my grandfather’s advice

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update: dave ferguson just added this post to the work/learning blog carnival for March.  check out the other contributors’ thoughts on the need for passion in our work and learning.

clark quinn hits on a key concept that i’ve lived and worked by all my life.  when i was seventeen, my grandfather pulled me aside and give me a sage piece of advice.

my grandfather – ed lee

he said:

son.  you need to find something you love to do for you work, because you are going to be doing it for most of the waking hours of your life.

coming from a man who was a master carpenter who spend all of his spare time when he wasn’t working on a construction site in his home workshop, this made sense to me.  fortunately, three years into my professional life, i stumbled upon the field of educational publishing and fell in love with the field of learning.

like most learning professionals i know, i love helping people learn by personally helping them either by facilitating a learning experience or mentoring them one-on-one.  i also love constructing learning materials and experiences that will reach numerous people.

what it comes down to is that when my heart sings,  when i feel that all my knowledge and experience can be used to advance a greater good, when i feel i’m making a difference in other peoples and my, lives then there’s very little labor in my work.

as clark also points out, as a manager and as a learning professional i’ve found that if i can fire the intrinsic motivation in those i’m working with, they end up often esceeding even their own expectations.  research study after research study on employee and learner motivation show that intrinsic motivators (do i make a difference?  is my work contributing to the company’s goals?  will this prepare me for the future?) are much more powerful drivers than extrinsic motivators (salary, performance reviews, an A versus a B).

this is why i’ve always seen myself (see my post training vs. learning from five years ago) as a learning professional who tries to draw learners to learning versus a teacher who “makes” people learn.

so grandpa.  thanks for the advice you gave me 30 years ago.  i love what i do for work and work at what i love.

Karyn Romeis on 3/16/09

Nice post! Your Granddad was a wise man! My own Granddad thought that one should do a proper job like being a civil servant which he, his father and his grandfather did for all their working lives. It wasn’t about enjoying your job, it was about doing something respectable.

Did you know that Clark’s post was part of a blog carnival hosted by Dave Ferguson? See my contribution. You should send Dave a link.

Dave Ferguson: Dave’s Whiteboard » Blog Archive » Working/Learning carnival: the latest session on 3/6/09

[…] as is the renewal of the tradition in today’s world.  Dave Lee joins the carnival with My Grandfather’s Advice, where he looks at how his own career has developed in no small part because of that […]

Brian on 2/28/09

Great post.. and I think his advice might seem like common sense to a lot of people, but it’s actually something people should really think about. Because of the economy, a lot of people are a lot more worried about how much money they will make, and may even go into careers they don’t necessarily enjoy just because they are seen as stable jobs financially. For example, it seems like a lot of people go into healthcare for jobs such as nursing because it’s something that’s always in demand.. but they may not consider what goes into it. Healthcare jobs are very demanding, and the amount of work and time they require may turn some people off. My dad works in that field and even when he’s not working, he’s usually on call and most of the time he gets called and has to go in. I think I am lucky because I am going into a field that I am actually very interested in and like doing so far (Instructional Technology) and one that seems to be doing well even in the current economic situation. I also have to say I like the fact you consider yourself someone who “tries to draw learners to learning versus a teacher who ‘makes’ people learn”. That’s something I think I would like to consider myself, especially since the work I’m doing as a student now involves developing interactive learning modules, and I think since we have to consider the design and appeal of them, learners should hopefully feel ‘drawn’ to learning the material and more interested than they would be just reading the material in a textbook for example.

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