"You are your Position" LO6007

George Hathaway (gh@pipeline.com)
Wed, 6 Mar 1996 16:55:10 -0500

Replying to LO5952 --

On Mar 02, 1996 14:05:47, 'J.Mullen@agora.stm.it' wrote:

> Some questions. What is a "good student"? What is "good work
>experience"? And what is a "solid knowledge base"?
> Unless things have changed dramatically since I got my degree,
>academic institutions are less than perfect environments for learning.


I agree with this. We've somehow got to get beyond acadedmic snobbery.

> Resumes have also tended to be frighteningly devoid of context and
>motivation. One must reduce a complexity of experience into a job title
>or label of some sort. And I suspect that "continuous learning" for many
>prospective employers means that there are no gaps in the time-line. A
>strict separation between work and leisure. Busy, busy, busy.
> Unfortunately, given this societal bias, there is a very early
>marginalization of those students who might excel in an alternative
>framework. What would this alternative framework be? Rounding out the
>learning environment with an greater emphasis on learning how to learn;
>context; learning as a raucous, rewarding _process_; egalitarian, more
>flexible structures; inner experience contextualizing learning experience,
>guessing and mistakes as part of creative process; holistic, non-linear,
>intuitive skills developed; the importance of relationships in learning.

Right. But the problem is to communicate this richness of experience to
prospective employers in way that will make them want to hire you. Which
is why I made the following statement.

>>When I interview someone (or read their resume) I want to know how they
>>will be able to help me and my organization. If you don't speak to that
>>you don't get a second hearing.
> At the risk of appearing overly skeptical, I have the sneeking
>suspicion that many companies haven't the foggiest idea of what they
>really need to help them. I think a basic problem is that many are overly
>confident that they have it all figured out. Perhaps organizations should
>be thinking how they could learn something from those who _failed_ at the
>traditional educational system? Personally I think that as a society we
>are only beginning to have an inkling of an understanding behind the
>meaning of "good student," "good work experience," and "solid knoweldge

Perhaps most companies are overly confident. On the other hand at least
they try. Many companies don't want to learn anything from anyone. Those
that do want to learn don't necessary have the funds to randomly hire
people in the hope that they may learn something.

Those people need to make a financial contribution as well. In our own
minds we can define good student, good work experience and solid knowledge
base. The definitions vary according to our paradigms and needs. We hire
against those standards. If an applicant doesn't like the standards
he/she need not apply. I do believe that many companies are missing
something by being much too traditional in creating those standards. But
we still hire people in the expectation that they will add economic value
to our and we need some standard, however flawed, to determine how much
value a prospective emplyee will add.


George Hathaway Director, International Training American International Group 72 Wall St, 12th Floor New York, NY 10270 USA My opinions are my opinions and do not reflect in any way the policy of AIG. Tel. 212-770-3676 Fax. 212-514-6099 e-mail: gh@pipeline.com

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