Pragmatic 10A: Passion Over Academic Proof Follow-up 1

20 March, 2014


Follow up (Part A) to Passion Over Academic Proof where we clarify that yes we still need Universities and Colleges and discuss several readers comments.

Transcript available
This is pragmatic follow-up part a for episode 10 passion over academic proof I'm Ben Alexander and my co-host is John Chidjie. Hey, John. Hey Ben. Thanks for that So had a lot of follow-up on this episode and I suppose it's probably not too surprising There's a lot of people listening who are either very academically minded or have had a lot of a a lot of exposure to academia and the intention of the episode was not to offend anybody. It was simply putting my thoughts out there on the subject. I suppose one of the problems is there is a theme, a meme, there's a story out there, belief I think among certain sectors that you don't need, that a degree is simply writing on a piece of paper and proves nothing. A lot of people, a lot of feedback that I got was along those lines, "I can't believe that you're saying that you don't need – that a degree is just a piece of paper and it's worthless." That's not actually what I was saying. What I was saying is that – and if you want to go back to the episode, 45 minutes and 45 seconds in, yes, I listened back a couple of times. I said you don't need a degree to get knowledge. That does not mean that you should not get a degree for a whole bunch of reasons. My lamenting regarding being able to sit a degree in your own time frame, that was more the point, which is I want to be able to study in my own time and my own way, pick the subjects that I want and get individual qualifications for the subjects that I care about. And I want that to stand and represent this is my ability as tested at a specific point in time and then employers would look at that and say, "Okay, well, you tested for this 12 months ago. That's probably still currently in your brain and we really need someone with this specific qualification. Come on in." That's what I would rather see. I'm not suggesting that universities go away. I'm not suggesting that colleges go away. I'm not suggesting any of that. That was the gist of a lot of the feedback that I got. were two emails in particular that I wanted to address. There's elements that cross over between both of these emails. What I'm going to do is I'm going to address them together jointly as if it was one email from one person, but it's from two. The first one was from a gentleman by the name of Bastien Quenzel. The second one, I did not get authorization to say his full name but we'll just call him Rob for the purposes of this exercise. So one of the points that also came up in these emails was the idea that studying at a university is more than just putting facts into someone's brain and then reproducing them at a certain time in order to get certification. To which I would refer them to my previous comments which are well, actually that is irrespective of whether or not that's what it should be, that is in reality what it is because there are some courses that are more hands-on, I will admit, but most of the professional courses that I've been exposed to, for example, sciences and engineering and all that stuff is much less hands-on and the stuff that they do get hands-on with is usually not current tech. It's usually at least three or four years or five years out of date, which in modern, in our modern world is quite a lot out of date. It goes on to say, "The ability to read theoretical dense texts and being able to distinguish between good and bad text is something that you can learn at a university." To that, I would say, I sort of agree with that, but the problem is that the internet is not structured quite so much that way because the dense texts are sort of gone. You can actually pull out. I don't have to read an entire textbook on particle physics. I can pick out the one particular part. I want to read up on the Higgs boson. Fine. I'm going to read up on the history of that. I don't need to read the entire textbook. It's not a dense textbook anymore. It's just the one section that I want. So whether or not you need to be able to do that is I think is the bigger question. However, honestly, I think that just comes down to practice and you do not need-- If you read enough books on a subject, on any technical subject, it doesn't have to be at a university. Being at a university did not teach me how to read dense technical textbooks. I learned that because I read them and a lot of that stuff I read wasn't at uni. So a lot of the dense technical stuff that I've read has been after university. Next one, which I found interesting is a couple of-- They both pointed out delivering projects to a deadline with conflicting priorities, for example, term papers. Obviously, everyone has a different experience but let me describe my experience with teamwork at university and it goes something like this. There's a group of people, let's say five people, five's a nice number. You're working on a team project. There are two people of which I was one that did all the work and the other three were sitting in their beanbag chairs, not participating, not getting involved and essentially going up and not standing up in front of the group afterwards presenting what we'd done. But they still got the same mark. That's what I experienced. It was never just me when I was working in a group. There's always at least one other person that was really driven to do something. But honestly, that was my experience. So that didn't teach me teamwork at all. That taught me the reality of the world, which is there are people that do and there are people that don't. I was relatively lucky with that through school but it's always there right I mean even even when it's a good team you get that dynamic and maybe even especially if it's a good team you do realize that someone's carrying it. Yeah and the first few years are worse. Right. Once you once you weed out the people that aren't as serious I think then it gets better like you're saying right you're all still there you're all still want to get your degree you haven't dropped out you're all sort of on the same page. But yeah I mean I'm thinking like my third year in the econ program, like you would not have wanted to been my partner that year, even though you definitely would have the first two because I was done. I was I was checked out. I suppose that's the other effect, isn't it? Yeah. And that's kind of what I think about that the difference between the idea of group work and teamwork and real world or not is, is can you get fired? And how many people really get fired from college? Right? Everything is very shifted off whereas you can be out the door pretty quick if you're not cooperating with a team in the workplace. Absolutely and that's a really good point. I don't think that that's the sort of thing that universities and environment that can teach you that, not effectively because the threat of being sacked and losing your income is a very big deal and you got to take it seriously. So honestly, I'm sorry, I just have to disagree on that. Maybe your mileage may vary. Maybe some people have better experiences than I had and that's fine, but that was just not my experience and I'm not entirely sure it's the right environment to be teaching teamwork because inevitably, the majority of assessment is not team related. It's individual related. You know where I also learned teamwork was waiting tables. Yeah. Working in retail. Working in the kitchen. Yeah. Working retail, cashier at the grocery store. Yeah. Cooking tables is my favourite. Well, we can talk about that in another show. I'm sorry. That's okay. Okay, so getting back to the emails then, another one was living away from parents independently or in a semi-structured environment. It was one of the other reasons in one of the emails that was suggesting that university or college was a good thing. Now, the part of this that I find confusing, maybe this is just a North American thing because I guess to some extent in Australia maybe, if you live in a populated center, there's going to be a university or a college or something that you can go to. Even when I was growing up, there was correspondence. You could do correspondence through University of Southern Queensland, they had a massive correspondence school. You could do your degree remotely. You didn't have to physically go somewhere else. We didn't have – we just couldn't afford it. We owned a house, we owned a car, we had enough money to get by but we didn't have enough money for me to go to a different university. So I would have loved to have gone to QUT or Griffith or any of the other bigger universities in Brisbane which is where I live now but when I was growing up, I couldn't afford that. My mother couldn't afford that. So I went to the local university, the Central Queensland University which I realized the the degrees there are not held in quite as high esteem and there's a whole bunch of reasons and I don't want to go back into that. But the point is though that I still came out with an engineering degree and the funny thing is I still end up in Brisbane and I'm still doing okay. So does it really make a difference where you go in that particular case? But the assumption is and I see a lot of this on shows on TV is like shows from North America where it's like if you go to university, it's a deal. You literally, you leave home. You go to some famous college or university on the other side of the country or something like that and that's just a done thing. But surely there are people that ... and surely it's the majority of people. Don't do that. Is it the done thing in America? Would you say the vast majority of people leave home and go to a different physical location to go to higher education or do the vast majority live at home and commute to the nearest high level education? Which would you say is more predominant? Without looking up numbers, I bet it's 60/40 stay at home. Wow. That's actually still quite a significant number. See, there were a couple of scholarships that I could have applied for and there's a whole bunch of reasons that I didn't because I was in a position where I simply could not leave at that point in my life and I will not go into the details as to why, but I will say that going away to Brisbane or Sydney or Melbourne to go to a better university, even if I had the opportunity, I could not have done it. In any case, I think it's interesting. Maybe it's not just my experience because I had a lot of friends. The vast majority of my friends at school went to the universities locally. They didn't go to Brisbane. One or two of them did. For example, one of them in particular I was thinking of, he wanted to study avionics and there were no avionics courses at Central Queensland University. He had to go to QUT to study avionics. He was a smart guy, smarter than me. He was very good. I lost track of him though after that, but I heard a rumor that he was over in Seattle working for Boeing in the end. It's the sort of thing that here there's not a heck of a lot of places you can work in avionics anyway. I got some data here. This is from the USA Today. When you think of the quintessential college experience, you think of football games, long study sessions, in the library, Greek life, and miniature shoebox dorm rooms. But the latter hasn't applied for more than half, half of students attending college during 2012. Quarantine reports conducted by Sally May, 51% of students choose to live at home with their parents, a 9% increase from the number of commuter students in 2011. So. - Wow. I'm stunned it's even 50/50. Call that 50/50. - Yeah. - I'm stunned that it's that high, but maybe that's the North American thing. Yeah, I think that's just probably the difference between the countries. But what I was thinking about that, when I went to Kent State, so I did the college experience there and I ended up, I was an RA and lived on campus. And I do think there was value to that, but it's changed in a big way, even since, I mean, that was '99, 2000. Those shoebox dorm rooms are suites now that cost 10, $15,000 a year. it's, they're like apartments, they're like nice apartments in some cases. My brother's down at, went to OSU and it's nuts. And I go back to Canton now and it's nuts. And so when I went back to Akron for CS, Akron's a bigger school, it's more urban. There's not as much of a campus, so I had a lot of commuter students. And yet there's still a, they still try to create that vibe, right? That feel in the student center. to make it a hub, right? To have people coming in there, having a community, right? But it felt fake, it felt forced. It was this, I don't know, it really, really bugged me. 'Cause I went from this kind of real, true liberal arts college to something that was something different. And I felt like, yeah, you know, if you're moving out of your parents' house to live in a, You know, it was basically converted from, you know, a slumlord's property before to a different slumlord's property now. Just happens to be the university. So it just, I don't buy that. I mean, and I don't think you can get away from the issues of class and income inequality, but if you want more emails, I can go on. But you know, it's, hey, look, you're, you know, most people can't afford, honestly, for that mythical college experience. just cost way too much money now. Yeah, well, exactly. The other point is that we borrow the money and this is the problem, right? Then you come out of university essentially behind at least a few years worth of salary and that's terrible and we talked about that on the episode. So I don't want to necessarily go back over that but I guess to move on then just quickly, I guess the key thing is another part of the email was that there was a query about the the point of going to university or college is learning how to learn and research. So in essence, that was one of the things I was actually told word for word when I actually worked with my first lecture and the Dean of Engineering got up in front of all of the hundreds of students and said, "We are here not to teach you how to be an engineer, but we are here to teach you how to learn to be an engineer. We're going to teach you how to teach yourself." I thought to myself at the time that that was an odd thing to say. Honestly, I think a lot of it came down to the fact that Google at that point didn't exist and web search was horrible at the best of times. This is again getting back to what I was talking about with a degree from Google search, right? Is that that has changed the game because there's no more ... You don't need to go to a library for the most part. There might still be some things, but as the years wear on, there'll be less and less need to go to a library. Textbooks will be available in soft copy, it'll be text searchable. If you don't need a library anymore, there's no need to learn how to work a microfish like all the index cards and all the clippings and white papers that used to be condensed down to microfish size, little pieces of transparent film. That's going to be gone. no need to worry about the Dewey Decimal System anymore to find a book. You know, you know, my mom's a librarian, right, John? I do. Yeah. So I know all about the Dewey Decimal System. But, you know, she would agree with you. She's her, her job has changed so dramatically. She works in, she works in the schools, she works in middle school. She's, you know, the most senior librarian in the district. And she actually chooses to stay in the middle school and not move up to the high school for that reason. Because she feels like that's the point. the spot where one, they bother her the least, administration, but two, it's actually teaching a 13-year-old how to Google properly. That's probably the right age to do it. Yeah. So, this is the whole point of ... Well, there were two points to the episode, the actual main episode. That was one of them was, what is this whole thing about learning how to learn if all you got to do is type in the right string in Google? I don't need to know about the Dewey Decimal System or how to work a micro fish or how to find information in a library anymore or even find in a textbook anymore. You know, I don't even have to work the table of contents anymore. - Is it learning how to learn or is it about control, right? And about learning how to be a good employee because there's a lot, you know, there's a lot in there. Like people know how to learn, you just do it. Your brain is a learning machine. You might not know how to research, right? You might not know how to cite, you might not know how to form an argument or format a paper or write CSS. But do they use different processes in your brain to learn them? No, you learn them. Well, I'll admit that I learned more from debating different people at different points of my life about how to structure an argument than I ever learned from university. wasn't for me wasn't about learning how to structure your thoughts or structure your argument. I had great experiences at high school and I mean throughout school right in university when I went back I went to a I went to a really good Jesuit prep high school and like I would I would recommend the school I went to but still only 5% of it was was what I'm talking about but that fight those those moments, those particular teachers or classes, taking an ethics class in junior year of high school was not something that a lot of people were doing. And it helped, right? It was important. At Kent, being in the honors colloquium, which was our English, our honors English, and it was just a thing, you know, that was like being at a super hyper-extensive liberal arts school. It was a little taste of that. And every few years, something will pop up and remind me of that class, even though I hated it and I was insufferable in it. Like I was just constantly challenging everyone, I'm sure. And then at Akron, which just frustrated the hell out of me, I had a great, the program chair, well, not the program chair, but the professor that I kind of, luck of the draw I got for the intro to CS where we're all sitting there doing Java, which I just had to take it. But I was older, I was in my late 20s at that point. And I wasn't scared of the professors, right? So I just like, wasn't a big deal. So and I would go into his office and we'd like talk for hours and he would just give me advice and we'd talk and BS about stuff, talk about Apple. And that was huge, like the amount of stuff I learned from him, just learning that I could do that, like that you could just go talk to a professor. But 19 year olds don't think that way, do they? It doesn't seem like that's the dynamic. There's that power differential and age and experience. Or if they do try to do it, they're probably gonna do it wrong. You know, if I tried to do that when I was 19, it would have kicked me out. - I think a lot of it depends on the lecturer as well, right, because some of them-- - Right, yeah, this was, yeah, he's an awesome guy. - Oh, yeah. - But I felt like, you know, in a few semesters of that, Like, I was like, okay, I got everything I need here. - See, I don't think that it has anything to do with whether or not they're a lecturer or not. I think that, or professor, the bottom line is you need access to those people. Can you meet interesting people that are great to talk to that can open your mind? - Right. - You know, every day in the street you can actually. - Oh yeah. - You know what I mean? You just need to start talking to them. One of the things that you highlighted-- - The amount I paid to Akron for the number of hours that I got to spend with Dr. C, and I know what he makes 'cause he told me, like, yeah, me and about 12 other people could have him as a tutor, right? - Yeah. - And get the same thing, and not have to go take LERs, liberal education, I don't know, different terms for different things, but you would not be asking a 29-year-old who's took four years of Latin to go and take Spanish and intro to mathematics, even though he's taking calculus, because, oh, it's a new school and this didn't transfer. No. Okay, so the next argument that was brought up was regarding some people need a structured learning environment and being pushed a little bit in order to learn. I've heard that one before as well. People have come and said to me, "Oh yeah, I really need a structured learning environment. I really need an environment where someone's cracking the whip in order for me to actually produce anything." See, my argument there is you're doing the wrong thing. It's like I look at housework and I have to do housework from time to time. So I don't want to do the housework. I don't really have any passion about cleaning. I don't have any passion about doing the housework. I simply know I have to do it because I have to do it. It sucks, all right? And I think a lot of people feel that way. not unique at all in that respect. If you apply that to learning any skill whatsoever, I would suggest that being in a structured environment whereby I have to do the cleaning, I have to be in an environment where I'm made to do the cleaning, then I'm going to get a more regular, consistent, reliable work performance out of me in my house cleaning. It's no different with any other thing that you would choose to learn and choose to apply to do. If you need to be in a structured environment to learn, then I'm going to suggest you need to be in a structured environment to produce anything once you finish learning. You're going to need to have that project manager cracking their whip every five seconds to make sure that you're getting that report done on time. Right. Because you don't have any motivation without someone else cracking the whip. You might say well some people are just like that well you know what I reckon they're in the wrong line of work. Everyone should be motivated to do what they want to do you shouldn't have show up somewhere and just do what do what on earth you got to do to cut a paycheck you know what if you want to live that way fine that's fine I'm not saying that you can't do that and there are always aspects of jobs that are like that and this is not some... Yeah this isn't follow your passion right but this is this this is being engaged human being maybe like yeah just that yeah be responsible give a damn yeah exactly care about it so you know honestly there are always going to be aspects of whatever degree if you're gonna do a degree or course that you're doing that you I don't want to know and this is part of the damn problem but you know what assume for example we can't get away for that from that for them for a moment. You're going to have 10 subjects and of them, three of them you don't like. The other seven is really why you're there. Well, you're going to have to put up with those other three and deal with them and be professional and say, "You know what? I am passionate about the other seven, so I'm going to deal with these other three. It sucks, but I'm going to deal with them." That's what working in the real world is like. Not everything that you get to do. I know that you love doing the whole podcasting thing, but I know that there's elements of of this that you don't enjoy that are a pain in the neck, right? The process right now is pretty much like torturing myself with, with to find what the actual worst part is and fix that one. And then, I mean, it's, it's awful right now. Like, but the, yeah, it's a process. Like it's, sure. You got to do it. Like, or, or, or I think it needs to be done, right? It's it's, what's the job to be done of what I'm doing is to solve problems for the podcasters I'm working with need to know what those problems are. Absolutely and you're refining the process and you're sort of smoothing out all of the rough edges and it's gonna get easier as time goes on right and that's fine. It's been six months right? Yeah I know. Yeah things that were like just seemed impossible then are like just trivial now. That's it. Sometimes it just takes doing things a few times and yeah well the point is that you're not gonna let all of those little annoying things stop you from doing what you're passionate about and And at least that's not when you put words in your mouth. The stuff with structure and all that. I mean, I think there is a legitimate aspect of that and there's an illegitimate one. There is a topic or there's a subject you're studying that it is so overwhelming. Programming, right? Where to begin? You don't even know where to begin because there's so many things you don't know. It needs to be exposed to you gradually. And there's things that you don't need to worry about at first and then you're going to need to worry about later. structure there and having someone having a tutor, right, having someone that's really working with you to develop you over years is great. But you don't get that in schools. No, you don't. That's not provided there. So unless you're going to really, really expensive schools, and there's a legitimate thing there that people need teachers. It's important. But the illegitimate side of me is just, are we supposed to? Look, I don't want to sound like, you know, some rabble rouser, but it's just awfully convenient that there's that someone saying, Oh, well, these, these people need to, they can't do things on their own. You can't do this, you need to learn how to do this, you need to need to be taught and controlled and sit down and the bell rings, and then you're going to go over here and then you're going to do that. It's it's training people for a life where your work is, is you being a cog. I mean, whether it's intended or not, that's the effect. And it's the, I think, you know, Dan Benjamin, quit the, he has the corporate stooge thing, which I don't really care for the name, but the idea that I have of it isn't as different, it's just that it's like whether you've woken up or not, that you can kind of control your fate in whatever you're doing, you know, and that's as far as it goes. but so many people just, if that's beating into you for 12 years and then four more, and then you're through your 20s and you're 45 by the time you realize, "Hey, you know what? I'm smarter than all these people said." Well, how did that work out? - No, well put Ben, exactly. And frankly, people need to be aware of the fact that if you are involved in any kind of education and there is no part of it that you really are that into, you're just doing it to go through the motions, I strongly recommend reconsidering your position because if you really need a structured learning environment to learn about pretty much everything that you've signed up for, then I think there's something wrong. I don't think that some people need a structured learning environment. I think structured learning environments are there to help people that aren't as passionate about something, aren't as keen or as interested in something still be able to pass. that point in time, you're setting yourself up for a lifetime career or a significant component of it where you are doing exactly the same thing. And like you said, they become a cog. We have to be realistic and realize that these are big organizations and they are going to have incentives that are misaligned, right? Yeah. Which means, I mean, people's jobs, what I'm saying, and lots of money. So you can't just... Why do they get a pass, right? You wouldn't give other people a pass. Of course they're going to say that because that's how they can charge more money. Yeah, exactly right. So the last piece of this I just wanted to address is the broad base of knowledge. So this is brought up in both of those emails I'm referring to. The broad base of knowledge argument is that a university does not know what you're going to do in the field that you have chosen. Therefore, they're going to teach you a little bit about everything. a so-called broad-based degree. In engineering, that means my first year we did civil, mechanical, electrical subjects and even though I was an electrical engineer. And then second year, the civies sort of went off and had their own little civy camp. But by the time we got to third, fourth year, it was all electrical. So you start out with common threads and you learn about material science despite the fact that in electrical engineering, you don't need to know very much about it. Although one or two pieces of information that I learned in material science do help understanding power lines, oddly enough. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that, see they don't know up front what line of work you're going to do because it's such a broad base of experience. But the problem is that presupposes that you A, have no idea what you want to do. Obviously there's no way you can predict the future. But you know what, if you have something that you're really interested in doing, then you You should be studying about what you're really interested in doing and then find a job in that area. Why are you going in and getting a degree that covers so many different topics of which you have no idea what you want to do? What I hate about the career guidance system at schools is that they don't try and figure out, at least they certainly didn't in my case nor in my sister's cases or any of my friends' cases that I've talked to about this, doesn't mean that they're all like this. Of course, there could be some good ones out there and I'm sure there are somewhere. But when I went through, the general consensus was, "Where are their jobs?" Or, "There's jobs in this thing called engineering. You should probably do that." That was it. It wasn't, "What is it you'd like to do?" I would have said, "Hey." At least they did that much, John. my cohort going through, none of us ended up in the field. I mean, 'cause all of us wanted to be journalists, or, well, I didn't. I jumped out right at the end of high school. I'm like, I'm going to economics. But, yeah, I mean, it's all my wife's friends are essentially in different careers or having to, I mean, they're dealing with an industry that's been completely disrupted. And there was nothing. There was no planning for that. It even, I mean, we might've talked about it, but it even happened when Jen went to law school. Law schools are, I mean, the profession is in a weird sort of crunch right now. And they basically let too many people in. It was very structured, you know, structured how people move through their careers. It was professional, but you're gonna take someone's money for something that you know is just worth, We have a word for that. So all right, honestly, didn't want to go and rehash too many of the topics, just wanted to try and address the feedback that we got. There were a bunch of people that also responded telling me that there were different parts of the world where education was cheaper or free, which is great to know. Honestly though, it seems to be the exception rather than the rule in terms of if you look at percentages of the population. But the truth is that I think the moral of the exercise is that I still believe that people should do – try and focus on what they're trying to do is something that they are passionate about. Keep in mind that if you do have to do a course that you are going to probably have to do because of the nature of the system, you're probably going to have to do subjects you're not interested in. Okay, that sucks but currently that's the structure of the system. And I think that's what's wrong with the system. You should be able to pick and choose. Instead of coming out with a degree that says electrical engineer, you should come out with a list of subjects that you chose to do. Oh, I did statistics. Great, we need a statistician. Or, oh, I did control systems theory. Great, we need a control systems engineer. Or I did 10 subjects on control systems, so I'm a specialist. Great, we need a specialist. If you do one subject on this, one subject on that, and everyone else does exactly the same damn thing, which is what happens, then you've got 10 candidates out there. No one specializes in anything. How are you supposed to figure out which one of them, if you're an employer, you want to employ? Right. So the whole thing is flawed. I don't ... I'm not saying that you don't need universities. Of course you need them. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a degree. If that is useful for what you are trying to do, then sure, go get one. Bottom line though, the system is broken. All right? I'm sorry, but it's broken. And a piece of paper that says you are qualified has a limited lifespan. two years, five years, once you're out in the industry, they don't care anymore. After you've been out there for three or four years in the industry, they don't give a damn what your grades were at university. I got an honors degree in engineering. Great, that was 20 years ago. What does that mean now? I mean, maybe my brain's rotting because I'm drinking too much caffeine, maybe. I don't know. It was valid for a few years and they don't care about that anymore. We only care about whether or not you as an individual have relevant experience in the last five years. There's a damn good reason why people and companies care about that and that's because that's all that really matters. They want to know that you can solve their problem. Exactly. You have to present a value proposition to them. You have to show them you have value and there is more than one way than a piece of paper to do that. If there's anything anyone takes away from this episode and this follow up, it should be that. was I wrote down here was, you know, the, the, the pragmatic thing here is you like, you know what, whether or not this system is broken, and I think it's broken too, is, I mean, you and I can't change it and the audience can't change it on their own. But the thing that you absolutely can do is be proactive. You can go in and talk to a professor, you can call someone up, you know, who's been doing it for years. And I think honestly, that's the best way to learn right is find someone who's gone through it and made all all the mistakes and just ask them, 'cause they will tell you who's not gonna do that, right? Who's not, you know, but you know, actually, I've had a number of conversations with people. I had it with Andrew Baker, Alex Dunner. There's, I think you and I have different experience in this because we came up through this in the early part of this transition. And it's really different for them. It's different with my brothers. It's different with the people that are, you know, freshmen in college now. I'm not saying the system isn't the same, but Alex is, he's up at, he's at NU, he's in the Knight Lab, this journalism lab. He was sending me stuff last night at this conference he's at where they're, these are journalists, and they're learning Git, right? They're learning how to do data journalism. And he's so excited about D3.js, which is like for doing graphing, animation, charts and stuff on websites. And it's all this cool stuff I'm looking at. I'm like, this is amazing. This is stuff like, so there are good signs, right? There are things that are going right. And I think the thing that makes me feel good more than that is it seems that the culture of that generation is more assertive, right? More willing to push themselves forward than mine was. I think we really expected that, okay, we're gonna do this, and then we're gonna do this, and then we're gonna do this, and then you're gonna have a job. It doesn't really matter what you do because you did all the right things. And that turned out not to be the case. So-- - No, and that's seldom is the case. - So if you can learn how to ask really good questions and you can learn how to sell yourself, you're gonna be fine in almost anything. Because in the process of doing that, you're going to end up learning a lot of other stuff and you're gonna start to figure this out. It just takes most people a long time to do that. So, and it's not forgetting that too, like not forgetting that you're smart, right? That you're not dumb. - Alrighty, I think we should probably leave it there. So thank you everyone for all your feedback. It's been quite amazing the amount of feedback I've got on that episode. It's been by far the most that we've had on any single episode. And I realized it was about four weeks ago, but I wanted to make sure that I had the majority of that feedback before I did a follow-up episode. So thank you so much for all of that. I really appreciate it. Even the people that disagree, that's okay. That's fine. I still appreciate it. So thanks again, guys, and appreciate that feedback. Thank you.
Duration 37 minutes and 25 seconds Direct Download

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Ben Alexander

Ben Alexander

Ben created and runs and Fiat Lux

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.