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Career Skills for the New Economy

Book Description

This pocket guide provides all employees a gameplan for succeeding in the modern, fast changing economy. Teaches how to learn and accumulate marketable skills that will transfer to different jobs and different companies. The underlying assumption of Career Skills for the New Economy is that, in the new economy, individuals will have to be extremely good at fending for themselves if they are to survive and succeed. The most successful people will position themselves as free agents and sell their skills and abilities on the open market. Even those who work for the same employer for years on end will have to take responsibility for their own success and security.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Contents
  6. Acknowledgement
  7. Introduction
  8. 1. Welcome to the Workplace of the Future
  9. 2. How to Create Your Own Success
    1.   STRATEGY 1
    2. 1. Building Transferable SkillsTransferable skills are defined as skills that (a) are unlikely to become obsolete anytime soon, and (b) increase your value, no matter where you go or what you do. For example, skill in using a particular software package is not necessarily transferable because software becomes obsolete quickly and not all organizations rely on the same software. However, the ability to get up to speed easily on most new software packages (to learn them quickly and start using them effectively) is a transferable skill. Other examples of transferable skills include the ability to negotiate and fluency in foreign languages.
    3. 2. Becoming a Knowledge-WorkerLeverage skill, knowledge, and wisdom in every project you undertake, every task you accomplish, and every responsibility you assume. Even if you are digging a ditch, you can leverage skill, knowledge, and wisdom:
    4.   STRATEGY 2
    5.   STRATEGY 3
    6.   STRATEGY 4
    7. 1. Your MindThe key to a healthy mind is variety of input. Also, do not take yourself too seriously (relax), but do take a serious interest in other people, things, events, and issues. And learn to recognize feelings of anxiety so you can use anxiety without allowing it to paralyze you.
    8. 2. Your BodyThe key to a healthy body is a solid routine that includes plenty of rest and daily exercise (stretching and walking are easy and very beneficial). Also, put healthy food and drink (especially water) into your body, and try to limit how much garbage (like cigarette smoke) you force your body to process.
    9. 3. Your SpiritThe key here is more problematic, but usually people with a healthy spirit believe in something that feeds their inner resources and imparts meaning. So believe in something—anything—and spend some time every day with your true beliefs.
  10. 3. The Art of Managing Yourself
    1.   QUESTION 1
    2. 1.   Get in Touch with Your UniquenessWhat makes you different from everybody else? If you’ve always wondered where you fit in, then not fitting in with the crowd may turn out to be your special niche. Identify something in your background or experience that sets you apart.
    3. 2.   Examine Your PrioritiesWhat matters the most to you? The answer to this question is highly important because if your priorities are clear and you stay in touch with them, many decisions that would otherwise be tough will be quite easy for you.
    4. 3.   GrowIf you’ve ever studied weight training, you know that the way to build muscles is to push them beyond their limits, to the point at which the fibers actually tear, because the healing will make them grow stronger. That technique applies to more than just muscles.
    5.   QUESTION 2
    6. 1.   Start Every Endeavor with Clear GoalsBefore you invest your time and energy in anything at all, clarify for yourself exactly what it is you are trying to accomplish. What is the tangible result you should be holding in your hands when you are done?
    7. 2.   Hold Yourself to Strict DeadlinesDeadlines are the key to making a plan of action and managing your time effectively. The trick is to use deadlines every step of the way. Simply break up large goals and deadlines into smaller, more manageable pieces— intermediate goals and deadlines—thereby establishing benchmarks for your progress.
    8. 3.   Take Action and Keep Moving ForwardNothing gets done unless somebody does it. In this case, that somebody is you. If you have one hundred phone calls to make, you start with the first one, move on to the second, then the third, and so forth. Each call is a concrete action. But it’s important to realize that each call also involves a series of concrete actions:
    9. 4.   Use Your Time WiselyThere are 168 hours in a week. How do you use them? There are 1,440 minutes in a day. How do you use them? Most people waste countless minutes and hours without ever realizing it. How do you waste time? By filling it with activities that don’t matter to you. What if you value just sitting around watching TV? I would argue that you are not wasting time if you know how much of it you are devoting to this activity and have a purpose for doing so. And that is the key: Are you keeping track of your time and using it with a purpose?
    10. 5.   Fail, Fail, Fail, but Never Give UpIf you don’t fail, chances are you will never succeed. So court failure. Be greedy with failure. Fail as much as you possibly can. You see, success may be preferable to failure, but statistically failure is far more likely. So turn the odds inside out.
    11.   QUESTION 3
    12. 1.   Be High QualityYou are what you write, say, create, and do (in no particular order). No matter how grand your intentions or how generous and kind you may be as a person, others will know you by your words, actions, and creations.
    13. 2.   Be Full of IntegrityIf your boss or customer wants you to lie, cheat, steal, or harm others, don’t do it. Quit if necessary. Blow the whistle if you think it’s appropriate. No matter what, don’t get involved in unethical dealings. It’s not worth any price. Be honest, and honest people will gravitate toward you.
    14. 3.   Be AdaptablePeople who are too attached to the way things are have a hard time learning new skills, performing new tasks, doing old tasks in new ways, working with new machines, new managers, new co-workers, new customers, new rules, no rules. Usually, the greatest difficulty for such people is uncertainty—not knowing what will be (or won’t be) just around the corner. Don’t be one of these people. Learn to love change.
    15.   QUESTION 4
    16. 1.   Get Good at Evaluating ContextNo matter who you are, what you want to achieve, or how you want to be as a person, your role in any given situation is determined in part by factors that have nothing to do with you. These are pre-existing, independent factors—factors that would be present even if you were not. These factors determine the context of any situation.
    17. 2.   Play Your Role Well before You Build upon ItContext doesn’t have to slow you down indefinitely, but it certainly does limit your role, and for quite some time, if you have entered a new situation. Unless you properly evaluate the context of the situation and figure out where you fit, you will never have an opportunity to build on your role.
  11. 4. The Critical Thinking SQUAD
    1.   STEP 1
    2.   STEP 2
    3.   STEP 3
    4.   STEP 4
    5.   STEP 5
  12. 5. Become an Expert in Human Relations
  13. 6. Build Relationships with Valuable Decision-Makers
    1.   STEP 1
    2.   STEP 2
    3.   STEP 3
    4.   STEP 4
    5.   STEP 5
    6.   STEP 6
    7.   STEP 7
    8.   STEP 8
    9.   STEP 9
    10.   STEP 10
  14. 7. Learn to Manage Your Boss
    1.   GUIDELINE 1
    2.   GUIDELINE 2
    3.   GUIDELINE 3
    4.   GUIDELINE 4
    5.   GUIDELINE 5
    6.   GUIDELINE 6
  15. 8. Get Good at Managing Others
    1.   GUIDELINE 1
    2.   GUIDELINE 2
    3.   GUIDELINE 3
    4.   GUIDELINE 4
    5. FrequentSome people need feedback more often than others do—everyone has his or her own unique “feedback frequency.” Moreover, different people need different amounts and different types of feedback, and these factors are likely to vary over time. In order to “tune in” to each person’s unique frequency, think about each person you are managing and determine what kind of feedback he or she needs—how much, when, and in what form. Then try to provide the kind of feedback that works best for that person.
    6. AccurateThe feedback you provide must be correct, balanced, and appropriate. Stop and check your facts before giving feedback. Overall, try to strike a good balance between praise and criticism. Most important, always choose your words carefully. You may even want to rehearse the feedback.
    7. SpecificFeedback is not specific enough unless it points to concrete action steps. Every instance of feedback is also an opportunity to delegate—to assign concrete goals with specific deadlines and clear guidelines and parameters (see Guideline 1 above).
    8. TimelyAlways give feedback in a timely manner. The sooner the feedback follows the performance in question, the more impact the feedback will have. Giving immediate feedback thus has the greatest impact. Keep in mind that timeliness requires time management skills.
    9.   GUIDELINE 5
    10.   GUIDELINE 6
  16. 9. Adopt a Total Customer Service Mindset
    1.   GUIDELINE 1
    2.   GUIDELINE 2
    3.   GUIDELINE 3
    4.   GUIDELINE 4
  17. 10. Success Happens One Moment at a Time