It blows my mind, but it’s already been two years since business school finished.  I really find this hard to believe.  Time definitely goes faster as you get older.

I’ve had a good amount of education in my life and I’m planning on more throughout my time here on Earth.  Learning is a hugely important aspect of life, it’s something that drives me forward.  When I was a kid, I never realized that learning is actually really fun.  Doing well in school was never an issue for me, but learning itself wasn’t something that intrigued me at the time.  At that age, maybe you’re just figuring things out still.  Not really sure, but at the ripe old age of 28, the script has been flipped.  Learning is a heck of a lot of fun, but my time to do so (outside of business learning) is pretty limited.

The last two years have gone by so quickly, it’s tough to decipher everything that has happened.  Here are some general thoughts about being in school and out, learning along the way:

Time spent in school is generally worth less than time spent in the real world in terms of experience and ability to execute.  A general rule that “makes sense” to me is that each year in a job where you are challenged and doing new things is worth 3-4x a year in school learning conceptually.

Time spent in school is generally worth MORE than time spent in the real world in terms of learning how to approach things at a conceptual level.   The experience you gain in the real world is often biased and somewhat  imperfect in that it simply isn’t always applicable to all situations.  To simplify this idea, school allows you to expand your thinking processes whereas real world experience teaches you how to do very real and concrete tasks.

Both of these things are good.

Time with a job goes a lot faster than without.  I remember in school how it seemed very slow at times (although holistically it was a flash).  Time since has gone SO fast.  Yet they are the same timeframes.

Work ethic is incredibly important, regardless of what you do.  Work hard and good things will happen.

Businesses and their cultures have incredible impact on your role within an organization.  The two large companies I’ve worked for at a professional level are very different and what is expected and how things are done is also very different.  Yet those two are more similar than the small company I started my career with.  And even all those are incredibly different from the non profit that I worked for.

Differing experiences will teach you a lot in itself.  That’s not a reason to leave a good role, but having new experiences will offer you a great deal of perspective that can help you.  My career has been quite short, but those multiple roles have taught me a great deal in that respect.

Organizations will start habits that are both good and bad.  I’ve found my creativity to be noticeably limited as I’m busier and busier.  The ability to think “outside the box” (trite in itself) is severely limited when expectations are set otherwise.  Large organizations can and will teach you a lot of good things, but being creative is not the strong suit.  I’ve also learned a great deal about professionalism and working in cross functional teams.

Learning is important, but realizing when and how you are learning may be as important.  If you don’t realize that you are or aren’t learning, it will be difficult to know if it’s time for a change.  This is important to keep your skill sets fresh and not develop too many bad habits.  I’ve worked with many people that seem to have stopped wanting to learn new things or improve.  Some of these people are very young some are not.  I don’t want to stereotype young people as learners and older people as unwilling to learn, because it’s not true.  Some people are just eager to learn throughout their lives; those people are likely to have long term success regardless of what they choose to do.

Positivity is a critical aspect of life.  The truth is that anything we choose to do in life will have ups and downs, but the way we approach it will have a very large effect on the outcome.  Stay positive!

I’ll leave it on that!  Good one to end on!  :-)