Although a lot of posted job opportunities and openings use the word "energetic," a term that may be assumed to be a code word for "young," young persons at whom they are aimed often find themselves at a disadvantage for these jobs because of their lack of experience.
Why is experience so important? It is probably because along with experience comes the package of general know-how and the instincts we call "good judgment."
Consider this story of good judgment from Malcolm Gladwell's book about brain processes, Blink. His point is that an experienced and erudite brain performs complex and unknowable calculations to reach a sound judgment. Gladwell uses the example of a Greek sculpture that an art dealer offered the Getty Museum for $10 million. The art dealer said the sculpture was a rare piece from the 6th Century B.C.
The statue seemed authentic, its provenance appeared to be legitimate, and its surface stood up to scientific testing. The Getty Museum paid the $10 million. A little later, three respected art experts questioned the statue's authenticity on grounds they could not explain. In their long-cultivated artistic judgment, there was something inauthentic about the statue.
A specially convened group of art experts agreed: Something about the statue did not sit well with their combined knowledge and experience. They could not put their fingers on the precise reason, but their visceral feelings and mental impressions led them to the conclusion that the sculpture was a fake.
In time, the provenance of the statue was proved to be falsified. It was even shown that the scientific testing could have been gamed by a deliberate "aging" of the piece. The most similar sculpture in the world that they could find had been concocted by a forger.
Judgment and experience told the tale.
Five Reasons Why Your Brain Is Getting Better - Harvard Medical School
The Harvard Medical School health publication Why You Should Thank Your Aging Brain provides a possible explanation why older people take longer to learn a task but do better at it than younger, faster learners. The older brain has a harder time letting go of a previous step. This can be an advantage, as it may serve to assure that the previous step was thoroughly learned.
Verbal tennis, anyone? It is often advisable not to get on the court with an older person.
Gladwell, Malcom. Blink. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2005.
Reid, Timothy. Great Fakes #1: The Getty Kouros. The Archaeological Review, May 24, 2008. Available online at: http://thearchaeologicalreview.blogspot.com/2008/05/great-fakes-1-getty-kouros_24.html
Reid, T.R. The Value of Older Workers: Experience Makes them better Problem Solvers, more Reliable. AARP, September 2015, Available online at
Harvard Medical School (April 1, 2015). Why You Should Thank Your Aging Brain. Harvard Women's Health Watch. Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. Available online at: