Here’s a story I picked up many years ago, but don’t know from where.
Bill was sure he was a shoe in to get the promotion. Bill’s boss, Sofia had made an announcement earlier in the week informing everyone that the company would be expanding and, therefore, a new management position would soon be created for someone in the department. Bill thought about his colleagues and dismissed them one by one as potential candidates. There was perhaps only one person, Tom, who posed any kind of threat to Bill’s promotion.
On Friday, Sofia gathered the crew together and announced that it was Tom who would be getting the promotion. Bill was furious. After Sofia went back to her office, he marched after her. Slamming her door he began, “How in the world could you promote Tom over me?” I’ve been with this firm for 10 years; ten good years of experience! Tom has only been here five years. It’s a simple equation. Ten years is twice as much experience as five years. I should get this promotion, not Tom!”
Sofia responded. “Bill you are right with regard to the amount of time each of you has worked here, but I’m afraid you are dead wrong when it comes to the question of experience. You see, in the five years that Tom has been here he has constantly learned new skills, built and continued to grow a substantial network and developed the talents necessary to meet the ever changing demands of his job. Tom has five very good years of experience! You, on the other hand, spent your first year adequately learning what you needed to get by. You built a good network and developed numerous talents. Unfortunately, in the years since, I’ve seen very little growth. Bill, you don’t have 10 years of experience you only have one year of experience, 10 times.”
Experience isn’t simply a product time, but of focused effort in the time we’ve been given.