Thirst for knowledge or just wetting your whistle?

Interesting discussion going on at Fuel Your Creativity. The difference of learning or being taught. I’m not sure if there’s a difference in the actual acts of each, but the willingness to learn.

renstimpyBack in the mid-nineties (it feels weird to say “back in the” when talking about the 90’s. Were they really so long ago?) I had already been messing with Photoshop & Illustrator, I even made a crude Ren & Stimpy cartoon in Director, mainly because I was taught these through a vocational program my high-school ran that allowed me to doodle on a computer for half the school day. After high school, I decided I would attempt to create my own website on my step-dad’s internet account, mainly because the only website at the time that dealt with the New Orleans Saints (geaux Saints) was a little site called Sainternet (since these were the days before everyone had a domain name, I can’t look it up in the “Wayback Machine“) and I wanted something with a bit more graphical pizzazz. I plunged into Netscape’s tutorials on HTML. I printed every page I could find, threw ‘em in a black binder and studied. When tables were first introduced I had an entire section of twenty or more pages dedicated to them. But a Saints page wasn’t enough. I wanted people to live chat about the Saints. I wanted a page for people to submit poetry, prose & artwork. I wanted a shrine for a daily Calvin & Hobbes strip (didn’t last long. Thank you, Universal Press Syndicate). I wanted the world! Bang, zoom, the world! By the time I was done, I knew the ins-and-outs of HTML and a page that took 3 full minutes to load over my 14.4 modem.

Now that was learning.

And I still do it. While working here I’ve plunged into CSS. I’ve tackled .NET. I’ve messed with AJAX. I’ve, um, tickled XML? Even this very blog was a learning experience. It’s because I want this knowledge. I want to become stronger in my field.

 

The Hungry & The Full

And this is the difference I see in people. I’ve worked with many here at CT/Newtek. Worked and interviewed. Self-taught and schooled alike. Now I’m not going to try to start an argument over self-taught and schooled. That would be just silly (*cough* self-taught rules *cough*), but while self-taughts have that hunger, hence them being self-taught, those that have been schooled fall into two categories: The Hungry and The Full.

While The Hungry came out of school with that same drive to do more, become more, The Full are satisfied with what they have. They’re not interested in new technologies, new ways to do things. They are fine with using tables for all of their web pages. Still using <font color=red>. Look! See? Not even quotation marks! I’ve interviewed people out of school for years still putting up pages that would make FrontPage gag (sorry, I promise I will not bring up FrontPage again. I pinky-swear). The Full have their job. They have a 401k. They have full coverage. They didn’t last.

How were you taught? Were you always enthused about your current trade? Are there exceptions to the rule? Is there a rule? How many times have I used the phrase “self-taught”?

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