Curiouser and curiouser

Meet George, he is the ideal employee.

Despite his musky smell and alarming mating habits, he is essential in any office or factory floor, as he has the one quality that will keep him changing, improving and adapting: curiosity.

And yet he is probably the first in line for the chop in most workplaces.

Why is that?

George never stopped learning, as he never finished learning. You can’t finish when there is no end. George is interested in things, he asks questions, of himself and others.

That is his downfall. In most organisations managers will often mistake questions for disagreement. They hear “why?” as “why should I?“. The five-whys never get past the first one.

Yet there are others that aren’t like this. I use WordPress to publish this blog as it is user friendly, smart and flexible. The same qualities that WordPress seem to seek in their employees.

Look at this advert for a job there. There are three qualities that they look for in all jobs, the third is the one I am interested in.

Curiosity and the desire to learn. Our business is changing and growing fast, who knows what will be the skills of tomorrow? Flexibility is key.”

I believe that, just as I suspect that when a job description does NOT mention curiosity or learning explicitly, then it implicitly doesn’t want or encourage it. If qualities are thought important they are mentioned in job descriptions or personal specifications and the like. Even in adverts, like with the WordPress one above.

There is no substitute, knowledge is fixed, it’s a noun. Curious is an adjective like “big” or “red” so it isn’t fixed .

And despite rumours to the contrary, it never kills cats.

Quote me!

“People aren’t limited by what they know, because they can always increase what they know.
Rather they’re limited by what puzzles them, because there’s no way to become curious about something that doesn’t puzzle you.”  Daniel Quinn

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3 Responses to Curiouser and curiouser

  1. David Didau says:

    You say:

    “There is no substitute, knowledge is fixed, it’s a noun. Curious is an adjective like “big” or “red” so it isn’t fixed.”

    Knowledge may be a noun, but it ain’t fixed! Read Mindset by Dr Carol Dweck: not only is knowledge not fixed, neither is intelligence. Happy days.


    • ThinkPurpose says:

      Hi thanks for the comment and pointing people towards that book, i haven’t read it but have read about the ideas in it and heartily agree with them.
      My fault for constructing a glib phrase that can be easily tweeted. To be clear, in this instance I mean knowledge as a fixed amount of facts, skills, capabilities. As you might get if you read and memorised a book and then stopped learning any more about the subject once you’ve gained a qualification or got the job etc. Basically a list of things that can be written down, something finite, which is often how knowledge at work is treated.


  2. Bill Storage says:

    Good stuff!

    That “I Am Curious” poster has yellowed.


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