Soft Skills - What is the ultimate transferable skill? Learning.

In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists. —Eric Hoffer (1902–1983), Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

The wisdom in Hoffer’s words speaks to the question, “What soft skills remain valuable as our industry continues to evolve or if one has to change industries?” As technical professionals, our market value—our personal currency—is a function of our capacity to learn and the speed at which we do it. Learning is not just about acquiring facts, skills, or knowledge, but rather the application of all of these to a task in order to deliver results. The difference between learning in the workplace and learning at a university can be found in the balance between task, relationships, and self:

Task—Work to be done

Relationships—Interactions with others

Self—Our own aspirations and values

For example, our capacity to do well on a test in school did not depend on our relationships with fellow students; however, our relationships with work colleagues do substantially affect how well we perform at work. At work, all three—task, relationships, and self—are equal partners. We need to maintain an interdependent balance between achieving tasks, maintaining relationships, and fulfilling personal aspirations (self).

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