So far in my life I have been learning, and very recently in a discussion with a very senior person in the industry, I realized unlearning is equally essential.
The discussion was over a job profile in an institute which is used to and has to work as per rules and guidelines. Till date my work experience is Healthcare focused, Finance segment was new to me. During our 20-minute discussion, after looking at my profile which has umpteen academic qualifications, something which I have stopped counting now, he said, “So Asma, basically you are jack of all trades?” To which my quick reply was, “Even Master of a few.” And he gave me a mile and thumbs up.
But it was what he said after this that made me think – think hard.
I consider every interview as a learning experience. Whether you accept the job or not, that is different, as your decision could be based on various reasons, but the learning you get from every interview, I feel is immense. With a smile on his face, he said, “Even I come from varied academic and career background, with about 27 years of experience. But Asma, I am yet learning, so maybe I cannot call myself a Master yet. And sometimes unlearning, so that I do justice to the profile I am appointed for.”
Yes, unlearning is essential—essential to adjust to your surroundings, essential to get along with your new colleagues, essential to become a part of the new system. Technical learning is essential, but non-technical learning can lead to prejudice. Unlearning helps us get rid of the invisible bias baggage which we carry where ever we go, without even realizing that the bag is so heavy and we are hunched under its weight.
I believe, one can be master at a young age or may be after years, depending on your focus and how fast a learner you are. But to ‘Master All’ is not easy. After the conversation, I realized that I have mastered a few sections of academics and life, and currently, in the process of mastering more subjects, however, there are still many areas of my life that need a focused attention.
In today’s corporate circus, it is not enough to be a juggler, if that is your specialty; you also need to be an acrobat, a musician, a cyclist, a gymnast, an animal trainer, a magician, and sometimes, even a clown to ensure smooth flow of the show everyday. You may not Master all of it, but you still will be Jack of All Trades – the so called multitasker – and a Master of more than one because ‘none’ today ‘is not an option’. So yes, you learn and keep learning, but what is redundant and a heavy burden to carry along, you unlearn those, unpack those, so that you move fast, light and quick.
I am still thinking it over. If you have some thoughts, please feel free to share.