Why It’s Good to Be Green (From a Professional Perspective)

I recently told you about Dr. James Andrews – the formidable orthopaedic surgeon who’s treated all the “greats” – Drew Brees, Charles Barkley, Emmitt Smith – the list goes on and on.


Not only is Andrews a renowned physician, but he imparts some great wisdom for physicians and non-physicians alike. One of my favorites: “If you’re green, you’re growing – and if you’re ripe, you’re next to rotten.”


He reminds us it’s not only OK to be a “newbie” just starting out (and we all have to start somewhere) but your new-ness can actually be an asset and help you to flourish. Why?


Though you may not have all the technical aspects of the job down that come with years of experience, what you do have in your corner when you’re “green” is an abundance of desire and hunger to learn. Don’t underestimate that.


By the same token, that colleague who could probably do his job in his sleep, thanks to all the years of experience under his (or her) belt, may be “next to rotten.” This doesn’t mean he is a bad person at all. But it does mean that he may be stagnant and jaded about the profession or industry. This person who appears to have it all, whose job seems come so easy, may have stopped growing a long time ago. The fire is gone. They’re just going through the day-to-day motions of the duties that come with the job.


It’s drudgery.


As they gained experience, they shed their enthusiasm and energy for their career. No longer was it a matter of performing on the job on a day-to-day basis, but a matter of protecting what they felt they had earned. They stopped growing and improving a long time ago.


You are never too old to learn, and you are never so experienced that there is absolutely nothing to learn. That said, curiosity, the desire to grow and develop professionally and personally, is an invaluable quality. Ask probing questions. At every opportunity, reach out and stay abreast of the latest and greatest. The are new technologies, mandates, developments and best practices that are consistently changing the face of every industry – especially healthcare.


How can you be successful if you stand still in such an ever-evolving environment?


Continue to feed the enthusiasm that you felt the first day you started in your career or on the job by gathering new knowledge. That way you won’t just wither on the vine – being physically present in your job year in and year out, but contributing very little to your organization’s today or future.


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