Monday, May 13, 2013

College Graduates need un-learning to become employees!

I always remember when I met my CEO and said "Sir, I've been putting in my hundred percent, but all I get in evaluation is zilch!"

That's when he said "Werner, there are three kinds of kids in school:
1. Those who get the highest rank
2. Those who get medium ranking
and 3. Those who get zilch, i.e. lowest rank.

The reasons are:
1. Those who get the highest marks, are completely focussed on what is within the syllabus, what are the main questions being asked and what is the best way to answer them. Hence, bingo! First in Class.
2. Those who get medium ranking, are stuck in between, with a little distraction thrown in, hence they try to focus, pick up a few things, then get distracted by other more interesting pursuits.

However 3. Those who get zilch, are extremely focussed in what they do, however, the direction they're focussed in, is the exact opposite (180 degree phase shift) from where the syllabus and the content on which they were going to get ranked on, is."

And that, in a gist, is why the education system in any form, is great for creating sheep, but terrible for creating great people to work with/for/around.

I consistently got the lowest marks and used to constantly fail in subjects, despite being considered bright in school and college.

Schools never have space for people who are multi-disciplined. They use a definition of all-rounder, but they actually mean "One who scores high in every sport and every subject".

Why can't someone, just enjoy a few subjects and a few sports, rather than all of them.

Hence the irony of being with the smartest kids in school and college, but the back seaters and perceived drop outs, being my friends too because we'd be sitting together repeating exams together.

In engineering college, after being angry that I scored so low, that we had to pay extra tution fees for the 'paid' seats, I started going one hour every day to the reading room, to study my hardest.

That only helped me getting a reputation as a "guy who hides to smoke", since I actually still failed in a maths subject. That's when I knew, that studying was just not for me, and I had to find other ways of passing my time in college.

That's when public speaking came my way, something which brought me into a different kind of cool, the cool of being a performer, where the laughter and the tears of an audience were my only benchmarks, where laughter was the highest rank achievable and stone cold silence the lowest.

That then graduated to theatre, where theatre taught me a lot more about MBA, than MBA ever did.

Once again, all my peers, wallowing in their depression about whether they would get summer placements or final placements. And me, wondering when I could escape this rat race and enjoy the wonderful solace and embrace of theatre rehearsals, where people were who they were and you slowly figured out who you were.

Theatre teaches you to focus on the end product, to think and visualise about what the final outcome would feel like.

College is about slinking in and achieving diplomacy through constant sucking up to teachers and students who would willingly bend over to let you climb up over their shoulders and then bite off their heads.

The overall impression is that of a fiefdom, where the lord be thy teacher and thee dwell below the radar to risk invoking the wrath of thy lord and losing thy priviledges.

Corporate life, on the other hand, globally, is more about learning the ropes, and identifying thy role, thy position, in the overall scheme of things.

Just because you may be low on experience, doesn't render thee incapable of training 5 year seniors, as long as you learn to show humility and then watch them then dance to yours.

Business, is about slowly growing your own garden and then ruthlessly trimming what needs to be removed, for the overall health of the garden. It's more intuitive, hence it must be played by ear and the ear must listen constantly.

Hence, the missing skills of a college graduate:
1. Humility and dignity of labour - No job is too menial, no salary too light, for the ambition so bright. Just because you started work as a waiter or a door-to-door salesman, means not, that you could be running your own company or be the head of an even bigger one. The more skills learnt over time, the more ready the graduate is ready for corporate life.
2. Confidence - No senior, no manager, is more experienced in your opinion, than you. Asking a question will always seem silly, but the resounding knowledge will make your confidence in your subject rock solid. Everyone has something to teach, and something to learn. Communication must always go both ways.
3. Jugaad - In college, you're always taught to compete with everyone around so that you get the highest rank possible. In life, the network of people you have, the ability to jugaad with everyone, defines whether you'll be successful or not. True innovation, is achieved only through sharing of ideas and thoughts through like-minded thinking.

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