Experience Or Enthusiasm?

Done That

Some years back I was in charge overseeing the work of others. The job entailed hiring new recruits and firing old ones. Working recruitment you come to realize the young or new to the job are filled with enthusiasm. Lots of drive, energy, desire, go-do-it attitude.
You see lots of newcomers out of college or uni, with plenty of academic qualifications, but little or no experience. It becomes apparent that all the enthusiasm, all the qualifications, pale by comparison against someone with years of on-the-job, hands-on experience.
For sometime I held the view that given the choice between enthusiasm or experience, I would choose experience. An example, if you had to undergo heart-surgery, would you choose:
  • surgeon fresh out of med-school doing his first procedure
  • wizened done-it-all with 20 years surgical experience
You board a flight heading to another continent. Would you prefer:
  • pilot in his 1st day in the job
  • pilot in his 10th year in the job
Unless you have some kind of unexplored death wish, its a no-brainer. In these instances, you would go with the guy with years of experience under his belt. Better to let the newbie practice and make his mistakes on someone else.
"Experience is the name men give to their mistakes"
-- Oscar Wilde
For some time I held the view that experience was somehow superior to enthusiasm, which it is in many ways. As with so many things in life, nothing is every 100% black or white, there are grey areas between.
In a later job, I began work in a new field, though with some transferable skills from previous work, but I was not fully experienced. There was still a steep learning curve. Some people in the company had worked there years, and thoroughly experienced. I came in with limited experience, but with tons of enthusiasm. Its strange how life holds a mirror up to us at times.
"Experience is something you get after you need it"
-- Unknown
I made a few errors as I learned the ropes and got a handle on the new job. I moved from being a novice, but still nowhere near the experience of my co-workers. I noticed still had tons of enthusiasm, which they lacked. It dawned on me how both were essential in any discipline, whether its work, sport, play.
Its evident in professional sport where, older sportsmen lose their hunger, their desire to win and go through the motions, while still raking in big bucks.
When you lose pride in your work, you have lost your enthusiasm. When you lose enthusiasm, you've lost the fire in your belly, lost your hunger.
People remark: "I have no appetite for it any more".
They mean: "I have lost my enthusiasm, my drive".
Ideally the pairing you want is:

The experience of an old-hand, the enthusiasm of a newbie.