Posts Tagged ‘ skills ’

An Opinion On The Occupy Movement

If you can ignore the F-Bomb, Adam Carolla has some pretty interesting insights into the Occupy Wall Street movement.  I’m part of the generation they call “The Millenials,” and despite my pedigree, it seems to me that he’s absolutely right.  Skip to about 5:50 for the crux of the whole opinion, but he’s not far off the mark with his whole rant.

Could it be that these folks’ anger and frustration was misguided?  Why did they go straight to Wall Street to stage their protests, instead of to Washington, DC, where the frustration should have been focused?

Could it also be that that is why the “Occupy” movement is no longer relevant, if it’s even still around?  

The sad fact (or opinion, since I am really no expert on this thing) is this:  A bunch of kids were given access to easy money to get through school (they still are), because our own government has guaranteed every one of their loans.  They finished up, got their degrees in Anthropology, Literature, or some other nondescript major, and cannot find jobs with their skillset.  The tragedy is that all of these kids were told, “Just get a degree–it doesn’t even matter which one, they just want to see that you can finish what you started”–and then the mortgage meltdown dealt us a mighty blow, and companies began hiring candidates with skills they actually needed on their resumes.  That left many students with degrees completely unrelated to any work the prevailing workforce needed, to fend for themselves.  This, of course, did not end well, and so you have a “movement” like the “Occupy” movement emerge.  (For the record, I was told this exact same thing, but happened to get into aviation, where it is so specialized that if you gain the skills, the jobs are there right now.)

What many of today’s 18-25 year-olds have in education, they do not have in real-world experience.  It might be true that they were “sold” a wrongful bill of goods as far as education goes, but if no one needs the skills they have chosen to groom themselves with, why does that become the fault or problem of the 1% in this country?  Who is supposed to take responsibility for the consequences of these kids’ decisions?

I understand the knee-jerk reaction to envy, but Adam Carolla speaks the truth in this case.  I am very well aware of the risks of returning to school to tackle a Business degree, but that’s exactly what they are: Risks.  The truth is that my education may not let me walk into a decently-paying job right out of school, and I have weighed this at length in my own introspections, and tried to get my wife to let me talk myself out of it probably twelve times now (she won’t).  It’s a different situation for me also, because this isn’t my first rodeo.  The last time I tried this, I basically crashed and burned.  With age comes wisdom, of course, but even still–the future is never certain.  It’s up to me to figure out how to get where I want us to be.  Not the 1%-ers, not some “movement,” not some law.  Me.  Know why?  Because despite the “bonds” that have been formed by those at the Occupy Movement’s “events,” none of those people actually care about each other.  Sure, some of them will be friends, and try to get each other jobs once they get one themselves, but that happens everywhere.

Those who reacted this way did not help themselves, and neither did these.

Once the Occupy Movement dissipated from every city in this country, every person in attendance was left to fend for himself.  They are still mentally in college; when you’re at college, you will make friends for life, and things will be utopian for a couple of semesters…but they will not be responsible for your grades–that is up to you.  It might be true that no one groomed these people to actually go out and get jobs, but the fact is, the information is out there.  You either stack up, or you don’t.

Get educated, and get a grip on what you want your life to look like.  It’s not up to anyone but you to make it happen!

Talent Vs. Skills

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately (as I have done for the last six or seven years or so), and the last book I read was a book on management styles.  It is apparently well-known among the country’s best managers (according to Gallup) that the happiest employees are ones who have been steered toward jobs that make use of their own natural talents, regardless of skills.  This got me thinking, “What’s the difference?”

I sat down and examined it, and realized that I have a lot of skills.  I have the skills to fix complicated machinery, and have learned the techniques that assure that I’ll do it well.  I have been keeping this blog for over six years, a professional one for one and a half, and I’ve kept private journals for over twelve now.  I have a commanding knowledge of the English language–and a larger-than-average vocabulary–because of it.  I have been a music student for over eighteen years, starting in 4th grade, when I picked up the Trumpet for the first time and learned to read notes and sheet music.  I have expanded my skills into playing a variety of horns, taught myself to play the guitar, and to a very minimal degree, the piano as well.  I also at some point taught myself to wrap a cherry stem in a knot with my tongue–mostly as a party trick.  But none of those are my talents.

My talents are few, but they are there.  One of the lesser talents that I have is a by-product of my skills as a music student:  I can take nearly any song on the radio, and learn it by ear on a guitar.  (Not reproduce it, but learn it.)  I also have the talent of determination to learn things on my own–I taught myself how to play the guitar, as well as how to snowboard.  Never took a lesson, just got out there and tried it until I got it.  I also have the natural ability to twist and manipulate images in my head–for example, if I have the chance to study a map of a route or an area, I have an unflappable sense of direction as I’m driving around ON that map, in that area.  Some people find that to be very difficult to do, but I can do it with relative ease.

The most obvious talent that I have, by far, is my talent for communicating with people that I don’t know.  I find genuine interest in talking with other people, finding out what makes them tick, what problems they have that I might be able to provide solutions for.  I am a naturally outgoing person.  One of my best friends saw me talking briefly with someone once at a party, and asked me how we knew each other.  When I told him we didn’t, he asked me sarcastically, “When’s her birthday?” and he was stunned when I knew the answer–it had come about over the natural course of the conversation, is all.  I have been looking for ways to inject a little bit more of my natural talents into my work…I’m sure that once I do, my career satisfaction will be through the roof!

Give it some thought, and tell me just what your skills are, and how they differ from your talents.  I’m fascinated to hear your answers!

PS–Try this on for size:  Is it a coincidence that the words “talent” and “latent” share the same letters in different configuration, and kind of refer to the same thing?  (That’s another talent I have for some reason–seeing patterns in word spellings.  Sort of like how “Words” is “Swords” without the “S,” and both can intimidate, defend, or kill.  Odd stuff like that–no idea where it comes from, it’s just there!)

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