I hate learning and you should too

Hey friend,

We gotta talk about why I hate learning.

My love, there are a lot of confusing hiccups on the path becoming a "grown up" employee. Heck, there a lot of confusing things about being one kind of "grown up" employee and trying to become another. It's like the Wild F*cking West out there.

And this learning thing? This is where a lot of us keep getting tripped up.

It's not entirely your fault. Really, it's because the way we've been taught to learn our entire lives--through school, through sports, through samba classes, whatever--simply doesn't apply very well to most workplaces.

But that's what you keep saying on your cover letters, isn't it? You keep using that phrase. The one I hate. The one that isn't helping.

You say:

"I'm so excited to learn about this industry!"

And what employers hear is:

"I don't know how to do this job. I'm going to require a lot of training. You're gonna need to tell me what to do for a long time, and I'll try to catch on as fast as I can."

A bit harsh? Stick with me here...

See, the way most of us are taught to learn in school is a style of knowledge-by-mimicry. It's great for the classroom. It teaches us to be humble (we don't know anything yet!), it teaches us to ask for help from elders (the teacher will know how!), it's a way for our brain to make new connections (yay learning!).

But in the workplace, that just ain't gonna cut it. 

As I've said time and time again, there are only two ways to be good at your job. You're either saving somebody some time or you're making somebody some money. That's it. Just two ways.

You're not getting paid to learn. You're not getting paid to do homework. Your boss is not your teacher. They will hopefully be an incredible mentor to you, but they are not there to teach you. I can talk more about this nuance at a later date.

Being good at your job isn't about learning. It's more about constantly planning and executing again and again in the on-going attempt to (everybody together now!) save somebody some time or make somebody some money.

This process looks less like completing a homework assignment and a lot more like the process of submitting a proposal for your final Bachelor's thesis. You know, like...

Write a one-paragraph proposal on your proposed topic. Check.

Submit an outline for your whole argument. Check.

Write a first draft. Check.

Write a second draft. Check.

Write the final draft and submit. Check.

Rewrite the final draft to move up a letter grade. Check.

Rinse, repeat.

Can you see the pattern here? In this process listed above, you're doing all the work. You're learning, yes, but not by watching and miming. You don't need a lot of somebody else's time. You're learning by iterating and executing, while also producing something of value.

There's might be an assignment... but the rest is kinda up to you.

Too many of you are sitting out there waiting for someone to teach you how to do your dream job. Waiting for someone to hire you to learn.

And to that, I say:

It's time to put on your big kid pants, . This is your Bachelor's thesis, not the third grade. No one needs a learner. Everyone needs someone who knows how to get shit done.

So go, figure out how you can help somebody get shit done. There are no rules. Just make money. Save time. Rinse. Repeat.

Talk about that in your next interview.

Big love,