I am out at HR Technology Europe in Amsterdam the rest of this week, and working on about 2 hours of dodgy sleep on the overnight flight from New York last night, so today's post is totally being mailed in. If you are disappointed, please feel free to fill in the complaint form and ask for a refund.
I am pretty sure my favorite non-reality TV show, and really the only TV show that I actually try and catch semi-regularly is Big Bang Theory. If you are not familiar with the show, it is a comedy that features as its main characters a group of four friends that all are highly educated university level scientists. They also happen to be a bit geeky, are irrationally focused on comic books and Star Trek, talk often of how they were, (and in some cases still are), mocked and picked on by 'cooler' people, and often struggle with a world that at times seems kind of stacked against them. The good looking, socially confident, and outgoing people seem to get most of the breaks in life, while their incredible intellectual capacity seems only valuable in the workplace, and kind of a hindrance everywhere else.
So when I stumbled upon this post on the It's Okay To Be Smart blog titled 'Scientist Trading Cards - Collect the Whole Set!', I immediately thought about the guys on Big Bang Theory, and the probably thousands of science students everywhere that look up to and hold in extremely high regard these legends of science that are depicted in the set of Scientist Trading Cards.
The trading cards, each one representing a legend of science, ranging from physics, to chemistry, to astronomy, are purposely designed to mimic the styles of famous sports trading cards of the past, (the Isaac Newton shares a design with baseball legend Brooks Robinson for example).
Why bother taking note of these scientist trading cards? Why not just look at them as an amusing bit of fun and an interesting bit of design completed by someone clever with photoshop?
Well, here's why I think they are worth thinking about. In the HR/Talent/Recruiting industries we seem to have been talking for ages about hard to fill roles in the technology fields, and the seeming lack of suitable, trained talent for many of our most technical and scientific jobs. And while lots of potential remedies for this problem continue to be suggested, things like getting more training for displaced workers, loosening up the H1B visa process to welcome more foreign workers, and even increasing the numbers of 'smart' automation in our businesses, we never seem to attack the problem at a basic, more fundamental level.
Namely, convincing the next generation that science, technology, engineering etc. are not just important, but they can and should actually be careers to aspire to, and possess incredible legends, heroes, and role models - just like the professions that we routinely train our children to idolize - athletes, entertainers, and reality TV personalities. What if we could convince kids that being a great scientist could actually get them there own trading card?
I dig the scientist trading cards. I wish they were actually real. I think I'd like the kinds of kids that would want to collect them.