EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

There was an article I read a long time ago about the value of experience versus the energy of youth. The premise and conclusion were no surprise to me. Experience has a tendency to win out.

While I would gladly concede that Americans have always worshiped youth and that there is inherent prejudice out there about us “well experienced” types, the truth is that in the world of work, only the end product and total amount of “real” work produced is what matters.

Well experienced people produce more in a shorter period of time, generally speaking, than those still “learning on the job.” Intuitively, this should be something that most folks would accept.

In my youth, my father was a general contractor. I learned early on from the masters of the various trades he employed of the value of their vast experience. To build a deck without plans just came naturally to them. There were no multiple trips to the lumber yard. All was easily dimensioned ordered and assembled in short order. It made good business sense to hire these “over qualified” individuals at higher than average hourly rates. They did better work, and faster. Some of them were in their 70’s. All they needed was me, “step and fetch it,” to do the hard labor.

When I was CFO of an advertising agency in the 1980’s, we structured our creative teams with senior level people who were actually working on ads. These “over qualified” and VERY highly paid individuals could go from conversation with the client to the marketing strategy to the tag line without even breathing hard. It was a joy to behold. Creative people make terrible supervisors anyway because they really want to work on ads. So, we had very few junior level people. And, the firm was very profitable as a result.

Which brings me to the purpose of this editorial, which is to encourage all of our members who are by definition “well qualified” to flaunt this competitive advantage.

By having “been there and done that,” you spend less time digging ditches and filling them in again than your inexperienced competitors. You may not have the benefit of youth to enable you to work 80 hour weeks, week after week, but you don’t have to. After a 20+ year career, everything that happens only once a year you have seen 20 times. You therefore fall into fewer traps that require rework.

What your “customers” want to pay for is your wealth of experience. Please tell the uniformed and misinformed career advisors out there to STOP telling you to leave the dates off your graduation from college and to only show your most recent 10 years of employment. Everyone sees through the camouflage anyway.

Rather abide by the slogan: If you’ve got it, flaunt it. And, you have it.

Be proud of all those years of experience. You’ve gotten a lot of scars over the years and to use another trite expression, anything that didn’t kill you has made you stronger and wiser.

Let the world know that you produce more “product” per hour and are actually cheaper. There’s even research to prove it!

Regards, Matt

Comments are closed.