I pledge to support alternative methods of education and teach the emotional skills that are essential to the success of any knowledge skill. But what does all that mean and why is it important for you?
One of the biggest pain points in my life was trying to get a job after finishing university in 2010. I had trusted the system. I was taught: “You do well in school, you get entrance into a good degree. You complete the degree and it is enough to get you a good job.”
I did all of those things – I didn’t finish with honours but I did finish. I studied abroad and did an internship and all the things you’re supposed to do to stand out. Yet it wasn’t enough when faced with the real world in a downturned economy. After 6 months of failed job interviews left me feeling beaten and hopeless, I gave up and turned to an entry level position in retail. My degree meant nothing anymore. It was just a very expensive piece of paper.
For years I ignored this pain. I mentioned my degree in job interviews as a demonstration of how I had completed something but I didn’t pursue design anymore. After just 6 months, I felt my degree and portfolio had expired and I didn’t know how to reignite them.
Instead, I worked and developed other skills. I learned how to sell, I learned how to serve. I travelled and worked in a few different jobs. Slowly, through little wins, I started performing well in my job as a banker. I resigned myself to the fact that I am not creative but I am pretty good at math and I was helping people. As a Home Lender, I felt important, impactful and I was able to pay off my debts, travel and start a family.
After my daughter was born, I took a maternity leave year. This space allowed me to separate my worth from my job. It prompted me to think about my daughter, what she might hope and dream and how I might be an example for her. I was forced to dust off that old scar, hold it up to the light and acknowledge the pain. I never wanted her to feel that way.
I realised that I never stopped learning, I just stopped going to school. My degree taught me facets of design and aesthetics but it didn’t teach me how to sell or recognise what people want. My design didn’t have a voice because I didn’t have any experience.
I realise now that degrees on their own, theory knowledge, isn’t enough. Education is applying knowledge through experience – real interactions in the world. Education is never complete. There is no certificate, no end, only a continual search for mastery.
Out of this deep pain, my passion was born. My design now has a voice because I have something to say: school is one thing – education is another.
The old paradigm of education has to change. Cookie cutter university courses that pump out inexperienced graduates with certificates isn’t enough anymore. We should be able to
- Embrace learning through a series of mini courses tailorable to complement our work
- Emphasis experience and mentorship
- Choose to learn from people we like and connect with (our teachers can be masters but they can also be only a little further along the journey showing us it’s possible).
We should learn how to communicate value, how to engage clients, patients and students as partners in the process and how to sell our ideas.
The learning should never stop. It should be encouraged. It should be affordable enough to be continuous.
Everyone should teach or mentor at some point.
The internet allows us this sort of learning. It connects people like never before. But it hasn’t yet earned the status of the brick and mortar University, the Ivy Leagues.
And so again, I pledge to support alternative methods of education and teach the emotional skills that are essential to the success of any knowledge skill.
I am going to be running a series of experiments and sharing them through this website over the coming months as I launch my own business.
These experiments will create opportunities to learn emotional intelligence skills like how to:
- communicate, engage and sell the value of your work,
- plan for your time,
- set achievable goals,
- bring people on board,
- overcome fear and resistance,
- motivate yourself and others; and
- build community.
I will deepen my own learning of these topics throughout these experiments too.
Thanks for joining me.