All of us expect to learn a great deal from our workplace. We often bring it our conversations that, “oh my office is a great place to learn”. The other day I was wondering what is it that we learn? The way I see it, there are 3 kinds of learning from a workplace.
- We acquire subject knowledge: We get to learn a lot of subject matter. If I work on poverty, I learn how it’s conceptualised, defined, measured; the key figures; poverty-alleviation initiatives; and a lot more. It takes us to a level where we can have a conversation with someone on the subject. We also form our opinions and believes as we gather more knowledge.
- We learn skills: If I’m a statistician, in a few years I become an expert in SPSS, STATA or another software on data analysis software. If I’m a designer, some of the Adobe softwares may be my area. A researcher polishes her writing skills, and a programmer masters coding. In addition to the quantum of subject knowledge, we learn a few tools which we use most often at our work. Remember how Sachin’s cover drive and Ponting’s pull shots became better over the years? That’s what I’m taking about.
- We learn how to be: This is not a very tangible kind of learning but that doesn’t make it less important. As months and years go by, people learn how to be at a workplace, in contrast with college or in the middle of friends. What to say, what not to say, when and when not to say, little things like that. And I know from my experience that people with decent knowledge and skills could fail in this aspect and become not-that-cool elements at workplace. Think about Donald Trump- the man has money and influence but doesn’t know what to say or not when he sees a mic. Like that.