A couple of days ago I had a chance to speak at a local meetup. It probably won’t come as a surprise that I was speaking on Kanban. In fact, it was a test run of one of my presentations I was preparing for one of big events. The point is, only few people shown up.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t complain. Actually, such events are always win-win. Speaker gets some valuable feedback and an audience attends a session for free, which they would have to pay for otherwise. My end of the deal worked fine – I’ve already improved the session basing on feedback I received. However, I was somehow surprised, and in a negative way, that only few people popped up.
Well, maybe “surprise” isn’t the right word. If you asked me I would say that most people didn’t really care to exploit chances to learn, so they wouldn’t use this one either. People, in general, don’t want to learn. They don’t, even if they state otherwise. People, again, in general, are lazy. They are, even if they deny.
So no, I didn’t expect wild crowds even though I believe the message about the meetup reached quite a bunch of people. I see the same pattern whenever me, or my friends, are involved in organization of a local community events.
However, since I always consider a glass half-full I see a good side of the situation too. If you happen to be the part of this small bunch of people and you actually care to exploit any occasions to learn, not only do you unwind yourself but you also become a demanded employee on a job market.
I was discussing with one of my friends how does he see himself as an engineer. His point was that he wasn’t a rock star developer. My point was sort of similar. He wasn’t a rock star developer… yet.
What I consider as one of his biggest strengths is his urge to learn. He doesn’t have a problem to invest a couple of hours of evening or weekend to attend local community event. He does this as A, it is a chance to learn and B, it is an occasion to meet interesting people and exchange experience with them.
What he basically does is he’s consciously working on becoming a better professional than he is right now. So if you asked me about his value on job market I wouldn’t answer talking about what he knows at the moment, but what kind of potential the guy has and how he is using it. Give me the choice among him and another developer who is very skilled but have a regular “I don’t give a damn” approach and it would be a no-brainer for me when it comes to choose who I want to work with.
Sometimes I hear complaints about different trainings or presentations people attend. It wasn’t that stunningly mind-blowing, or the trainer could have been better, or two third of content wasn’t new at all or whatever else. Now, let me stress it, in my whole life I’ve never been on a training, conference or meetup where I wasn’t able to learn anything at all. Yes, it is true that sometimes you learn by negative examples, meaning the only thing you get is knowledge how not to do things. But it is still a lesson, and a valuable one!
So even though I expect people don’t give a damn I’m still surprised why it is so. If I asked all these people whether they want their career to be just a bit better they would agree in a second. And yet they do nothing to improve the situation they’re in.
If I counted all the hours I voluntarily spent on learning, including all the ramblings I share on this blog it would be hell lot of time. And believe me; I don’t regret any minute spent on this, even though I learned many things I don’t use at the moment. And no, no one paid me for that. It was just an investment on my side. The investment, which pays off, as I’m better professional today than I was yesterday. Or so I hope.
This basically means that if you happen to hire me you don’t just buy what I am today, but you also get all the potential I’m striving to exploit. The same I look for when I hire. I look at who you can become in a couple of years, not only what you’re worth now.
Why am I writing all that? I do, to make you move your butt, look for occasions to learn and exploit them! Yes, I have selfish motivation as well. Next time I do something in local community I want to see more faces popping up. I want to see more people who strive to learn since it means there are more people I want to hire. And now that you asked, yes, I consider it win-win.