Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Competency #7: I know what skills I can offer employers in different occupations beyond my education background

Today's competency deals with recognizing the skills you possess that could qualify you for unique occupational areas you may not have ever considered.  "Thinking out of the box" about interesting work, irrespective of your educational background can not only shake off the boredom of your current work, but allow you to actually transform your work life.  The "career ladder" is a thing of the past; the "rock wall" metaphor (a career is like climbing a rock wall - you can go up, but also need to move to the left or right, or even down before you can continue your ascent) is less relevant, too.  Too many of us find there is no rock wall to climb, and we must take stock of all our experiences and the skills/knowledges gained to forge ahead into a profoundly ambiguous world.

Daniel Pink's fabulous book (A Whole New Mind, 2005) stresses a need in this new "Conceptual Age" for people to possess what he calls the "six senses"- design, story, symphony, empathy, play and meaning - all, by the way, so-called "right-brain skills".   Understanding the ways in which you use these six senses can help you understand how, regardless of your educational background, you are nimble enough to move into new work roles:

Design:  have you created a product, a service or an experience that is beautiful or emotionally engaging?
Story: have you persuaded, communicated or fashioned a compelling narrative?
Symphony:  can you see the big picture and combine disparate pieces into an arresting new whole?
Empathy:  do you know what makes people tick, can you forge new relationships, can you care for others?
Play:  can you have fun, use humor and laugh?
Meaning: do you have a purpose, and can you be fulfilled by it?

Recognize your talents, understand your interests, explore work which allows you to be fulfilled, stay curious and courageous.  If you do, there will always be a workplace for you.