Summary: Apprenticeships are a great way to learn the rules and power dynamics of a new environment. To be successful in an apprenticeship, one should observe the environment and the people within it, without trying to impress or moralize. Charles Darwin was an example of someone who was successful in an apprenticeship by emptying himself of preconceptions and training himself to observe and analyze the environment.
- Knowledge of how to get things done already exists in a particular field; Entering a new career or environment requires observing these workplace conventions, rules of behavior, and standards, as well as power relationships in the workplace.
- When entering an apprenticeship, one should become the passive observing apprentice, not try to impress, beware of false praise, acknowledge reality, drop preconceptions, and show seriousness in learning.
- There are directly-communicated rules and procedures for success within an environment, as well as unstated culture and values of an environment.
- Observe the people with the ‘golden touch’ of success, and observe negative examples as cautionary tales.
- Political, social, and power relationships exist between individuals in a group; Observe procedural and political rules, but do not attempt to change the culture.
- Every task offers opportunities to observe the world at work. Over time, more of the reality that eluded you at first is seen and understood.
- Charles Darwin studied life and perceived the unwritten rules onboard his ship, as well as with gauchos and other local communities. He emptied himself of any preconceptions about life and its origins, trained himself to see things as they are without theorizing or generalizing, and amassed enough information to submit to and absorb the reality of his voyage.
- Critical reasons for emptying yourself of preconceptions, and training yourself to see things as they are, without theorizing or generalizing until enough information is amassed about the reality include:
- knowing your environment inside and out
- stilling your ego and looking outward, and
- observing, ideating, and theorizing, and analyzing