Soapbox: publisher's perspective |

Education. The Beginning and the End

Soapbox: Publisher's Perspective | 1 May 2019

It used to be thought that you learned everything at school. Building blocks and alphabet in kindergarten, English, Math, History and Geography in primary school, then into the languages, the differentiation, the coding at secondary, then unless you went to university, that was it. You were educated – for life.

Then it became “mandatory” to go to university, almost a disgrace if you didn’t. A degree was a pre-requisite for a CV, than it became a Masters or post – grad degree. Now? Well, it seems that an internship at Google, Amazon, Microsoft… etc is more valuable than anything. If you can get one… but wait... does that require a Masters or even a Phd?!

But going to university doesn’t guarantee getting a job. That’s a whole other struggle, with, guess what, more jobs in the lower end (non-degree) categories than at the top end. So where does that leave us? Well, first of all, don’t despair. Getting a high salaried job doesn’t mean the job is satisfying and meaningful. Secondly the pressures of some of these jobs (eg New York Lawyer!) are not worth the reward. Third, the challenge is to match your skills and your desires with a job description and that simply is very hard to do at any level.

But back to education.

Thanks to the internet and the digitalisation of so much knowledge, you can research almost anything on a laptop, so your education need not stop when you leave school or university. You can continue, focused on your own passions, for the rest of your life – and you should!

Education is not about being taught things by teachers and professors. It’s about learning new areas of knowledge and skill yourself. So don’t despair if that place at Harvard Business School is out of reach, get on the internet and expand your knowledge every day. If that knowledge enhances your performance at work it will not be long until that is recognised. And even if it’s not, your confidence in every aspect of life and your relationship with other people will be enhanced.

Many people are choosing to work in social enterprises these days, to help the poor, to protect the environment, to invent new ways of doing things better. They don’t necessarily need a Master’s degree, just smart dedicated people who learn on the job. And these careers give great satisfaction. But whatever you do, don’t stop learning.

As Alexander Pope said: “A little learning is a dangerous thing Drink deep or taste not the Pierien spring. There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again,” - (An Essay on Criticism 1709).