The Daily Stoic for October 29th, “Character Is Fate”.

“Each person acquires their own character, but their official roles are designated by chance. You should invite some to your table because they are deserving, others because they may come to deserve it.”

—SENECA, MORAL LETTERS, 47.15b

Today’s daily stoic meditation talks about character, and how it tells more of a man or woman than past jobs, education, or success stories.

“In the hiring process, most employers look at where someone went to school, what jobs they’ve held in the past. This is because past success can be an indicator of future successes. But is it always? There are plenty of people who were successful because of luck. Maybe they got into Oxford or Harvard because of their parents. And what about a young person who hasn’t had time to build a track record? Are they worthless?”

Somehow life has taught me that the stoics were completely right on this one.

Character Is Fate

In Spain, we have the term “Titulitis“. It roughly translates to “degreeitis“. We use it to refer to situations -especially in an employment or job context- where people are valued only for their careers or degrees, not for their real worth.

The point here is that someone might be a very competent person, proactive, creative and willing to work. Someone who has a lot to offer to a company or project. But if this person does not have a master’s degree, Ph.D and successful portfolio, he or she will be disregarded.

In my opinion, a degree is not a guarantee of any kind. I have met completely incompetent and stupid Ph.Ds, and brilliant people without a degree. Of course, a degree means you went through college and studied something, but in my experience, that’s not everything.

Especially in our digital world, everyone can learn virtually anything on the internet. When I graduated in Computer Science Engineering, I had no idea of real programming. I knew some archaic languages and lots of algorithms and protocols I’ve never used in my entire life.

I learned iOS programming on my own, from scratch, on the internet. That allowed me to quit my job and start freelancing as an iOS developer. What made me land my first customers was not my formal education as an engineer, but hard work, passion, and the fact that, as a multipotentialite, I had lots of different skills (such as mobile interface design, product launching, or data modeling) to add to the product.

Thus, for my companies, I would rather hire someone that’s passionate, self-taught and creative than a dull person with all the degrees, master’s degrees and qualifications in their resumé. Learning a technical skill is easier and faster than changing your character.

Conclusion

Today’s Daily Stoic, “Character Is Fate”, talks about how we sometimes evaluate a person only by their resumé, when in fact we should focus on their character.

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