Schooled on Life

A friend of Mai Kinda Crazy recently went to a School of Life class, we’ve got a sample of the class to share with you.

I came across this wonderful quote at The School of Life when I went to their class How To Find A Job You Love. Oh the amazing School of Life – imagine learning about finding a job you love, being confident and thinking like an entrepreneur alongside calculus, the periodic table and reading Shakespeare. We’d have all come out of school sitting on a lofty perch at the top of Maslow’s Pyramid gazing down on mere mortals. 

This is what The School of Life does best, lessons in life skills and emotional intelligence through the lens of philosophy, literature and psychology. Given The School of Life is not starved for marketing, I’ll stop there. All I’ll say is that for someone feeling a little lost with their current job and needing some guidance, this was the perfect class for me. And I wasn’t alone – our class had about 20 people of all ages, ranging from successful business consultants to budding restaurateurs. Seems everyone needs a little schooling once in a while!      

Aristotle’s quote encapsulates everything I was seeking from my class – we each have talents, we should use our talents to make a difference and by doing this you can love your job.
Now let’s be real, this concept of loving your job definitely falls into the ‘first world’ category. There are many people who can’t consider whether they love their job because a job is purely a way to meet basic needs. But for the rest of us who are lucky enough not to be in this position, how do you find a job you love?

In the class we were presented with five characteristics and rated them from least to most important in our ideal job.

  • Values: finding work that embodies your values.
  • Goals: having meaningful goals to drive us in our careers.
  • Respect: feeling respected and being treated as a unique individual at work, sometimes this means attaining social status.
  • Talents: using your specific talents in a job.
  • Money: best summed up by ABBA “Money, money, money, always sunny, in the rich man’s world”.

Yes, I know these are all important characteristics and if you manage to attain them all - kudos to you! But the exercise of rating each one helps you narrow down your options and figure out those things that you just can’t budge on.
Once you have an idea about the kind of job you’d like, while you can throw in the towel and run off in hot pursuit, the class taught us a framework to work towards it.

  1. Brainstorm multiple selves: make a list of imagined selves you’d like to explore. These are different careers you might enjoy like you as a writer, you as a researcher, you as a business consultant. Your imagined selves can be as random as that assortment – whatever interests you! 
  2. Crafting experiments: pick one or two of your imagined selves and set up side projects to explore them. Find books, blogs, workshops, internet lessons, download software - whatever you need to test out the imagined self.
  3. Shifting connections: find new people and mentors working in the field you’ve identified, especially those outside your existing work and social circles.

It sounds pretty simple and I think that’s the beauty of it. You can make a big change by taking small steps. The School of Life calls it adopting a strategy of ‘small wins’.

In our class we learnt about the concept of the ‘generalist’, someone who follows several careers simultaneously and cobbles together a portfolio of different skills. You may not be a specialist in any one thing but you do get to pursue multiple talents, interests or goals. 

In fact, our class was taken by someone who I’d call a generalist – background in arts/law, current writer of teen fantasy novels, yoga practitioner and works in a bookshop part-time. Not your traditional career but if it gets you leading a class titled How To Find A Job You Love…I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

Mai Kinda Crazy

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