Tag Archives: knowledge

The art of being a generalist

Now that I’m specializing in environmental management… the more I realize thatI want to be a generalist.

When I was 17 and deciding on what I should do for university, I was really hard pressed to pick something -anything. I didn’t like English, or languages for that matter, wasn’t a math or science person, didn’t want anything in the social sciences,  the list goes on.  The only thing that somewhat clicked with me was business marketing.  What can I say, I like people:) With international business as my undergrad degree, I can’t say that I’m too disappointed either.

But now, in round two of university life, I can’t stop thinking about what I don’t know yet.

I’m learning that I am interested in psychology, philosophy, politics, geography, history, technology, sciences, (well, still not math yet… need to get over the numbers phobia), art, languages, the list goes on. And this is showing in my course options: business, environmental science, sociology, technology, Finnish, Spanish.

Even in my free time I like going to my new favourite site  www.freedocumentaries.org. I think of it as being a nerdy couch potato;)

I think that knowing a little bit of a lot goes a long way. And one thing is for sure… being a generalist sure makes for great conversations – especially over a round of pints 😉


Time to be curious

One of the best pieces of advice came to me from a teacher that I only had for about 3 weeks in university and she scared the bejeezus out of me.

“Now that you’re a student in university you have the time to be curious.  You’re at a point in your life when you can really open up your eyes and just question things in life, explore new things and educate yourself on what you’re passionate about.”

Great advice for life. But… is it really limited to being a student?  Being curious and questioning the basics should be a lifetime trait, not something slotted for university.

I hope I’m still curious when I’m 80. Maybe that’s what being *wise* is all about;)

Ok, off to jazz dance class…. yep, I’m at it again and it feels  great. (Danced for 15 years before university started….for some reason, “working out” wasn’t something that happened during those great 4 years of beer and cramming!)


Are we being presumptuous to say that we’re in the “knowledge economy”?

I’m just bringing up the question. Don’t really have an answer for it…. but are we being presumptuous to say that we’re in the “knowledge economy”?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not disagreeing with the concept of the knowledge economy at all. See excerpt from Wikipedia (how I love that site!)

Various observers describe today’s global economy as one in transition to a “knowledge economy”, as an extension of “information society“. The transition requires that the rules and practices that determined success in the industrial economy need rewriting in an interconnected, globalised economy where knowledge resources such as know-how, expertise, and intellectual property are more critical than other economic resources such as land, natural resources, or even manpower. According to analysts of the “knowledge economy,” these rules need to be rewritten at the levels of firms and industries in terms of knowledge management and at the level of public policy as knowledge policy or knowledge-related policy. [citations needed]

Agreed. We need smarts to move up that ladder. There’s even a talent paradox (read the Manpower report here – great graph on pg. 5) going on right now in almost every country. We’ve become so smart that we’ve automated all of the low-skilled jobs to cut labour costs – leaving those that are not so educated unemployed. Consequently, we’re facing extreme shortage on talented (note: knowledgeable) people to take on the top jobs. I’m not concerned about the automation process- we need to move forward- but it’s my conviction that the education system is to blame for the lack of intelligence. When we say we’re in a “knowledge economy” then why are we teaching to the lowest common denominator of intelligence? Why are they being so easy on us? Why aren’t we forced to do more math and science? As you can tell….I’m quite passionate about this.

But here’s the presumptuous part:

What comes after the “knowledge economy”? Doesn’t it seem like we’ve put ourselves on a pedestal? Forget the Agricultural Age or the Industrial Age; we’re smarter than all of you and we’ve entered the Knowledge Age.

BUT… what happens if, after all this, it turns out that we weren’t that smart. Say our generation uses up much of the resources (both natural and capital) and we essentially rob our future grandchildren of ever living our type of lifestyle. Will they laugh at us in history class when they hear that we called ourselves “knowledgeable”?

Hmmm….something to ponder.

I’m reading (well should be reading…) my Environmental Science book and the author suggests that we need to move into a Sustainability Age. I agree.

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