Are You a Knowledge Snob?

by Emily Jasper on December 29, 2009

This post is part of the Guest Blog Grand Tour over at Life Without Pants – an epic journey of over 75 guest posts. Want to learn more about Matt Cheuvront & see how far the rabbit hole goes? Subscribe to the Life Without Pants RSS feed & follow him on Twitter to keep in touch!

One thing I love about Emily is that she doesn’t shy away from the “Gen Y” label. With a blog title like “From the Gen Y Perspective” it sort of engrained in her approach. In a community full of folks who are “afraid” of such a label, it’s refreshing to see someone who embraces it and runs with it.

Generation Y is an interesting species – some love us, some hate us, and a lot of us don’t want to be “us” – but if there’s one knock on us as a generation, it’s our “know it all” attitude. And what’s worse, when we learn something, we’re hesitant to “share the wealth” and help educate others.

This is where I strive to be different – with my work approach – with my career as a freelancer, and in my personal life – as Emily can attest to, my goal is to work WITH people – to train them and give people the tools to go and succeed on their own. It may not be free knowledge (a guy’s gotta pay the rent) but I am more than willing to educate anyone who’s interested in learning what I know.

The same can be said for my desire to learn. I live by the mantra that if you’re not learning, you’re not living. Life IS learning – when you settle in and become overly content with what you (already) know, you stifle your own personal growth and development.

Think about the places you’ve worked up until now. Did they encourage learning? Did they cross train you on what the rest of the team was doing? With me, that’s never been the case, and I’ve never understood. Not to mention it spelled disaster when someone was out of the office and the rest of the crew didn’t have a clue on what to do.

My current boss told me – from day one – “You’re not promotable unless you’re replaceable”. What it meant in my case was, I was starting in a new position for the company and needed to create processes for everything I was doing. Why? So, if need be or when the time comes, I (or anyone) could easily train and educate another person on everything I was doing.

It’s smart – in fact, I don’t understand why there isn’t more cross training. I get that everyone has their own role within a corporate structure, but I also believe that people work better when they understand the work that is being done around them.

What do you think? Should companies spend more time cross-training their staff? Is Generation Y less prone to share their wealth of knowledge with others?