We all know that bit of conventional wisdom, said to get us over-strivers to pursue balance: No one ever regretted on their death bed not working more and harder. We all agree there is something in that.
But, there are those of us, especially when feeling the pain of a professional setback or, worse, being ignored in our careers, who are convinced we will die feeling angry at ourselves, our parents, our limited high-school counselor, and society for not "going to a better school." Now, of course, that extends all the way to K-12.
That category of resentment might be becoming an anachronism. In a now workplace, the past is no longer prologue. When presenting ourselves to employers, clients, and customers, the focus is what outcomes we can achieve for them in the next 30 days. Track record, not credentials, is the platform for that pitch.
Maybe more of a paradigm shift, academic pedigree may become irrelevant. In a breakthrough article in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Holly Fine makes the case for online instruction as the equal opportunity force in education. Those who are insightful about implications and have the fire in the belly to push forward will be the economic winners. Nothing wrong with going to Harvard but there will increasingly be not so much that's wicked smart about it.
My first stop on my career path was a women's Roman Catholic college Seton Hill, Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The student body was mostly, like myself, first-generation college. We tended to feel less-than then and more less-than later as we moved on to prestigious graduate schools and the Fortune 500. That pain some of us nurtured into a primal wound. It's funny: that doesn't matter much any more and it will matter less and less.