Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Q7) "doing stuff " at work or "learning"? A longer post, just for @LnDDave.

When I read this question (which I mean to answer last week), I was reminded of an interview I had after getting out of my college Graphics Program about a million and a half years ago - long before I considered my part-time training work to be anything other than just that.

When the rather terse interviewer asked me what I expected out of the job, one of the things I said was that I wanted an opportunity to learn something.  His response was something along the lines of "oh, you're not here to learn. You should know everything you need already to get started."

Needless to say, I didn't get the job...and thank heavens for that.

With respect to Clive's statement, I (sorta) disagree, but let me first talk about the leaders.

In a number of environments, including some that should know better, there is a "culture of execution" among Sr. Management, and very little consideration given to what I now know is "informal learning", or even continuing education.  What I find ironic is that if something goes wrong and someone gets hauled on the carpet, invariably one of the questions that gets asked is "well, what did you learn from this?"  I worked as a promoted-from-within Manager for a national technical training provider and I had to fight an uphill battle to get management to realize that their trainers needed time to prep for new courses as well as improve existing parts of their repertoire. It took me quite some time to get them to lower the "utilization" metric (meaning, days in the classroom) so that the trainers weren't being forced to prep entirely on their own time.

So, I see a bit of a divide between the knowledge worker and the manager in that the knowledge worker will often be forced through circumstance to "learn" in order to "do stuff", and is frequently left to their own, likely inefficient, devices.

For me, I know that I used to go to work to 'do stuff' and gave very little consideration to the learning involved, but as I've become more aware as a learner, I am trying to be more conscious of the things I learn along the way of 'doing stuff', even the painful or frustrating things. 

So, I disagree with the statement because I'm not convinced that 'doing' and 'learning' should be two separate things.

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