Sounds like a broad statement, right? But very true.
Let me present it from my own case, that of my voice over career.
The Basis – The Degrees
This is the most obvious one. I have 3 degrees (long story!) – a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.B.A and an M.S. in Education/Instructional Design.
The B.S. was my entry into my Ford career. While there, I was “encouraged” to get my M.B.A. Later on, when many IT functions were being outsourced or shipped overseas, I got the M.S. to transfer to Learning and Development.
This is the basis of my Tech Speak Specialist tag line. I was in IT for a very long time, through numerous changes in technology and philosophy. I sling the lingo. I get it.
I also speak Finance lingo thanks to my M.B.A. Do I want to be an accountant? No, but I can manage to keep my own books and be relatively certain I have it right.
Finally, after using my M.S. to develop eLearning (also known as web-based training), I understand how it’s created and how it’s used in business.
Work Experience Counts as Learning
Again, let’s start from the basics. While I was earning my B.S., I held many jobs. Too many most likely. Things like waitress, bus person, cook, cashier, person running the food part of those trucks that sell stuff to kids in neighborhoods, janitor, theme park worker, everything you can do at a Bingo hall from caller to person that puts the paper specials together, computer operator, computer instructor, fast food worker, retail sales clerk – and probably some I’m forgetting.
So how does this apply? That means that if I get a script from a potential client related to any of those jobs, I understand it better than someone who has never done that kind of work. Does that mean my delivery is better? Maybe yes and maybe no. But it does give me a head start on getting it right. Plus, since I understand their business from the inside, I can speak with the client in their language.
That whole Tech Speak Specialist is a bit broader than you though, huh?
Everything You Learn in Life Experience Counts!
Think of all the things you’ve done in your life. Or that you were around. You know something about all of those. Again, I’ll speak from my own experience.
My mom was a nurse, a room mother, a former competitive tap dancer, a Girl Scout leader, a cook, a cleaner, a painter of both walls and canvas, a seamstress, a knitter, crocheter and other craft person, a camper, ballroom dancer.
My dad was an athlete of multi-sports, an electrician, a skilled trades manager, a small business owner, a remodeler (meaning he did electric, plumbing, heating, cooling, insulation, roofing, flooring, drywall, cement – I’m sure I’m missing some!), a hunter (not trophy only – the kind that eats the kill), a singer, an outdoorsman of many sorts (fishing too), a lawn maintenance person, a tree maintenance person, a farmer, a camper.
Now, add to that my step-parents and you have clerk, accountant, sports fan, boat owner. and more
Then there are my own interests on top of all that. I won’t list ’em all – there are TONS.
With all that, I can find something to relate to with just about anyone. I can understand at least a little about nearly any business from some perspective.
The next time you think that learning something is useless, or that you life hasn’t done much for your career, think again.