Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Developing marketable skills? Try being more adaptable...the benefits are endless

Hi everybody,

I have been asked by an innovative internet company called Webucator (www.webucator.com ) to participate in their current project by responding to this question: what in my opinion is the most marketable skill for a college graduate or young professional entering the workforce? I have thought about it (having raised three young men helps!) and my answer is below:

I believe that your most marketable skill is really a characteristic, but it will take you far and serve you well: adaptability. Adaptability will make you a happier employee or entrepreneur, will certainly make your employer happy, and will keep you open to exciting new directions in your career, and in your life.

For example: you were hired by a local dinner theater to be a marketing assistant, creating buzz about upcoming shows and developing a network of potential show sponsors from within the community. Instead, you seem to be sent out a lot on of never-ending coffee runs! You are dispatched two or three time a day, waiting in long lines and trying to memorize a jumble of lattes, macchiatos, and decaf orders. Well, you can either 1) protest right away to your manager, 2) not mention it, and be miserable, or 3) let this go for a set time period -- say a month or two.

In that month, you can practice adapting to this seeming disappointment, instead of fuming over it. You will see, and maybe have already seen that life rarely goes as planned. Knowing what I know now as a professional, I would get to know the coffee shop owner or manager -- I am bringing a lot of business her way! I would, in fact, do my job -- develop that connection. Might this coffee shop owner underwrite some or all of an upcoming show? Is there a potential long-lasting relationship brewing here? Believe me, if you come back from coffee run with a sponsor, you will not be ordering coffees for long.

Another possibility lies within your adaptability -- you may one day own that coffee shop, or one like it. Like I said, life is strange. In this secondary role within your primary job, you may discover another professional avenue calling your name -- because you adapt, and jeep your eyes and mind open. Maybe it turns out that the smell of coffee, the chitchat with loyal customers and the sound of a debit card going through is what puts wind in your sails!

Today's professional landscape calls for a person who can roll with the punches, think outside the box about their own future, and add value to every employer or business partner they connect with.

Oh, and an added bonus? If you are adaptable in business, just see how it deepens and improves  friendships, marriage and parenting, along with so many other defining relationships. That's why it is a skill and a characteristic -- and one worth developing personally and professionally.

Good luck, graduates of the class of 2014! And please check out www.webucator.com -- they are there with customized instructor-led training services to round out and/or deepen any professional's skill portfolio. Now, a free Microsoft course is being offered! Check it out!
http://www.webucator.com/microsoft/index.cfm

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