If you were like me as a kid, you hated school. I don’t mean disliked, I mean hated! What was there to like? You had to be rustled from your sleep every morning at the crack of dawn; they made you sit in a building against your will for a whopping 6 to 7 hours a day; they forced you to learn about things that you knew you would never need in the real world.
I remember once in third grade trying to figure out how much more of this torture I would have to endure before I graduated high school. It was 1973 and I had come to the realization that I wouldn’t graduate high school until the year 1983! That was more than double my 8-year-old lifetime away! The day would never get here.
Why was I dreading those next 10 years? (They went by a lot quicker than I thought they would, by the way!) As it turns out, it wasn’t learning that I hated, it was the lack of control over the process. I also hadn’t yet figured out that learning could actually be enjoyable.
After my school years, the learning never ended, but I learned how to embrace it. Everything I have done, or will ever do in my life, is a learning opportunity. I have learned something valuable from each and every experience. I have learned from being a husband the importance of loyalty and how to co-manage. From being a father I have learned the valuable lesson of patience. From my close friendships I have learned how to be a team player.
Every job I ever had has been a learning experience. I have learned how important a strong work ethic is; what kind of co-worker to be; and how to manage a team effectively. I have been able to take subject matter from past employment and put that information to good use in my most recent job. On-the-job learning is more valuable than any salary. I will eventually spend the money in my paycheck but the information I learn on the job will stay with me forever.
I am one of those geeks who never gave up his library card. Yes, I even carry it around in my wallet! As an adult, I have more control over the subjects I learn. With the advent of the internet, the learning never ends thanks to my friends at Google, Wikipedia, and Mashable, just to name a few. As a musician, I get weekly lessons online on playing the bass guitar. I downloaded an app onto my Android that teaches me how to speak Spanish. I took 3 years of Spanish in high school, but would I have gone the extra steps to learn more? Doubtful. But as an adult, I can’t learn Spanish fast enough! And one of my favorite satellite TV channels: The History Channel. I am learning history…by choice! My 8th grade history teach probably just fainted.
The point is, you never stop learning, so embrace it! Find subjects that interest you, challenge you, and help you grow for the next chapter in your life. Learn everything you can from your current employer because it will make you more valuable at your next job. The only one grading you will be yourself. At the very least, you can give yourself an “A” for effort!