How Education Changes Lives When We Stay on the Ball
Guest post: Jimmy Ray Shepherd, Learning and Development Senior Specialist at FedEx Express Europe
I came to Germany in 1987 when I was stationed with the U.S. military. I was in the Field Artillery division and responsible for the post office. After I left the army, I stayed in Germany and co-founded the American football team ´Aschaffenburg Stallions`, where I was quarterback and coach. Most of my teammates had never played football, and we didn’t even have the right equipment or a proper field. And yet, just seven years later we moved up to Germany’s top league for American football.
It took a lot of coaching to make it so far in such a short time. That’s when I first realized how much I enjoy teaching, even when it is challenging. At that time I also started working at FedEx Express as a courier. With a lot of hard work and training, I eventually climbed the ranks and am now a Senior Specialist in the Learning and Development department.
I achieved all of this without a college degree, but with a strong support system and an intense passion and curiosity to learn. I recently spoke about my experiences at the European Access Network conference, an event that brings together organizations that help first-generation college students.
Though I never had the opportunity to go to college, I hope my story can illustrate a few points:
- FedEx supports education and everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow if they have the passion.
- A network of supporters can help you grow and attain a professional level that had once seemed out of reach.
- Throughout my career I constantly asked questions, sought out feedback and tried to improve my skills wherever I could. My biggest piece of advice is simple: Always stay curious!
Education and a strong network are even more important than ever before. We are living in an age of rapid change, innovation and technological advancements – just think about robots, for example. If we take a step back and look to history, we can see that debates around changes are nothing new. For example, one hundred years ago society underwent a sea change as it shifted from agriculture to industry. Then as now, jobs changed – and people adapted. So new technologies can help us streamline or improve jobs, even create new ones. That’s why access to education is essential so that jobseekers can be prepared to enter the job market.
My own experiences prove that you need to keep learning, both inside and outside of the classroom to thrive in today’s world. I invite you to take heart from my personal motto: Never stop learning!