Cold Turkey and Higher Learning

As a vegetarian it would be inappropriate for me to go Cold Turkey. Nevertheless I am trying to quit the addiction of social media. It’s hard though. The fear of missing out on the pictures of a friend’s lunch, or the endearing shots of a relatives’ cute little rug rat, plays on my mind. What would I say to them next time we meet? No, I didn’t see how cute Junior was because I have unfriended you.

Undoubtedly my life would have a major void if I didn’t see at least one fluffy kitten pic every day. But I recognise it as an addiction, or perhaps a sickness, and I am trying to cure myself.

There is the odd time though, when there is a post on social media which makes me think again about leaving. This time it was a commercial real estate agency looking to expand their team. One of the options was for “career entry positions for Property Graduates”. Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of further education, and university degrees. When I am being wheeled in for brain surgery, I want the surgeon to have higher education specialising in brain surgery, not the history of French Literature, or contemporary hip hop dance.

Education is one of the elements which has advanced our civilisation. There is a huge place for vocational training and education. When I cross a bridge over a river, I want to know it was designed by a qualified structural engineer.

But much of the education and learning which has advanced our society has been in non-vocational areas. And the path of learning how to learn can be valuable. Especially in occupations where the so-called “soft “ skills are so valuable.

I would have thought that selling real estate was one of those occupations where the soft skills are as valuable as the technical knowledge learned in acquiring a property degree. Do you have an enquiring mind? Do you know how to ask questions? Can you communicate? Do you understand numbers? Too often the answer to all these questions from property graduates in the industry is a resounding no. That’s not to say that all property graduates are lacking in the skills which make a great agent. Certainly the ones who quickly learn how much they still have to learn, are on the right trajectory. 

But I would have thought that any agency wanting to hire and nurture the superstars of the future would be casting their net much wider than just property graduates. Just maybe a hip hop graduate would have the soft skills to make the grade. After all, it can’t be that hard to learn the technical side of a property degree!