söndag 12 februari 2012

CV’s – the death of renaissance people

The attribute “Renaissance” and the expression “Renaissance Man” is all about broad knowledge in multiple disciplines. The ambition and what is attractive is the ability to do different things at different levels within different areas and by that experience and knowledge create new things and unexpected wonders.

This was once very popular, this was once highly respected. The men and women who could master completely different tasks and succeed in doing so where regarded with respect and admired for their stamina, their never ending enthusiasm for new knowledge and willingness to tackle new situations.

Most people today will at different intervals end up in situations where one is asked to present earlier work or experiences. The most common way of doing so is by creating a CV, a resume. If you are looking for a new job or a new consultancy assignment this is the first screening before one even gets to talk to people.

The employer or the consultant manager will have a list of skills required for the job. This is often a quite narrow list of bullet points that one has to match.

So if you have been around a bit, done a few things other than just the looked after previous tasks, you are disqualified. In the long run this limits your paths and once starting down one road there is no way off that. In the other end that gives the organization, step-by-step, employees and staff that are inflexible, lack outside influences, lack abilities to adjust to new situations and super experts on one thing and one thing alone. Is this the desired way we should go?

Generally there are two accepted groups that one can be sorted in, experts or generalist. Either one can know a lot about few things or one can know a little about a lot of things. That is the common idea.  The renaissance person that actually actively cultivates his or her skills in several areas is left out of this classification.

If you are one of these persons you will find yourself creating a zillion different CV’s depending on what actual skills are asked for in a particular assignment. But you will quite often be sorted out anyway since you didn’t do just that particular thing for the last century or so. By this approach Da Vinci would never have been allowed to create defense machines, art and scientific experiments. Cicero would never have been a politician, a philosopher and author. Galileo would not have been allowed to be a master of mathematics, painting and play the lute for kings and dignitaries.  

Have you ever run into a project or application where one can see that things have been done in the way they used to be done ten years ago? Even as this is a brand new application? How is that? Well, the simple answer is if one continue to select people who have done a particular thing, and only that, for the last ten to fifteen years, you will get a product or application that is produced in the same way as it was for ten or fifteen years ago.

Have you ever found yourself going to several meetings and then afterword being refused by mutually exclusive reasons? For one you where to technical, for the other you where to broad, for a third you hadn’t done so and so many years of exactly that particular thing. Although you do have the skills asked for, you have experience of that type of work and you have succeeded before in performing the same tasks?

Then you are probably someone who refuses to be locked in by conventional constrains on your ability to learn new things. Someone who to takes on new challenges and succeed in completing them. Someone who wants to expand your experience beyond what is the absolute minimum for what is needed and someone who can see new things and new solutions.

You are probably a renaissance person.

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