Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ongoing training

What can an overly preachy blog with borrowed pictures tell the blog reading world about preparing their next move? Not everyone grows geraniums though every house I've lived in has had them. Slight exaggeration.

What training do you need to put in sun visors? Do the salesmen and women who sell dungarees continue to go off for further training during working hours?
Of what importance or relevance is this unless we're going to be doing either? Well, it's true that people go off on training courses of varying usefulness and don't question them or take more than a nodding interest; it's just part of the job.
An employee or novice entrepreneur is going to take an interest in training if it's felt that this will progress them. I can't say that all the courses I attended met that brief but as part of a greater exposure to formal instruction, the process is of interest.

Experience counts 

Who is the most experienced person and can the whirling dervish of cyberspace furnish an answer? We knew that 'most important experience' might have nothing to do with the workplace or earning a living. Now we want a handy list of the most experienced people. Experienced in what? Not something as narrow as growing barley or as broad as looking through a windscreen. We might get some insight into an older personage who has sold brooches from the thirties and forties if we want to know how to meet the customer's requirements while still finding this path profitable in some way. But if we want a crash course in sales from the person who knows most about the field then, such is the march of time, a more condensed experience in up-to-the-minute techniques might be more helpful. Or perhaps both kinds have their own value.

The most experienced person in adjusting the choke is likely to move into antique preservation if they want to continue to share this experience. Motors change, sales methods change, teaching history changes. What this means is that experience, education, training, even skill are not inviolate and you may only have the rare occasion for one or an other's continued use. We only have so much control over this, less over the decisions we made in the past.

As for cyberspace, the top considerations on who the most experienced person could be were no help. It seemed to invite self-reflection of the Poor Bugger Me variety, cursing the fact that others in the office are being paid more despite the person posting being the most experienced.

But think about it, one of my uncles told me he'd been a sailor, a salesman (some special kind of chair that "sold itself"), bus driver. I knew he was on the level and it made me wonder how many men (and it was mainly men) had moved through so many jobs and thus had the 'most experience'. It must get so broad, though, that this cancels out the benefits and even become counterproductive. "Couldn't settle on any one thing" "Jack of all trades, Master of none"
That's not why I am curious about who the most experienced person in the world is though. There has to be some optimum point where you can say that a person's skill set is razor sharp, their experience perfect for the task at hand.

Image result for "training" positivism

Leaning to Learning

It still seems that skills that others highlight, like Professionalism, rely on experience to some extent. After all, if you don't know what you're doing, however you apply yourself, the result will fall short.

Another skill, mentioned by the same source, is Learning and they mean here the habit of continuing to learn even when you're the head of Gilead Sciences. I think I took you through my schooling when I was first blogging, before Drink it Black specialised in comic books.
Suffice to say, I've always taken for granted that it was good to have early instruction in Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and English (or, presumably, Spanish if you grew up in San Salvador.) whether you become a clinician or a surveyor. I've valued the exposure to Biology and Human Biology for what seems like important knowledge to have, and I appreciate getting enough Physics and Chemistry to realise that I didn't have the smarts on inclination to specialise in those areas, whatever their intrinsic worth. Though being miserable at calculus did stall my entry into tertiary study, not because they wouldn't let me in but because I'd convinced myself that some formal theory was too hard for me.

Now a course in horticulture may equip you for growing hibiscus commercially, an apprenticeship prepare you for doing more than changing an oil filter, the mentorship of father or uncle to learn how to sell traps. Formal education is considered as, if not more, important than practical experience in the field in many professions although it is of a muchness since you won't gained that experience unless you have the qualifications.
 Image result for "learning" theosis

Tuesday, May 23, 2017


The experience you had is going to be measured by anecdote or strict wording if it is sufficiently retrieved and accurately applied.
There could be all manner of reasons as to why each experience, even a valuable one, is not vividly recalled or properly used.

But let's say, for the sake of the argument, that experience is competently advised whether by text or skype or any of the other modes of communication that exist these days. While it's insisted by contractors in every industry,  experience working in a kitchen is useful to the degree you are preparing food, cooking or washing up in your current role. Please check whichever box applies.
  Experience in replacing an air filter is not the same as possessing skill in doing so, though it is to be preferred (just) to handing it to someone who doesn't know where it fits nor what it's for.

Experience in selling bric-a-brac will help when selling from your own rooms or in the employ of another. This experience may be varnished with genuine enthusiasm or tarnished with any corresponding lack.


Trawling back over what remained of most useful skills and then seeing whether most important skills were any different, left only self-management which is covered under emotional intelligence and numeracy which is the same as math.
So if these universal skills were all in play, what about experience? It is an inexact science gathering what the most useful experience might be just by looking at search engine ranking.

We find Quora again and there are work experience oriented queries but that's in the Bing search engine. On Google the Marissa Mayer quote comes up often*, any shallowness you might suspect is absent in the correspondent who declares on Glassdoor their time at AIESAC as the most useful experience, despite being critical of management.
Quora in this ranking vexes 'what is the most useful experience in losing weight?' an obsession if ever there was. Reverso Context translates into Russian
The representative of Venezuela emphasized that the expert meeting on energy services had been a most useful experience.
 Over in reddit, pipping Quora on this occasion, they ask 'What is the most useful experience you have ever had?" which is what I was angling for all along. The highlighted response recounts coming in dead last at a 5k. I don't know what that means, but the respondent says it was upsetting at the time then later turned out to be useful. Character building from what I can gather.

*The utmost thing is the user experience, to have the most useful experience

Do you need experience to grow nasturtiums? Or can you take your cue from The Micro Gardener, Gardener's Supply, Almanac.com, Aussie Green Thumb, Burke's Backyard, Plant Care Today, goodfood.com.au, Life on the Balcony, Mr Brown Thumb or Savvy Gardening. 

Experience can be passive: the experience of being the son of a Dutch immigrant
or more engaged: the experience of having a father who comes in to the school to coach athletics
experience in the moment: winning trophies
experience to reflect on: lapsed sprinter

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Experiencing the least useful

So what about experience? What should you put on your resume and mention at interview? How would you describe your background to your new colleagues? To a business partner?

Only seven hundred and eleven people thought to bother wondering what the least useful experience might be and one of them mentioned mushrooms. Perhaps this is a good feature in us that we spend more time counting those experiences that were useful or rewarding than emotional or procedural dead ends.

50,600 wanted to identify 'most useful experience' so that's encouraging but perhaps a site citing learning English as the most useful experience means we might need to narrow our scope.

What is the most useful experience to have when growing chrysanthemums, fixing the solenoid or selling felt hats?
Image result for "experience"In some careers, experience is considered very important while others carry that legend No Experience Necessary

Lousy with architects, covered with carpenters, and as for production supervisors...

I'm a little suspicious of the list if only because engineers popping up on every list is getting confusing and computer software engineers appear to be on the easiest and hardest to fill positions which, come to think of it, is as counter-intuitive as their codes.

I wonder if I was unconsciously giving the situation with assembly workers and tellers both, a Marxist reading. The measurement concerns how quickly an architect can be found so it actually speaks to consumer choice as the buyer or builder gets the style of architecture they want. This is capitalism in all its glory but it doesn't necessarily follow that all architects are idle when not on assignment nor that carpenters twiddle their thumbs if they're not up on some roof.

I am surprised that pilots were so plentiful, not because there aren't a range of aircraft to fly but just the specialist skills required.

Their status defuses any remark about the various clerks who vie for positions in this laissez faire ground.

Image result for "architects"and let's hope some of those software engineers headed to Australia where the role became hard to fill.

Monday, May 15, 2017


Image result for skill

I'm spending so long on skills because it's such a positive topic. That, and the simple writer's need to leave no stone unturned.
My own long tenure in office environs means that I automatically find myself nodding at the mention of something like apologising as a skill. It can be; there's a world of difference between "Sorry mate" when you bump into a colleague in the corridor, and reporting to the boss when you've stuffed up an order.
It seems though that at the higher and lower end of the scale, these skills are little exercised; the tramp and Trump both feeling less need for them in their role.

Bad manners and a lack of grace can be found in the grounds of many a vocation. This doesn't mean that a person who can expertly genuflect shouldn't have their day in the sun.

Giving thanks is social while prioritising refers to the business at hand, nonetheless I'm not going to dispute their importance. I think it's good to realise that the skills can be exercised without compromise even in an environment where others are flourishing without them, even being sustained by their lack.

Perseverance, salesmanship and flexibility says one contributor, Adaptation, being curious, saying no states another. I am skimming over this lightly as, if you want to read all the good advice, go to the source. I was impressed at how correspondents kept to the task, even if the ability to listen was oft cited.

Perhaps you are going to list math and basic accounting if you're one type and empathy and unlearning when you're another but that speaks to the value of this format. Could one authority decide what the most useful skills are? Could someone growing hydrangeas find they are better equipped if they can conceptualise risk (something almost everyone is bad at apparently)? Is the guy whose going to fix the alternator going to need skills in networking or decision making? To sell kewpie dolls how useful is the skill of critical thinking? Should someone with good critical thinking employ their time more usefully than peddling in this niche market?
Does an illustrator gain more from research or relaxation?

I have some of the coveted skills like public speaking, am average at emotional intelligence and don't really rate on money management skills so it's well that's not presently an issue.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Keyed spills

Image result for "gladys berejiklian" logos

Image result for "mark mcgowan" logosThere is no question that there is some self-reflexive element to looking at essays on the most useful skills to have; not to those mythic skills they've lit on but to the skills employed in bringing them to some new setting, whether it's with full academic referencing or journalist footnote, or regurgitated on blog or social media.

It's no layman's list, more one for the psychologist. The terms are ambiguous without the accompanying explanations and my hyperlinks don't help.
The social skills like apologising, taking feedback, recovering from failure, are all good skills to cultivate. You'd think they wouldn't be necessary to articulate but when so many are bad at one or more of these, apparently not.

I also like the concept of the elevator pitch; not so you can overcome your shyness and bail up executives in a lift but to be able to contain your concept in a succinct description means you will have a clearer idea yourself of what needs doing and why you are doing it.


Speaking of blogs, this one has been stuck in the lift with these pitches for so long that I have missed noting that Gladys Berejiklian is premier of New South Wales, Theresa May is prime minister of Great Britain and Donald Trump is president of the United States of America.
There might have been a reason why I kept myself diverted from this dismal and dispiriting state (not you, Glad)

And Mark McGowan is premier of Western Australia, a big improvement whatever he does.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

peed Skills

While we as writers and formulators of policy and captains of  industry value originality, we are also beholden to the co-option and  adaptation of others' ideas. To that end, my passing the link to Quora where the question was posed as to what the most useful skills were, did no good. LinkedIn reference this in their article and proceed to reproduce an edited list. I don't feel so bad now - actually the reason I do it is for the links and connections that result, differing in form.

Paul Petrone, writer of the LinkedIn article, has a less frivolous or flippant regard for the list, seeing it as embracing good generally applicable skill sets. Although note that I have just in turn editorialised his piece.

On the Quora page itself,

Wojtek Skalski

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Glut feeling

Backtracking, I realised when reading about 'easiest jobs to fill' that this is another way of saying that there are a large number of people in these professions out of work. For that reason, the first to come up in this search, describing the situation at the end of 2009, just seems too long ago.
It does tell us in no uncertain terms that an Obama presidency was good for jobs as, by 2015 a site was quoting The government said unemployment declined to 5.5 percent in February from 5.7 percent the previous month. That’s the lowest national unemployment rate since May 2008.

Other than finding out this salient fact, these more recent job statistics are short on detail saying only
'The easiest jobs to fill are those in construction and in leisure and hospitality'

Thus, back to that earlier list, grain of salt at the ready

  1. Architects
  2. Carpenters
  3. Production supervisors and assembly workers
  4. Pilots
  5. Computer software engineers
  6. Mechanical engineers
  7. Construction workers
  8. Tellers
  9. Bookkeeping, accounting and auditing clerks 
Image result for "architects" one should not seek to know

Friday, May 05, 2017

Mad skills

I thought I would get least useful skills out of the way first since it seems silly to dwell on them. Though we're not in human resources so it's still 'interesting' to know. The search engines don't agree and the least useful skills mentioned at the top of the ranking are for games: Pathfinder Society, Wasteland 2, Skyrim, Diablos 2 & 3, Guild Wars 2, State of Decay and State of Decay 2, Eldritch Horror, Dota
A gaming environment is a good one to speculate on which are the least useful skills; task oriented but hopefully in a fun way. This doesn't mean gaming itself is not a useful skill; one 'easiest job' list includes video game players. When it comes to HR, inquiring as to one's least useful skills - as someone on Quora does - sounds like a trap in an interview or job application though a skill that won't be particularly useful in your role as a shipping clerk is not the same as a fault or weakness that may impede the successful carrying out of duties.

Whatever is considered a good versatile skill across a number of occupations, the most important skill for a helicopter pilot is that they can fly without crashing. Different skills come into play when growing fennel, fixing antennae or selling commemorative mugs
Image result for least useful skills