Need some hands on education

Its been a while, and article recently published online titled America desperately needs to redefine ‘college and career ready’ has motivated me to return, because it’s topic close to my heart.  If you are at college, or have kids planning to attend college you might be a little concerned, but later in the blog I discuss my own success story, which will provide some comfort and show a new career path too.

One of the key messages in the article, doesn’t read well at all:

For every 100 kids who start college, just 25 get degrees and attractive jobs. Some 45 drop out, and another 30 graduate but end up under- or unemployed, reaching the end of the college rainbow only to find a pot of rejection letters and debt.

Twenty-five percent of kids are not fulfilling their dream; then perhaps we have built the wrong education system.

I remember my own education, I was somewhat of a late bloomer – I sucked at English and Mathematics (and I was in the top classes at school), so I sucked at a high level and that hurt.  I liked technical drawing, physics and metalwork, but I was not academically wired and so I left school at 16 years old.  One of the reasons I was given permission to leave school was that I was apprenticed in to a top engineering firm and it appeared I was on a path for a mechanical engineering career. Do you remember that math thing, this is where it hurt most; and I was soon lost. Looking back, I have more than 30 years experience in the Chemical Industry, so something did change:

  • 1975 Left school, joined engineering company
  • 1978 Started at college, studying Physical Sciences
  • 1982 Associates degree in Chemistry
  • 1984 Final year at college, degree in Chemistry
  • 1988 Left college to join, International Scientific Research Facility outside London
  • 1996 Left the Research Center, multiple patents and joined chemicals consulting firm in London
  • 1998 Transferred from London to Houston, USA
  • 2017 I still working for a chemicals consulting firm in Houston; manage a team of consultants

There are more career milestones than described above, however I was fortunate to land a job in my chosen discipline, but it wasn’t easy.  I left school with no chemistry training and so for the first few years I had to study hard, studied basic and high level chemistry at the same time.  Had a few setbacks too. During that time I had to correct years of math blindness and although I was smart enough, I wasn’t brilliant, however through hard work – I passed.

In 1987, I was interviewed twice to join a prestigious research center – the first time I was rejected.  The second time, I was hired into the  perfect team and 18 months later I was asking them, why they hired me.  It was my Team Leader’s answer that shocked me; and it changed my life completely.

I was hired by my perfect team and 18 months later I was asking them, why they hired me.  It was my Team Leader’s answer that shocked me; and it changed my life completely

He said, “we have many smart people working here and they are very good at what they do, but what they don’t ask creative questions.  They think they know their stuff, but you keep showing them what they don’t know, enough so that it scares them and they are motivated to find the answers”. By now, you can tell I am not the smartest tool in the box, but I am one of the sharpest – all though my career I have applied one simple skill – ask questions, and then ask why or why not.

This was an important career lesson for me – first success will come if you are focused, determined and somewhat adaptable.  I believe success is possible for everyone, but requires a different paths.  This last point is critical, and today I  can help anyone be successful once we have defined their path.  Years later, its all about finding the opportunity, and preparing to jump – even without a parachute.  It’s okay, you will land safely…

In closing, how has these lessons impacted my other chosen industry,  network marketing, where the path to success is through duplication. Firstly, I believe anyone can succeed in this industry, particularly those with no academic background, the young and old, male and female, any color, any language, the list goes on.   However, duplication must be a simple route, so that anyone can follow it – I have noticed that if those around me are not duplicating then my path is either too complicated or worse, there is no path. If there is no path in your business or life, I would be happy to discuss…

 

 

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