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Why Skill Upgrades Are Not A Luxury

by admin on April 28, 2009

Guest Writer: Sean D’Souza

Surely you’ve heard of the phrase regarding lousy carpenters.
And lousier tools.

It runs like this: A bad carpenter blames his tools.

Well I agree.

And I disagree.

A great set of tools are useless, even dangerous in the hands of an amateur.But on the other hand, a great carpenter should never suffer with trashy tools.

And I say this, because I’ve seen so many people wasting away their
talents, because they insist on avoiding the upgrade.

And this reminds me of a designer I worked with a while ago.

There she was doing layouts in this archaic version of InDesign.
Which is fine, but the archaic versions are archaic because they
slow you down.

They do stuff the inefficient way.
They make your process drudgery.
And then you wonder: Where did the time go?

The time doesn’t go anywhere.

You and I refuse to understand that we need to upgrade.
Upgrade our tools.
Upgrade our skills.
And not just once in five years, but on a consistent basis.

But surely you upgrade your skills…

Well, when was the last time you went to a seminar?
When was the last time you took three-four days off to learn a new program?
When was the last time you took a nice big chunk of time to learn something, or get yourself the tools you need?

Remember the designer I was telling you about?

She was still using this clunky version of InDesign.
She said she didn’t have the money to spend on a new computer.
Or new software.

Then she went on vacation.

And we all do this kind of crazy stuff.

We fail to see that the tools and the skills we work with will create tens and hundreds of vacations. That we’re literally wasting our lives if it takes us two days to write a decent article.

Or seven hours to do a waffly layout. Or eleventeen days to do a presentation that’s mediocre at best.

You can’t be the world’s greatest rally driver in a crappy car.

You can’t be the world’s greatest chef with crappy ingredients.
You can’t be the world’s greatest computer whiz with Microsoft-DOS.

That’s why I bought a Mac when I have five PCs already.
That’s why I bought a ‘Global’ Knife (worth $200) when I have twenty
other knives.

It’s not a brand image issue.

It’s a real difference.
The Mac works better than anything I’ve worked in PC (and believe me, I’m pretty well versed in dozens of programs–because I love tinkering with programs). I can do more, and do stuff faster and
better with the Mac, than I can ever do with my PC.

The knife, that ‘Global’ Knife.

I wake up every morning dreaming of cutting onions and cutting garlic.
I savour the thought of slicing tomatoes. I fight with my wife to make breakfast (and she lets me win most of the times–funny that!)

It’s the equipment.

A person that falls in love with the equipment falls in love with the process. They have to. There’s little choice.

And the opposite applies as well.

A crappy knife means I’m indifferent to making breakfast. A PC means that I do my presentation cursing all the time.

A bad carpenter blames his tools.
But a good carpenter wakes up dreaming of using those magnificent tools to build a mansion.

And build it fast!

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