Sunday, October 4, 2009

Off The Job Training

Get in the habit of teaching yourself. You know how you see a job advertised online and think to yourself "Hey, I could do that! I'd be perfect... if they train me." If someone pays to train you in a new skill, you're LUCKY. Get used to teaching yourself.

I suspect that on the job training really only exists in large, relatively stable companies with well defined hierarchies and business processes. They aren't training you so much as conditioning you to drink the kool-aid. Heck, the training you get may not be transferable to another position within even the same company, let alone anywhere else.

The military is a great example of non-transferable training. Let's pretend in the army you learned how to exercise, drive a tank, and be a team player. After spending 4 years in the army as an enlisted person, chances are when you enter the real world you're first job won't use any of those skills. You'll be doing something other than driving a tank, and your coworkers are more likely to be self absorbed couch potatoes than a bunch of cooperative Tony Little's.

The best thing to prepare yourself for future success is learning how to become self-reliant to the point that it is practical, and then learn how to work with others towards a common goal. Teach yourself, learn how to ask questions, and then spend time around people who have good answers. You might be one lean and mean tank-driving machine, but you can also be studying independently to become anything from a truck mechanic to a rocket scientist. If you've learned how to learn independent of someone else's direction, that gives you some real power.

By the way, I think the military has lot to offer people who join, but I also know from personal experience that transitioning from a military to civilian career can be incredibly hard.

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