Saturday, May 18, 2013

Things they don't teach you at school

On the public transit on my way to work, it suddenly dawned upon me that, in order to get to a certain position I want in life, what I need to do is to be totally likable for the people who are responsible for hiring people for that particular position. Either that, or you're the top skilled candidate in that field, so people have no choice but to hire you for the reputation of their institute.

This may be blatantly obvious to most people, but I had been so focused on improving my technical aspects, that I had completely ignored the first part.

This realization happened because twice in a row, I have picked supervisors who do not really possess strong technical knowledge, yet they seem to do really well in their careers. What they have in common that verbally, they can communicate themselves in a very logical, convincing, and smooth manner that make it sound like they know the subjects very well. When I actually started work with them, it became obvious that they depended on their students and employees to be totally talented... otherwise the projects just stall. However, they also possess the capabilities to make any task done sound like fabulous accomplishments rather than minimally achieved results.

I feel like because I always juggle with a million ideas in my head, I sound very scattered and don't really know what I'm doing (as evidenced by the random ramblings of my blog posts).

They say that university doesn't really prep you for anything but to become a scholar like your professors. I feel like university education doesn't even prep me for becoming a successful modern scholar. School didn't teach me how to play politics, how to figure out who has the most influential power in the selection committee, how to tell when your boss or colleague means something else when they say one thing (and expect you to know it), how to deal with difficult people, how to sound pleasant and interested all the time, how to distribute time between socializing and doing actual work (and what proportion of time division is optimal for making me look good at this job), how to deal with psychopaths, etc etc.

Still a lot to learn... still waiting to achieve equanimity.


  1. Hello, yes, yes, I know this feeling so well. Nice to see it's not just me ; )

    1. Thanks for your comment, エスタ. I'm learning these things now, but I wish I had gotten out of school earlier to learn them sooner.