If you go to my film website HERE you will see (and, I hope, purchase) a shirt I sell with the slogan “It’s All About The Story” on the front. It's a lesson I learned in my filmmaking. But this is a story about a sweatshirt.
Quite a while ago I was working as the Marketing Communications Manager for a semiconductor company. And while I am good with jargon and good at faking it (I was a marketing person after all) my boss suggested that I take a course in Basic Electronics.
The course in question was at nearby MIT. It was a summer version of the freshman Basic Electronics course in two weeks. That is, Monday morning at 9AM you heard the first lecture of the “term.” And at 10AM, you heard the second lecture of the term and so on. By lunch, one week of a regular academic calendar had been covered; by dinner, more than two weeks. And there were actual labs as well, also quite condensed. It was a true instance of “drinking from a fire hose.”
I survived the course. I still occasionally use words like “impedance” and “capacitance.” And I did have a much better insight, if not actual knowledge, about the process of digital processors and their underlying technologies.
As my reward to myself for surviving the course, I purchased an MIT sweatshirt. It had a hood and was warm enough to be very useful in New England weather. It was slightly ironic, given that my graduate degree is in the fine arts. But I wore it proudly and it kept me warm.
This is where the story takes over. I continued to wear this sweatshirt from time to time as my career pulled me through a succession of high tech companies. Most of the folks I worked with were not the people who read my resume when I was hired. I knew that the MIT sweatshirt told a story that was mostly fiction. And if someone asked, “Did you go to MIT?” or “When did you graduate?” my first response (part of the story-telling) was usually, “Oh, I never graduated from MIT.” If pressed further, I always admitted the true origin of the sweatshirt and we had a good chuckle over it.
But I’m sure I enjoyed a bit of high regard earned primarily by the garment (and my excellence at jargon and faking it). However, as a former artist working in high tech marketing, I was okay with this small boost.
It’s all about the story.