CAREER DEVELOPMENT / DEC. 01, 2014
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How to Overshadow Formal Education Limits in your Career

For centuries now, formal education has enjoyed prominence as the ultimate path to a bright and fulfilling career. This is something that we see every day. In fact from the look of things, the mad rush for academic papers does not seem to be slowing down any time soon. However, despite its immense popularity, the formal education system is not as flawless as it seems. And to confirm this, you just have to look at some key aspects such as:

The Extent of Career Fulfilment

Everybody has a unique personality that requires a unique career experience. However, formal education does not fully embrace this variety considering the limited career choices on offer. And since no one wants to be left out, we would rather compromise and choose a career path based on the limiting options available. Few are bold enough to curve out their own unique and fulfilling career without a formal education.

The Employment Rate

Most career paths offered by formal education institutions are geared towards finding employment. However, many institutions are churning out more graduates than the job market can bear. There is also the issue of obsolete degrees being offered despite the fact that they’re irrelevant to the current job market. Last but not least, we’ve got half-baked graduates that have good grades but lack the necessary skills needed for the job market at the moment.

The Rate of Job Creation

Many courses offered by formal education institutions are biased towards employment. Very few courses teach students on how to adapt as entrepreneurs when unemployment rates are high. That’s why few graduates can create job opportunities for themselves, let alone for other people.

Practicality of Knowledge Gained

Being knowledgeable is good since it helps you make well calculated and informed moves. Unfortunately, formal education tends to offer knowledge filled with irrelevant jargon that cannot be applied in real sense. And as I said earlier, we’ve got graduates with great grades, but poor relevant skill.

Unnecessary and Inconveniencing Costs

When we decide to venture into business, we consider the returns. One would therefore expect to have a well paying career having pursued an expensive degree or something similar. This however is not the case for the majority. There is also the aspect of time whereby some courses take a long to pursue and they tend to eat up on time that would have been used to pursue other career ventures.

How then does one systematically overshadow formal education limits in their career?

#1 Value the Non-formal aspect of Careers

When we evaluate our careers, we tend to look at activities related to our formal education. This limiting angle tends to overlook the natural skill and talent we display along the way. Some of us are gifted in ways that the formal education system cannot address. Others are quite skilled in a certain hobby, but they tend to underestimate it because it’s not recognized by formal education.

#2 Take advantage of learning alternatives

If formal education does not address certain skill and talent, learn to seek for alternatives. There are many talent schools coming up every day to foster natural talent. There is also the internet which boasts of vast resources such as online degrees, e-book courses and so much more. Alternatively, you can systematically gain relevant skill in the workplace by pursuing new challenges that don’t necessarily require academic credentials to them pull off. However, in a bid to take advantage of alternatives, you should...

#3 Learn to Discern Relevant Knowledge from Irrelevant Jargon

The great thing about seeking learning alternatives is that you are in control. There is no one giving you terms and conditions. You are qualified enough to know what you want based on the career experience you’ve had on the ground. That should be the ultimate guide to discerning relevant knowledge from irrelevant jargon. You’ve also got to consider how exclusive the knowledge is to avoid pursuing a flooded career path. In any case, exclusive knowledge is likely to be relevant for years before it becomes a well known ’secret’.

Very few people are daring enough to pursue a career beyond formal education limits. You’ll therefore look odd and different for making such an unconventional decision. But as Mary-Louise Parker once said, "People have a problem with me being different, but that propels me forward in life."

Image Credit: prachachat

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