Discover more from The Remarkable Fools Letter
on ivy masked insecurity
and institutional stories
Going back to school when we want to change our work can be super helpful.
No. Not for the new skills. Not for the connections. You can go create them elsewhere.
Going back to school helps us by giving us a story.
It’s a story we get to tell ourselves.
It’s a story we get to tell the others.
I’m back in school, studying law, sounds a lot better than, I’m still at that job I hate, but I’m working on a few projects. I’m looking for my next steps and am engaged in some self directed learning.
‘Going back to school’ is a kind of shorthand that everyone understands.
‘Creating a path for myself’…
That sounds weird.
School doesn’t condition us for that.
Schooling conditions us to seek out the ‘right answer’.
It is a device primarily focused on socialization and expectation realization rather than discovery and learning.
A lot of the time when ‘we go back to school’ to change careers, what we’re actually saying is: This is a story that I can tell myself and others that they understand so that I don’t have to suffer the embarrassment of taking a stand and being on the hook for something that I really want to explore.
Telling the weird stories about the learning you’re doing in an unproven way feels really exposing. It’s a risky approach that leaves us vulnerable.
The power of having the edifice of an institution behind us protects us from that pain. The perceived value and legitimacy that comes with big fancy buildings and history can be important.
When we don’t believe that we’re enough, ivy covered buildings are wonderful masks for our insecurity.