On being a noob

June 16, 2008

In 1990 I was a noob gardener. I had a new house that lacked flowers and vegetables. So I bought an assortment of books on gardening. I designed a flower garden, put in basic landscaping, and made a vegetable garden. My expert advice at that time came from a local farmer, Archie, who loved to come and visit.

I moved from that house in 1999 and outsourced the gardening for the next 9 years. This was do the fact that I had had three kids between 1994 and 1999 so my leisure time was spent collapsing in a chair. These days, my kids seem to only need me on allowance day or when they need a ride.

This year I moved into a house with very mature gardens and I’ve rediscovered my love of gardening. I am continually amazed at what’s popping up and blooming. I dusted off my old books to see if I could identify what to leave and what to pull. Weed or perennial? Gee, I wish Archie was here.

Wait! I’ve got 100 Archie’s because, in addition to books, I joined an online social network for gardener’s and subscribed to a bunch of gardening blogs. I am amazed at how rich the experience is. I am learning more now than I did then (but I do miss Archie horribly).

Rather than looking at pictures to try to determine if something is a weed, I can just upload a picture and ask. And, I’ll never get a yes/no. I’ll get stuff about pruning, bugs to watch for, whether to mulch, etc.

I can now imagine what it must feel like to be a new learning professional, reentering the field after a long hiatus, transitioning from an environment that was mostly traditional ILT, or bringing work in-house that was formerly outsourced.

This feeling is nothing new though. Everyone reading this probably has a similar story. Some people might even think the original Noob + Archie was the best model.

For me, this was just a moment of reflection at 5 AM (the time I weed, before anyone needs money or a ride) and a reminder to be patient with those that are just now getting up-to-speed on the state of learning today. I think each of us has a responsibility to provide noobs with a safe way to ask a simple question and get up to speed.

  • http://joanvinallcox.wordpress.com/ Joan Vinall-Cox

    Lovely, both the commentary and the pictures!

    Joan Vinall-Coxs last blog post..Email Survival and Work Literacy

  • http://joanvinallcox.wordpress.com/ Joan Vinall-Cox

    Lovely, both the commentary and the pictures!

    Joan Vinall-Coxs last blog post..Email Survival and Work Literacy

  • http://michelemartin.typepad.com/thebambooprojectblog/ Michele Martin

    Janet, you are so right that our roles are to provide that safe space to ask and get answers to questions. For me it helps to always be in that learning space myself, where I have my own questions and know how it feels to get good (and “bad”) answers. Personally I love the questions–it lets me know that people are getting curious and it’s that curiosity that provides the opening for more learning and change!

    BTW–I feel you on kids only needing you for allowance and rides. 🙂

    Michele Martins last blog post..Finding Time Means Finding "Instead of" Rather than "In Addition To"

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/tomwerner Tom Werner

    Janet, you weed at 5 AM?? You’re full of surprises…

    Tom Werners last blog post..Our Company Outing to a Virtual Beach

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/tomwerner Tom Werner

    Janet, you weed at 5 AM?? You’re full of surprises…

    Tom Werners last blog post..Our Company Outing to a Virtual Beach

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com/ Janet Clarey

    Thanks Joan!
    Michelle…that lifelong learner quality is key.
    Tom, yes 5 AM. Ain’t that a kick?

  • http://www.brandon-hall.com Janet Clarey

    Thanks Joan!
    Michelle…that lifelong learner quality is key.
    Tom, yes 5 AM. Ain’t that a kick?

  • http://2coach.wordpress.com/ lynn wernham

    I find that in all the varied work I do I’m often a noob to start with. I think it’s a great place to be since there is always something new to learn and share.
    Love the pictures

    lynn wernhams last blog post..Changing Expectations

  • http://2coach.wordpress.com/ lynn wernham

    I find that in all the varied work I do I’m often a noob to start with. I think it’s a great place to be since there is always something new to learn and share.
    Love the pictures

    lynn wernhams last blog post..Changing Expectations

  • http://michelemartin.typepad.com/thebambooprojectblog/ Michele Martin

    Janet, you are so right that our roles are to provide that safe space to ask and get answers to questions. For me it helps to always be in that learning space myself, where I have my own questions and know how it feels to get good (and “bad”) answers. Personally I love the questions–it lets me know that people are getting curious and it's that curiosity that provides the opening for more learning and change!

    BTW–I feel you on kids only needing you for allowance and rides. 🙂

    Michele Martins last blog post..Finding Time Means Finding "Instead of" Rather than "In Addition To"

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