Learning Rebel: Not Just for Learning, but All Day, Everyday

Some days you just want to give in.  

Give in to the masses.  Give in to the “Gate Keepers” and to the “Recruiters” (in quotes for a reason, some should just simply be called “Job Ad Posters”).  You just want to throw in the towel, “Okay LinkedIn, you have my soul”.  CareerBuilder, please send me more spam from insurance companies who insist, that upon reviewing my resume, “I am a good fit”.  However, the time came when I knew I needed to kick myself in the ass is when I actually thought about giving The Ladders my money.

I have been on the job market for a couple of soul-sucking months now and I could write some very pointed thoughts about the recruiting industry – but I won’t (not yet). This post is about believing in the Rebel within and having faith in those skills, mindset and experience (regardless of if you are gainfully employed or not).

How does this apply to Learning Rebels? Glad you asked.  An important part of achieving what we set out to do in Learning or otherwise, is overcoming bumps in the road we may experience along the way and knowing that being a Learning Rebel is not about being a Rebel in the Learning space – it’s about being a Rebel in your life; how you deal with success and those bumps in the road. I have discussed on many occasions, the fact that being a Rebel is hard, this is not about skill or experience, it’s about MINDSET and I needed a mindset adjustment.  STAT.


I needed Rebel inspiration to shake off the funk, so I took to the internet.  This is what I found.  For you Rebels out there who sometimes feel the walls are closing in, or are butting up against barriers, or are partnered with people who cannot think past 1985, or forced to work within teams with which an original idea would die of loneliness.  This is for you. I suggest that you spend some quality time with these people and get your Rebel on!

J.K. Rowling – The Harry Potter author’s story is practically the stuff of legends. Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (the first book in the series) as a struggling single mother on welfare, her Rebel mindset was not accepting the first rejection letter she received, nor the second or third.  She received 12 rejections from publishers. Of course we all know how this story ends – The Harry Potter series has a permanent place on book shelves all over the world and now J.K. Rowling is now worth an estimated $1 billion. Billion with a “B”.

Richard Branson – Not only taking chances in business, but in his life. He who was told that he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire.  Just look at his business timeline, this is a person who really is a rebel.   What I didn’t know is that at one point, Richard Branson had 125 law suits against his empire, but he knows that there are going to be haters out there when you are doing big things, but being a Rebel is about the thrill of the risk you have to take to accomplish those big things.

Bill Gates – Love Microsoft or hate it – one cannot deny Bill Gates. Gates took the risk of dropping out of college to live his dream of creating “Microsoft” the business.  Which, at first, was built on nothing but a vision, the vision of the personal computer being a useful tool on every office desk and in every home.  Yet today, if Bill Gates were completing an online hiring questionnaire he would automatically be dumped in the “unqualified” pile due to lack of college credentials.  Interesting, isn’t it?

Jeff Bezo – I love this description.  “Jeff Bezos: The Ultimate Disrupter”  full article here.   Bezos is the ultimate disrupter and his competitors had better take notice (if they haven’t already). He has upended the book industry and displaced electronics merchants. He’s willing to take risks and lose money, yet Amazon’s stock is up. His Rebel mindset is to place the customer first (gasp).  To quote: “We innovate by starting with the customer and working backwards,”  For a bottom-line driven culture, this is indeed risky and Rebel-like and it’s what makes him the success he is today.


After conducting this research, I am feeling much better about my Learning Rebel status.  I have skills and experience – do I really have to change my mindset to become accepted by the gate keeper, so I can then be passed to the actual hiring manager?  After reading about the above people and after doing some ego boosting within my network – I’m going with no.

It’s the Rebel in me that refuses to play the game.  I am not going to go all Stratego (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratego) with the hiring process.  I want to work for an organization which can appreciate this Learning Rebel for my accomplishments and proven track record, not my acting skills. (Think about it, all you hiring managers out there – you are interviewing people whose best skill is out-thinking the recruiter and their personality assessment test to get in front of you.  Is that really your goal?)  Being a Rebel, means being a Rebel all the time – it’s who I am, it’s how I think.  Remember Kindergarten Rebel?

What prompted this post, you might ask? I read this, “10 Things You Need to Do If You Were Hired Today“.  Everything in this article is spot on and it inspired me to remember that my success, when working and when not working, is in my hands and I want control back. I am not going to white-wash my professional learning philosophy.  Either businesses want a Learning Rebel or they don’t.  They want to innovative or they want more of the same.  They want their business to grow into one that has a thriving learning culture or are happy with the “butts in seats” mentality.  The choice is theirs, not mine (or yours).  Writing that sentence has given me permission to be who I am.  Something this whole soulless process almost had me forgetting.

whoareyouI am a Learning Rebel and I am fighting the good fight for more engaging, innovative and challenging learning in businesses today.  Who are you?


UPDATE (04/25/2014) :  It’s always good to discover you’re not alone in the universe!  If you like this post, I suggest you check this one out.  The tradition of recruiters and hiring managers who are clueless about L&D continues.  The Work Social Blog by James Taylor – Learnings from a Learning Job Search


Learn more about this Learning Rebel  – check me out on Slideshare – here.

3 thoughts on “Learning Rebel: Not Just for Learning, but All Day, Everyday”

  1. Hi Shannon. I must say. I am so glad that Twitter emailed me and told me to check out @MattGuyan’s tweet. I found this post particularly inspiring tonight. I needed it. Thanks.


    1. Dave – thank you so much for taking the time to comment on the post and for your kind words. I’m certainly glad I inspired you when you needed a bit of inspiration. As the picture in the post states “Sometimes you have to be your own hero”. This post was originally going down a different path, until I was inspired by that thought. As I said, I personally needed a shift kick in the butt and I really thought this post would mostly be for me – I didn’t think this vent would resonate with my readers. Apparently I was mistaken. So, I’ll piggy back on your comment to tell the others who have tweeted and emailed me to say, they too needed a Rebel kick in the butt, – thank you. Thank you for your support, thank you for following me, and let’s all continue to “Fight the Good Fight”.


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