and when you are my age it is like a brand that marks you as "difficult". It is a slight advantage to the younger artist with no experience because like all artists you can beg and not look bad doing it. "Give me a chance, I will do it for nothing". The magic words to many employers. But when you are very experienced, begging is no longer an option for obvious reasons. One , it looks really bad, is surely more pathetic, and always marks you as untrustworthy. I mean, why is this experienced guy begging, what felony record could he be trying to hide? Is he going to stab me in the back once I hire him and take my job? What kind of "ploy" is this guy trying to pull?

I am now at the latter end of the experience chain, where too much of it is either looked at as a threat to others or that you are out of touch with the "new". That can be true with a lot of artists my age, set in their ways and unwilling to grow. You have to stay up on what is happening and use your "expertise" to make it work better. I have actually begun to use the word, "expertise" or "expert" when describing myself, it is a better word. For one it seems to describe yourself in the present tense, something that the word "experience" cannot do. The word "expert" brings with it confidence and problem solving (all important to experience as well) without any negative baggage or predisposed disagreement. Isn't always the case that when you hear that someone is "experienced", you immediately feel that there might be a problem, that they may use their experience as a weapon. Many "experienced" people are pains in the ass, look at your parents, they always want to trump you with their experience (like yours doesn't count). The word "experience" itself, especially in my shoes, has a tendency to give the audience an idea that there is a long list of old ideas, old stories, and emotional baggage that trails behind me like an anchor. So I am now an "expert" at what I do. Wow, that sounds better all ready. Screw the word "experience".

1 comment:

Auston said...

I'll remember this for a long time, Gav... because it's so true, it's not even funny.

At the moment, all I've got is time on my side.
In a moment, it'll be against me.