The Importance of Being Earnest (Educated)


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This is the inaugural offering of a new monthly column in SMT Magazine. We call this cozy corner of the e-zine "Jumping Off the Bandwagon." It is meant to be a safe place for the soft landing of provocative ideas and challenges to the status quo—both for you and for me. It is dedicated to the continued development and improvement of the high-tech electronic product assembly industry, and to you, the human component of that industry.

It is not popular to be provocative and challenge what we have grown accustomed to in our industry as axiomatic. Insecure, myopic management teams in the real world who are dedicated to making this month’s numbers don’t like having their worldview shaken. Faculties and school administrators are upset when they are told that the emperor is wearing no clothes, which is to say that the content and delivery systems of what they are teaching have little relevance to the skills that their customers, the students, will need to lead the companies effectively that employ them in the real world. Moreover, that world is not only real, but also global.

Some of you will embrace the ideas and positions found here and in the columns to follow; some of you will disagree with them, and you may even feel uncomfortable with them. Just remember: These concepts are meant to be disruptive. We have nibbled around the edges of these industry problems for too long. So here we go. Hold your breath and get ready to make the leap OFF the bandwagon. The title of Oscar Wilde’s 1895 stage production plays with the word earnest, referring to both the fictional protagonist, Ernest, and the quality of being earnest—a sincere and serious behavior toward a subject.

In the play, Ernest leads a double life. While in his rural countryside home he maintains his true identity as John Worthing, a proper Englishman who provides a good example for a young girl, his ward. A willing Jekyll and Hyde of sorts, he fabricates a fictional brother, Ernest, whom he must occasionally visit in London—where he becomes that brother, allowing Ernest to act out a much wilder and libertine existence.

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of SMT Magazine.

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