This is a great piece by John Warner, on his “Just Visiting” blog at the site Inside Higher Ed. Worth a read. Especially if you are a hiring manager or someone who is looking for a job straight out of college — or 25 years after college.
I did not know how to teach a class until I did it. I did not know how to write a review until I wrote a review. I did not know how to write a blog until I blogged. No one taught me how to write a novel, but I managed to figure it out.
That’s the most important thing I’ve learned, too: you’re not going to learn how to do something until you actually do it. And that can be a hard slog for a generation raised on “virtual” everything.
I’ve had these skill-based struggles repeatedly with supervisors. I tend to hire young and I tend to hire intuitively those people who, on paper, may not be as direct a match with a job description as an HR automaton may want. That’s because I can teach skills — and as a good manager, I should be teaching skills — but I need critical and intuitive thinkers who are ready to challenge me and my expectations. Ideally, everyone who works for me should be smarter than I am. That makes me stupid — or crazy — or off-the-chain smart.
Ultimately, though, it matters not one whit. What does matter is that people want to work for me. Because I’m easy? No. The exact opposite.