Home > Ideas and Philosophy > Experience: The Advantage is Confidence

Experience: The Advantage is Confidence

Some months ago, I was with a few colleagues for a quick snack in one of the many food courts near the office.  One from the group was a new hire to the company.  I remarked that when I was a new hire many years ago, never would I have imagined that the time would come when my generation would be the one running the company.  It seemed like only yesterday when my group was so young and didn’t know any better.  However I also mentioned that, years later, although my generation was now in charge (at least the very few of us who were still here), it didn’t necessarily mean that we already knew everything there was to know and actually knew any better now.  The truth is there are still many things we didn’t know.

You can either hire a fresh college graduate or get someone with 15 years’ experience in the industry to fill-in a leadership role, and in a manner of speaking both candidates are starting from scratch with respect to the role.  Both will have to learn something new, because both don’t know everything there is to know yet with the role.  If it’s all the same, then it seems like you might as well hire the fresh graduate because he won’t be in a position to bargain and dictate his price since he’s just starting, though you will need to train him more than the experienced professional.  Compare this to the experienced professional who, at this point in his career, has a fair idea of what his skills are worth, and so will be in a position to name his price – unless he’s desperate for the job, or something.  But again, we’re coming from the context that he still doesn’t know everything there is to know about the role, and so you’ll still need to train him somewhat, and this makes him more expensive overall than the fresh graduate.

Obviously, it’s not as simple as that.

The advantage of someone with experience is the sense of confidence he brings to the role.  He knows that he can handle it even if he still needs to learn a lot about it.  This person has managed to get this far in his career; he can manage taking on this new work despite the unknowns.  He would not have survived this long in the industry if wasn’t capable of managing and adapting to what’s needed.  A fresh graduate might be confident and what-not, but he won’t have the same level of confidence as the experienced professional who has “seen it all” and then some, and then will now see even more of something new.

Experience is the premium you pay for to get someone to handle tasks that require deeper skills to perform and / or the leadership and political will to get things done.  Experience, and the advantage of confidence that it brings along, is worth it.

Categories: Ideas and Philosophy

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