In a world that’s obsessed with making sure everyone treads the work-life tightrope with perfect poise, there is another line that’s often drawn – the distinction between school and work.
We create a demarcation that separates one from the other, and crossing this border means no turning back. We leave school with high expectations, confident that we’ve left the classroom behind. Most of all, many people have the attitude that once you finally leave education, you can’t – or shouldn’t – really go back to school.
But education comes in many forms, and it’s the tool by which many of us have re-invented ourselves during our working careers. We do this because the world and its industries are changing, the needs of business evolve and we either evolve along with them, or we become stale and our skills unattractive.
We’re lucky enough to live in an age where education is as easily accessible as bread. So when we have plenty of opportunities to keep learning, why do we get stuck in a job that makes our working week too long, and at the same time, life too short, when the ability to pivot is just one enrolment away?
I graduated in Education and taught girls for two years. Though I learned a great deal, it was also extremely stressful and not as rewarding as I had believed it would be. So I changed trajectory, enrolled in a digital marketing course and finally found something I loved. It taught me a valuable lesson too, about the necessity to keep learning.
Now I’m a senior SEO Analyst with Blexr, a lead generation company I joined over two years ago. Our biggest clients are gaming companies and our portfolio includes scores of websites we maintain and grow. My role as part of a team is to make sure that all the decisions taken on websites are in line with the best practices of search engines such as Google.
The role is never static, it’s an unpredictable melting pot of experiments, experiences and ultimately of lessons learnt. It comes with its own satisfactions, different perhaps from the roles I had before, but not less rewarding. Perhaps the biggest lesson of them all was the realisation that the moment you close the gates to learning, is the moment you stop growing, as an employee, as a colleague but also as an individual.
The philosophy we endorse at Blexr is echoed across the entire gaming industry. When what you depend on is constantly changing – be it due to regulations, search engine algorithms, or the very nature of the technology you use – survival depends on your ability to adapt and evolve along with these changes.
You stop reading the latest news, or ignore changes, and your practices are outdated. You stop learning, in other words, and your value to your present company will shrink. It’s not only your role in the present company that suffers, but should you be in a position to have to change jobs, your outdated CV falls to the bottom of the pile on your potential new manager’s desk.
At Blexr we have a culture of learning. We hold workshops, encourage relevant reading during working hours, and bring speakers from abroad. The heads of our company see the value in life-long education and their staff are grateful for it.
We are not who we studied to be. No matter what we’ve already learned, we remain as unfulfilled potential in areas we never dreamed of – if we’re not open to challenges that come with learning new things.
There are new skills waiting to be acquired, and knowledge to be had at the end of another article or book. In the working world, you’re as strong as your ability to shift, adapt and re-invent yourself.
It has its own challenges, but everyone should take comfort from – and not be intimidated by – the thought that our journey in education has no end, and that there are indeed no borders to cross.