By Nicholas Stanley
Choosing the lessons we learn
I’ve just been fired.
I was sacked from my ski instructor job two hours before the end of my last shift. I went skiing in uniform during my lunch break and in doing so broke the rules. I was caught, given a warning and then proceeded to ignore that warning.
I thought I would get away with it. I didn’t. I was caught and dismissed on the spot.
On the face of it this bears no direct relevance to anything advertising but hear me out…
I hope and expect to learn countless lessons every day at the SCA and often the lesson to be learnt will be obvious. If X mentor from Y agency with Z years of experience tells you something, it is probably worth taking on board, whether you agree with them or not. This is even more the case when you are being taught a set skill like coding or how to use Photoshop.
It is easy to learn when you are being intentionally taught something, or at very least it is easy to spot what you are supposed to learn. Learning from experience, however, is not so easy.
Take my example above. I have never been fired before so it has stayed with me and there seem to be so many things I could take away from the experience. How do I know which is right?
Do I castigate myself for breaking the rules and ignoring a warning?
Well I only lost out on two hours work and can’t envisage myself ever needing a reference from a ski school…
But it’s always better to end on good terms…
Then again, I can’t get another visa to work in Australia so in the end that makes no difference…
And it’s a classic story to tell my mates and a life experience I’ll definitely remember; is that not worth more than a couple extra hours pay?
Or do I look like an idiot walking around recounting how I was such a loose cannon and ignored the warning when really I felt ashamed when it happened?
The above is a glimpse into my headspace in the half hour following my banishment from ski school and I have not yet settled on an answer. It has, nonetheless, posed the interesting question of how to decide what to take away from a moment like that.
Heading into this academic year we are all sure to face lots of rejections and negative moments. I guess the majority of ideas we produce will be rubbish and I fully expect to be told as much. I also imagine that those of us that end up really thriving will be those that take the right lessons out of such low moments.
So maybe what I was supposed to learn from my sacking was the importance of learning from such experiences, rather than any actual concrete lesson. Anyway, I’m still in a muddle about the whole thing and am at risk of making matters worse by crystallising on paper the whirring of my internal jury. It is quite clearly still out so, for now at least, that will have to do.