Here’s to Not Knowing the Ropes
First off, you need to know how hard it was not to type “Knot knowing the Ropes,” but I managed to resist at least for a few seconds.
Inexperience, like a bad pun, is undervalued.
By that, I don’t mean ignorance of one’s field, or bring unprepared, but being free of the self-imposed limits can easily come with working in a field for a period of time. Our new and (in the best sense) inexperienced colleagues are often a great source of new ideas and creative solutions. And this creativity is often born of not knowing the “best practices” or the traditions of our lines of work.
A GIA board member once advised me in the midst of a difficult hiring decision. “ Go ahead and take a chance on the younger applicant. Sometimes people can walk through walls because they don’t know they are there.” The image has stuck with me for years. Walk through walls because they didn’t know they were there. How often did I not pursue a line of a creative solution because of a barrier that I perceived to be a barrier? How often did I assume something was impossible based on what someone more experienced had told me? How often was that later proved to be wrong.
There are areas, like IRS regulations for example, where knowing the ropes can be very important. There are others, like program development, planning, creative endeavors, etc., where we need to make sure we give emerging practitioners enough latitude to shine.