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PORTABLE SKILLS ARE IMPORTANT
“Suitcase skills” perfectly describes all the personal and
professional abilities we can carry into any job we might ever hold in
this life. I can see in my own life that few things have contributed
more to my personal happiness and success in my various jobs.
live in an age of specialization so I am aware that it appears strange
for me to advocate that you move a little more in the direction of
becoming a jack-of-all-trades. Come to think of it, we are all
specialists in one way or another. Most of us can do a thing or two so
well that we become known for it. But being self-sufficient and
possessing a broad range of skills carries it’s own sweet rewards in
personal happiness as well as financially.
Typing was a suitcase
skill that I picked up in college that has helped me in every job I have
ever held, even those that did not require a lot of typing. For example,
as a classroom teacher typed lesson plans were so much more readable
although the actual teaching did not require that they be typed.
Now that computers have become a necessity in personal communication as
well as business, I would have had to learn to type if I had not learned
it on my own. Your advantage today is that touch-typing classes are
available and you can learn to do it right. By all means, do become
proficient at it.
Even a suitcase skill like simple English
composition will be helpful on almost any job. I heard of one employer
who became so distressed over the inability of employees to write clear
English that he asked each applicant to write “my life up til now” in
ten short paragraphs. He could quickly check proficiency in
communication with this one technique.
One job promotion I got at
a needy time in my life was the result of a letter I wrote to the
editor. It impressed a supervisor enough to call me in for an interview
and then to move me into a higher-paying job. The message is that the
more things you can do and do well, the better your chances are of being
noticed and rewarded. Even two songs I wrote for a staff play got me an
interview with the top man in the organization!
The money is less
important to me than the personal fulfillment of being able to do many
interesting things. Learning to play a musical intstrument had financial
rewards when I had a band and played for dances but the greatest reward
by far has been the joy of jamming with friends and just sitting alone
with the comfort of a good guitar.
TFP tech columnist Donnie
Jenkins bought the first computer ever made, tore it apart and put it
back together to see how it worked. He did the same with subsequent
models. At that time it was just a possible suitcase skill to him, but
he had the intuition to see a technological revolution on the way and
computer repair is now his bread and butter.
Decide on your own
suitcase skills. It is possible that one of them will become your main
source of income. One thing’s for sure: whether it’s calligraphy,
computer repair, guitar or carpentry it will make your life more
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