Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

The Veteran Rookie Mindset

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Renee’ and I are watching “The Rookie” - a new TV show starring Nathan Fillion. I didn’t expect to like it. But I do.

The premise is a guy joins the police force in mid-life, along with a crew of millennials. Of course, he’s a rookie. But he’s not a rookie.

He faces the steep learning curve of being a beat cop.

At the same time, he brings emotional maturity to the table. Something his younger colleagues are not so well versed in. A rookie at work, a veteran at life. It makes for interesting and relatable tension.


I’ve had to be a rookie at least once every decade of my working life thus far.

20’s - Everyone’s a rookie

30’s - Rookie Pastor

40’s - Rookie cross-cultural development

50’s - Rookie personal developer and consultant

A veteran at life. A rookie on the job.

Here’s the mindset necessary to make it:

  • I have a lot to learn
  • I am not the smartest person here or the most experienced person here (even if I’m the oldest.)
  • I can always get better.
  • As a rookie with experience in other areas, it’s possible to leverage that experience to somewhat lighten the learning curve.
  • Don’t think too highly of your experience. Remember, you’re an intern again.
  • I provide emotional maturity and stability to my colleagues if I choose to walk in it.
  • I don’t have anything to prove.
  • I’m not competing with anyone.
  • I bring more wisdom to the room than I think.
  • People much younger than me bring more wisdom to the room than I think
  • Own mistakes and their consequences. Embrace them as learning opportunities.
  • Don’t make excuses.
  • Don’t step into the whirlwind and drama that tends to attract folks younger than you.
  • Act appropriately to my age
  • Don’t be a judgemental glass of sour milk.
  • Be teachable - especially when it comes to technology, new skills, policies, etc.

The rookie veteran mindset is important.

You’ll be embracing it if you plan to grow.