Why learning can be very useful in a difficult situation

When do people learn the most and when? Is it from a want or a need, given the situation they are presently in? Some enjoy learning and see it as a happy journey to acquire new knowledge, skills and abilities, while others see it as a painful hurdle that has been forced upon them by others or a necessary inconvenience they have to go through to achieve their goals; be it grades for to get into University, obtain a higher salary or gain better job prospects.

From my own experiences I've always learned more when I had to, thrown in at the deep end and had to swim. Going out of the comfort zone rather than being on autopilot most of the time.


However, what can be scary at first often becomes enjoyable as you adapt and practice your new knowledge and skills for returns that weren't experienced before. Many times I've encountered students starting their professional procurement examinations (CIPS) who, very often, hadn't sat an exam for more than ten, sometimes twenty years. It's not really surprising that those were the students that gained the most satisfaction when they passed their first exam!

Now I'm in a similar situation of unfamiliarity after losing my job in the Oil and Gas Industry along with tens of thousands of others. This is a learning experience in itself but learning new and doing things different things can greatly help a difficult situation.  This was the catalyst why I started my MBA in Energy Management at Aberdeen University in January and formed Lean Procurement Ltd very soon after. Each involving learning; being learned and learning others.

I initially started my MBA to improve my job prospects, studying towards a recognised qualification. What I actually received was a lot more, this included:-

Boosting my confidence greatly after losing my job

Meeting and networking with individuals I wouldn't previously have met

Giving me an insight into many other opportunities in my career

Igniting the potential and energy of what I can achieve


The first module in the MBA revolved around leadership which involved individual profiling, it was then that I realised that my character and personality fitted extremely well into the ability to learn others. This would explain why there are so many teachers in my family! I also learned that the stage I was in can be explained as a journey (second module!), as outlined in my post here

It was a difficult decision financially to commit to the course but fortunately the course was flexible enough to only require funding per module. Moreover, I also received financial assistance from the University to help me get started because of my situation. From my experience starting my MBA I've seen first hand how valuable just starting out on the qualification has been for myself, this is the rationale why I offer the same structure for my own courses with assistance given to those that are keen to develop themselves.

However, for those who are partaking any recognised qualification to re-enter the job market (which is a very valid reason) will definitely get out a whole lot more.


Colin McIntyre, Lean Procurement Ltd