At 25, I am the youngest person on the Red Hat design team. I graduated from East Carolina University in 2013—I make my boss cringe at my youth at least once a month. So, I’m the newbie of the team. I’m a rookie and I love it, because being a rookie comes with many benefits:
1. Fresh perspective (wide-eyed and bushy-tailed)
– The most obvious advantage to being a rookie is the clean slate we bring with us. For example, I have trouble setting up my router and modem yet I work at a technology company. While that could be seen as a negative thing, my own positive attributes give something new and different. Rookies are empty pages of a book just waiting to be filled. Without a ton of experience, knowledge, or preconceptions, a newbie can occupy an open-minded zone where innovation lives. They are not yet bogged down In the depths of a thousand projects (yet!) and can easily identify what works and what doesn’t.
2. Your excitement is welcomed (but don’t get crazy)
– Rookies energize others with their contagious drive and passion. If you’re eager to learn, other people will take notice. And as a bonus for the rest of the team,they get to brush up on their skills while they train you! Remember though: While enthusiasm is welcomed, it’s important not to go overboard. Overachievers can get a little annoying.
3. You’re allowed to ask all the questions (good or bad)
– Have you ever heard the phrase, “There are no stupid questions”? Of course you have. And that wasn’t one. If your team or company believes in this motto then don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s understood that you’re not experienced enough to know how it’s always been done. You’re gonna get things wrong and you’re gonna mess up, but if you ask questions you have a better chance of getting it done right the first time, rather than having to go back and fix it just because you were afraid to bother someone.
4. You’re not alone (anyone could be a rookie)
– I believe it was the soulful R&B singer Aaliyah who sang, “Age ain’t nothing but a number.” I may be the youngest, but there are rookies all around me at every age. I am lucky enough to be a part of an amazing creative team, where I’m constantly reminded that just because my coworkers are older or more seasoned in certain areas doesn’t mean they know everything about everything. Anyone can be a rookie at anytime of their life and still have value and insight.
5. Happy accidents (having a fresh perspective and asking stupid questions can make a big difference)
– A small idea can turn into something huge. Here’s a brief history lesson: Richard Stallman developed the GNU project in 1983 because he didn’t agree with the way standard software companies worked at the time. Years later, Linus Torvalds picked up this idea and created the Linux kernel. Thinking differently, raising your hand and sharing ideas results in better outcomes. This is one example of the power behind a shared idea.
So, lets get out there rookies, one mistake and fumbled misstep at a time!