I Respect Your Years of Experience, But I Won't Kowtow to It

Chris Peterson

  • OnStage Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Have you ever been in a debate or argument with someone when out of nowhere they blurt out, "Well I have 30 years of experience in the field, so obviously I'm right!" or something to that effect?

It's infuriating right?

In the theatre world, we hear this quite often. Whether it's talking about direction, acting, design, stage managing, there are many out there who feel stating their experience somehow proves them right and disqualifies your own knowledge on the subject.  I just had one recently with a "former Broadway actor" who felt that because I had never been in a Broadway show, that somehow disqualified me from having an opinion about Broadway shows. 

But here's the thing, I couldn't  care less about how many years you've been treading the boards, if you're wrong, you're wrong.

Having more years of experience doesn't make your opinion on Sondheim more insightful than mine.  Having more years of experience doesn't make your scenic design brilliant.  Having more years of experience doesn't mean you can manage a show better than someone with less. It simply means you're older than I am. And if you're wrong, you've been doing it wrong for a long time.

So to all the people who have used their many years of experience to help others along the way, you've got my respect. But if you feel telling someone they're wrong simply because you have more years of experience, you're never going to earn my respect. 

Photo: "WonderLust"