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Experience Required | Joe McGonigal

Experience Required

“Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience.”
― George Bernard Shaw

People often talk about the many advantages of having extensive or vast experience, whether in work or life. As it relates to career opportunities, you tend to be judged on the years of experience you have in specific or related fields.

The thought process is those with more experience are probably more valuable. They have been through the learning curve, trained on someone else’s dime, and are more prepared to navigate through the difficult decisions ahead. They understand the market, the industry. They understand the challenges, opportunities, and the contacts…..oh the contacts!

It’s hard to argue against the value of relevant experience. It certainly carries weight, but at what point do the years begin to work against you?

I had lunch with someone in my industry who has more than 3 times the experience I do, and I was amazed at how differently we perceived the opportunity and challenges in front of us. He saw very few opportunities and had a very narrow view of the future. He was a scarcity thinker – the business has changed, it’s not the way it used to be. We’re all going to starve!

He chalked this “knowledge” up to his tenure in the field.

So it begs the question, can experience act like a fog and slowly begin to “cloud” our true potential, the real opportunities in front of us? Does is make us less willing to take the necessary (albeit calculated) risks in order to achieve success? Maybe the secret is strategically surrounding your experience with people with fresh ideas?

What’s been your experience?

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2 Responses to “Experience Required”

  1. ace bottone October 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    At 50 I don’t feel old but some may say I am, I have learned that as I get older I look at things much more differently then I used to. As you go down the same path over the years sometimes you over look the things you used to take notice of. but on the other side of that I try and take a new route more often to try and stay ahead of this game that is constently changing. I do think sometimes exsperience can act like a fog, but I also see some of the younger guys and gals running around in circles trying to get things done that I can do in minutes. I also see the lack of work ethic or the willingness to go over and above lacking with the younger kids. I see older folks trying to stay current and get with the tec age but I don’t always see the younger kids learning where it first came from or how we got to where we are today.
    If you can try and put yourself in you friends shoes and see what they have gone through over the years and how you have to work with incompotent co workers who you depend on them to do there job so you can do yours I guess you can become bitter also.

  2. jmcgonigal October 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm #

    Ace, Good point and I agree with it. I am not discounting the value of experience and how younger people can learn from those that have come before them. I am suggesting that it seems for some, “their experience” becomes a badge of honor they wear that can inhibit new growth.

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