Ignorance from the Outside

I remember when I first started working at Greensgrow. It’s funny now to think about it, but I assumed that because it’s an environmentally-focused organization that deals in produce, that everyone on staff would be radical environmentalists, great cooks, and knowledgeable farmers. I was nervous at first because I didn’t have any of those skills at all. So foolish!

As it turns out, you don’t need to be a good farmer to manage a farm. And you don’t need to know the difference between an Ida Red and a Red Delicious to keep inventory in stock and sell apples.

 I made a classic mistake– I was nevous because I lacked skills that I assumed were relevant, but that were actually pretty superficial. What I  had, and what they were really looking for, were less specific but more valuable skills. Leadership, responsibility, insight, humility, competence.

This can be solved by (1) being more confident and direct with my abilities, and (2) recognizing the domain independence of certain skills. If I had gone into that interview talking about how much I know about produce, they would have laughed at me. But they, like all smart people, know that the right knowledge doesn’t necessarily look like the right knowledge to outsiders.

In other words, what looks like knowledge might not be knowledge, and what looks like ignorance isn’t necessarily ignorance.