Day #893:Top 5 Skills You Need at Work That Have Nothing to Do with Your Job

As a Recruitment Manager, I make difficult decisions everyday on which candidate should get an interview with our company and advice Hiring managers on who they should offer a position based on who the best candidate is for the job.  I have also had opportunity to observe and work with key professionals from different industries. One thing is clear, beyond technical skills you need to perform your job, there are an array of Soft skills that if well mastered, will push you far in your career.Here are my top 5 additional job skills everyone needs.

5. Writing Skills

As more business communications are conducted through email, instant messaging, PowerPoint presentations and other written forms, writing ability can help today’s professionals set themselves apart. The ability to write clearly in reports or white papers is necessary to advance.

“Rightly or wrongly, people judge their colleagues based on their writing ability,” says R. Craig Hogan, director of the Business Writing Center and author of Explicit Business Writing. “Those who write poorly are viewed as less intelligent, less educated and less competent. Those who are articulate are seen as intelligent, educated and capable.”

In fact, business professionals may not realize how much poor writing skills can impede their careers. “It’s a silent killer,” Hogan says.

How can you improved your writing? Check out this Forbes article on How to improve your writing.

4.Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
We all have to make decisions at work, evaluate ideas and brainstorm new ones. Many jobs, at their core, are about solving problems. Knowing how to think is far more empowering than knowing what to think, but these are skills we have to work at. Learn how to train your mind to think critically, develop Sherlock Holmes-like powers of observation, and make decisions with the six thinking hats technique. When you demonstrate your powers of critical and creative thinking, you’ll earn much respect at work and become a more valuable employee.

3. Basic Technology Skills
Even those who don’t work with technology directly or don’t work in a professional office setting need to have some basic tech skills and knowledge. How to navigate your company’s web portal to make HR changes (for some companies, this is harder than it looks!), how to use whatever the company’s communication tools are (whether they use Slack, rely on text messages, or some proprietary system), and just the basics of how computers work and what the major components are so you could talk to IT when you need troubleshooting help. Even just prompt and efficient emailing is a valuable skill—Google’s Eric Schmidt says it’s the number one habit of effective people. Of course, the more technical skills you do add, the more you expand what you can do at work and improve your hireability—such as learning HTML and CSS, you can start contributing to your employer’s website and blog. Here are the top 10 simple things everyone who uses a computer should know how to do and more advanced ones if you’re a geek.

2. The Ability to Work Well on a Team
Hiring managers often emphasize the importance of cultural fit and the ability to work well on a team when they evaluate job candidates, whether it’s for entry-level jobs or ones in higher positions. Few people’s jobs are entirely solitary ones—we rely on others for our work as much as others rely on us. Simply feeling like a part of the team can fuel your work. Highly effective teams communicate well, share common goals, and even make time for humor. If you can follow these seven rules for collaborating with othersbuild trust with others, and handle criticism well, you’re golden.

1. Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

Empathy is your most important skill, at work and at home. Empathizing with others will help you better understand the people around you, the needs of your customers, how to motivate others, and how to deal with conflicts with others. The difference between knowledge and understanding is empathy. You can improve your empathy by learning to really listen and practicing trying to see things from others’ point of view.

Day #892:The Year of Magical Thinking-Joan Didion,

“I just can’t see the upside in this,” I heard myself say by way of explanation.

Later he said that if John had been sitting in the office he would have found this funny, as he himself had found it. “Of course I knew what you meant to say, and John would have known too, you meant to say you couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

I agreed, but this was not in fact the case.

I had meant pretty much exactly what I said: I couldn’t see the upside in this.

As I thought about the difference between the two sentences I realized that my impression of myself had been of someone who could look for, and find, the upside in any situation. I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm. It occurs to me now that these were not even the songs of my generation. They were the songs, and the logic, of the generation or two that preceded my own. The score for my generation was Les Paul and Mary Ford, “How High the Moon,” a different logic altogether. It also occurs to me, not an original thought but novel to me, that the logic of those earlier songs was based on self-pity. The singer of the song about looking for the silver lining believes that clouds have come her way. The singer of the song about walking on through the storm assumes that the storm could otherwise take her down.”
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking

Day #891:Leo Tolstoy on the delusion of the joys of life

“There is an old Eastern fable about a traveler who is taken unawares on the steppes by a ferocious wild animal. In order to escape the beast the traveler hides in an empty well, but at the bottom of the well he sees a dragon with its jaws open, ready to devour him. The poor fellow does not dare to climb out because he is afraid of being eaten by the rapacious beast, neither does he dare drop to the bottom of the well for fear of being eaten by the dragon. So he seizes hold of a branch of a bush that is growing in the crevices of the well and clings on to it. His arms grow weak and he knows that he will soon have to resign himself to the death that awaits him on either side. Yet he still clings on, and while he is holding on to the branch he looks around and sees that two mice, one black and one white, are steadily working their way round the bush he is hanging from, gnawing away at it. Sooner or later they will eat through it and the branch will snap, and he will fall into the jaws of the dragon. The traveler sees this and knows that he will inevitably perish. But while he is still hanging there he sees some drops of honey on the leaves of the bush, stretches out his tongue and licks them. In the same way I am clinging to the tree of life, knowing full well that the dragon of death inevitably awaits me, ready to tear me to pieces, and I cannot understand how I have fallen into this torment. And I try licking the honey that once consoled me, but it no longer gives me pleasure. The white mouse and the black mouse – day and night – are gnawing at the branch from which I am hanging. I can see the dragon clearly and the honey no longer tastes sweet. I can see only one thing; the inescapable dragon and the mice, and I cannot tear my eyes away from them. And this is no fable but the truth, the truth that is irrefutable and intelligible to everyone.

The delusion of the joys of life that had formerly stifled my fear of the dragon no longer deceived me. No matter how many times I am told: you cannot understand the meaning of life, do not thinking about it but live, I cannot do so because I have already done it for too long. Now I cannot help seeing day and night chasing me and leading me to my death. This is all I can see because it is the only truth. All the rest is a lie.

Those two drops of honey, which more than all else had diverted my eyes from the cruel truth, my love for my family and for my writing, which I called art – I no longer found sweet.”

Leo Tolstoy, A Confession and Other Religious Writings

Day #890:The Paradox of Courage

We need courage to act in spite of our fears.

We need courage to stand out from the crowd.

We need courage to confront the (external and internal) voices that tell us we’re no good for anything.

We need courage to have those difficult conversations that we sometimes need to have.

We need courage to be kind to those who don’t have the means to reciprocate, or may even reject our kindness.

We need courage to keep pushing ourselves when we feel like stopping.

We need courage to admit that we still have much to learn.

We need courage to maintain our integrity under pressure.

We need courage to be the person we were born to be.

The paradox of courage is how we get it in the first place.

We get courage by acting in spite of our fears.

We get courage by standing out from the crowd.

We get courage by confronting the (external and internal) voices that tell us we’re no good for anything.

You get the gist.

We all need courage to live our best life, so let’s go and get it.

Day #889:Give Thanks!

Today is Thanks giving holiday in the US and many more countries where people have chosen to observe this holiday.  Of course we don’t always have to wait for a day to give thanks for the the things and the people we have in our lives. We can do that everyday. We can learn to be grateful everyday for this we have and things we hope to have. We can be grateful for the people we have in our lives and all the things we are able to do.

We can be grateful for what we have and not obsess about what we are yet to have.

Let this video remind you again.

Happy thanks giving to everyone.

Day #888:The fire of friendship

A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. The story continues:

When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.
After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered:
‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead.
‘I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you.

‘Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm.
‘You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’

Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house.
‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’

Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’


Day #887:Is productive the same as busy?

No one complains of having spent an entire day doing ‘productive work’. Busywork, on the other hand, is mindnumbing.

It’s possible that if you have a job where your tasks (your busy-ness) is programmed by someone else, that being busy is your job.

For everyone else, though, busy might be precisely the opposite of productive.

Maybe the best exhortation isn’t to, “get busy.”

Instead, perhaps it involves slowing down enough to feel the fear. The fear that we might only hear in the quiet moments, in the gaps between crises.

The fear is a necessary part of actually being productive in doing creative work.