Business in Utah has grown dramatically in the past decade. What was once a state known primarily for its beautiful natural scenery is now known as one of the best states in which to do business. In recent years, Utah has earned the nickname “Silicon Slopes” due to the amount of information technology, software development, and hardware manufacturing businesses that have been founded in or have relocated to the beehive state.
A countless number of us feel trapped or confined within the job we currently have. It can be depressing, to dislike going to work every single day. If you’re itching to pursue something that you love and are passionate about, and your daydreams have turned into montages of you fulfilling these dreams…here are a few tips to create your dream job and turn your dream career into a reality.
Figure out what you want to do
The first step is, obviously, to pinpoint what your dream job actually is. A lot of us tend to think that we want to pursue a handful of different things, and it can be confusing and difficult to pick just one thing to pursue. Remember, you have the rest of your life and eventually, you’ll be able to juggle multiple different careers and business ventures at a time. So pick the one you love the very most, the one you are most passionate about, and focus on that one career path.
Make a business plan
Or, more fittingly, a loose business outline. Starting a business or pursuing your dream job, takes a lot of time. Take the time to determine what steps would be necessary for you to make your dream job a reality. Is this a new business venture you’d be doing alone. Is your dream job working at an existing institution? Working a different position at your current job? Pinpoint that specific goal, and then outline all of the necessary steps to get to that point. You won’t end up following that plan step by step, as nothing goes according to plan. But having a business plan to work off of will keep you productive and consistent.
Even if you’re going to be doing this on your own, it’s important to at the very least gain support from your close friends and family. If you need assistance in the execution of your business plan, carefully choose who you want to help you. You usually want to avoid hiring your friends and family members as your employees, but can instead use them as emotional support as you begin your new business venture.
One more thing you’ll want some extra help with: fraud is one of the biggest concerns of a small business. Seemingly small indiscretions by your employees or associates can eat up your profit margins and hobble your business’ growth. This link has some great tips for preventing fraud.
Keep the end in mind
We often tend to want immediate results. We want to open our business tomorrow, receive our promotion this week, or want to see the fruits of our labors within a very short window of time. The reality is that any sort of business venture or goal is going to take a significant amount of time to accomplish. Don’t let yourself get discouraged, and instead, keep your end goal in mind. If it helps you, create smaller goals along the way so you feel like you really are progressing, instead of feeling stagnant.
Gain inspiration from others
You would never want to copy the work that someone else in your field has done, but it can be very beneficial to gain inspiration from someone else in your field that has accomplished things similar to the things that you want to accomplish. As long as you don’t copy, and you simply use their work to gain inspiration, you won’t run into any problems or complications. You can also reach out to this person and ask them if they’d be willing to let you talk to them about their career. Most people are more than willing to sit down and talk with you over a cup of coffee and answer your questions.
Know your market
No matter what your dream job may be, it’s important for you to know the value that you would provide to your potential market. If you have no idea who you’re presenting yourself to, or who you’re trying to get to buy your product, you won’t have any way to be successful. Don’t let yourself go into it blind; get to know your market and your target audience. What do you provide that they don’t already have access to? What makes you special and different and more worth their time and money? Interact with your audience as much as possible, in every step of the process. Before you begin your new position, as well as after. Your audience and market is always changing and evolving, and so should you.
by Alek Sabin
Many people dream about moving to a new state. There’s something inherently romantic about the idea that we can pick up and move anywhere in this country, without having to worry about visas or anything like that. For many people, leaving the place where they are from is a great source of pride.
However, the financial situation of moving to a new place can be tricky. Obviously, even if you have money put away, you’ll need to come into a steady income in your new home. Typically, it’s a good idea to already have a job lined up, before you even move to the state, but that can be easier said than done. Here are some tips to remember when job searching in a new state…
Look in states with jobs in your industry
First of all, it might be a good idea to pick the state you want to move to based on what you do for a living. If you are a marine biologist, then moving to Boulder, Colorado might make it difficult to find a job. Check what states are big in your industry, if you don’t already know. If you don’t have a specific industry you want to work in, maybe just check to see where other people are moving to, due to their healthy economy.
Start planning months in advance
Obviously, finding a job in a new state is quite an endeavor. It’s not something that is going to happen overnight, unless you are extremely lucky. For this reason, you want to get as much of a head start as you can on researching the area you want to move to and what the workforce is like there. A good starting point is to get onto LinkedIn and check out companies and professionals in the area to see if you have any mutual connections. This should provide a launching off point to get some contacts and let people know you are searching for a job in that area.
Go to where you already know people
While we all want to be our own pioneers, and break new ground in an unfamiliar place, it can be quite useful to move to a place where you already have contacts. If you have any family, friends, or former coworkers who are living in a different state, then you already have a leg up on moving to that place. First of all, those people will be able to keep their ear to the ground for you to find a new job, and on top of that, you may be able to have a place where you can stay, briefly, while you get settled into a new job and find an adequate home.
Bring up your situation in your letter and resume
When you are sending cover letters and resumes to businesses that you want to work at, don’t shy away from the fact that you currently don’t live in the state, but are planning on moving there. Be sure that you mention when you are moving, so that they have an idea of when you can start. This not only puts everybody on the same page and prevents uncomfortable situations where one party feels confused, but there is a certain appeal to hiring people who are moving to an entirely new state, as it does show a strong degree of motivation.
Directly target companies you want to work for
Sending a bunch of resumes out to every business that is hiring might be a good idea, just to cover as much ground as possible, but you aren’t moving to a new place so that you can find a dead-end job that you’re going to hate as much as the one you have now. Another approach is to find the companies that you want to work for. Even if that company isn’t hiring, try getting a hold of them, directly, so that you can approach them about a work opportunity. Even if they can’t hire you right away, they will definitely be considering you if anything opens up in the months before you actually move.
One of the most important skills to learn in life is the ability to love yourself and take pride in the simple fact that you are you. This is especially important when you’re job-searching and interviewing for new positions. You need to be able to honestly state the advantages of having you in the workplace. However, despite how seemingly simple this sounds, people have a real and lasting struggle when it comes to accepting anything that remotely resembles self-confidence. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to hone in on your shortcomings, rather than embrace the things that genuinely make you great.
This is such a popular mindset, that it was even given a name by philosopher Abraham Maslow: the Jonah Complex (or the fear of greatness). Without getting too heady about it, though, there are some simple steps that we should all take every day to improve our outlook of ourselves and boost our self-confidence…
Find things in life that you take pride in
First of all, it’s important to recognize that the things that make up a person’s identity are largely composed of the things that they are proud of, and the things that they are ashamed of. In the pursuit of self-confidence, focusing on the things that you are proud of is a key element to finding things to do every day that you enjoy and make you feel happy.
The source of this pride can vary indefinitely. It could be a job you love, a loving relationship, taking care of children, a game that you’re good at, creatively expressing yourself, or even just wearing your school colors. No matter what the specifics are, find what you are proud of, and build other parts of your life around that.
Avoid things that create stress and anxiety
Focusing on the things that bring pride to your life (or making those things) is a major part of building self-confidence, but it is only half of the battle. You also need to recognize when you are being dragged down by things that are stressful and producing anxiousness. This doesn’t mean running from problems that you are inevitably going to need to face and come to terms with, but it does mean recognizing certain triggers that evoke wildly negative reactions.
These triggers vary, depending on the person. For example, a person who struggles with mental health concerns commonly may trigger negative emotions when alcohol is introduced.
Don’t let hygiene slide
On a practical level, nothing wears down your self-confidence like failing to take care of yourself. Ironically, self-doubt is a bit of a cycle that can perpetuate itself in this way. When we are feeling low about ourselves, then it can be easy to skip out on healthy habits, such as eating well or having a hygiene routine. The problem is that, when we skip out on those things, it only makes us feel worse about ourselves.
No matter how low your self-esteem is on a given day, always remember to get up and do the necessary things to take care of yourself. Even just taking a quick shower is going to make you feel at least a little bit better.
Be sociable, even if it makes you uncomfortable
It can feel great to be alone. Everyone needs time alone to wind down and process their thoughts in peace. However, isolation also allows us to build a dangerous comfort zone where we neglect to connect with other people. Humans are social creatures, and social health is a major part of feeling like we belong within society. For this reason, make sure to get out and into social situations that help you meet new people.
The other reason that this can be great for your self-esteem is that it requires you to consider how you present yourself, and how you promote yourself to other people. This provides excellent insight into how you view yourself, which is an important step to building further self-confidence.
Sometimes it sucks not having a car, whether you just have opted not to get one, or if you can’t actually get a license for health issues. However, let’s face it, cars are overrated! Who needs, ‘em! All they’re going to do is suck your wallet dry as gas prices start to climb, anyways. Besides, it is very possible to get around without a car if you keep your wits about you and find solutions that are affordable and convenient. Here are a few tips to keep in mind, as you are looking for ways that you can get around without having a car…
Get familiar with public transit in your area
The most obvious solution to getting around without a car is public transportation. The key, however, is to become incredibly familiar with the ins-and-outs of public transportation in your area. What you want to be looking for is every bus, train, commuter rail, and shuttle that runs through your neighborhood, and seeing how far they can carry you. Afterwards, price out whether it is worth it for you to get a public transit pass, or if you should just pay on a fare-by-fare basis.
Bikes are your best friend
You don’t need a car to have a set of wheels. When you don’t have a car, a bicycle can be your best friend. Not only is having a bike a great way to get physical exercise, but it is also a relatively quick way to get anywhere in your town within a matter of minutes, if you’d rather not wait around for public transit. Remember, though, that just like having a car means needing to learn how to do some auto maintenance, such as putting oil in the engine or air in your tires, so too is it important to learn how to take good care of your bike.
Live in great walking areas
This one may or may not be a little outside of your control, but if you’re going to have a lifestyle where you don’t have a car, then it’s worth looking into living in areas that are incredibly walking accessible. For people who drive everywhere, this might sound like a drag, but there is something incredibly refreshing to hitting the pavement and taking a stroll through your neighborhood. There are so many things that you pick up on that people who drive never even notice. However, it’s obviously not always possible to live in an area where walking gets you everywhere.
Find a carpool routine
Even if you use transit, get a bike, and walk everywhere you can, there will still be times that you need access to a car. For these times, or if you need a car to get somewhere regularly, then carpooling is always a great option. For example, if you always need a ride to or from work, then all you need to do is use your immeasurable charms to get a co worker to not mind giving you a ride when you need it! Or at least be pathetic enough that they feel sorry for you and end up offering a ride. Basically, don’t be too proud to ask for a ride.
Look at rideshare services
If you need a ride and are unable to carpool anywhere, it’s easier than ever, in today’s world, to get a ride in minutes, thanks to rideshare apps like Lyft and Uber. For a reasonable cost, you can pull up your phone and hail a car to your location in no time at all. The only downside, however, is that continuing to use rideshare apps gets quite expensive, if you use them all the time.
Be a good passenger
Most of all, if you’re going to consistently be riding with people, be a good passenger. This will take you farther than a bike ever will. Being a good conversationalist and making a point to know people makes it far more enjoyable to have you in the car. If you’re going to use someone’s passenger seat, that’s the least that you can try to do.
I love late summer. For some reason, an awareness of the swiftly changing season urges us to go make the most of our limited time. And for many of us in the mountain west, “making the most of summer” means doing some camping. Getting out into nature has amazing benefits to both our bodies and our minds. Natural views force us to get outside of our own heads, relaxed in serenity and balance. For those of us who enjoy the mountain west, we love to get that natural serenity from the mountains. There are many things that you can do to enjoy more time in the mountains, from hiking to climbing. However, camping might be one of the best ways. It allows you to truly spend time out in the wild.
However, if you’re heading out into the mountains with your friends or family, there are some things that you should know and prepare for first.
Check the Weather First
Those who aren’t familiar with the mountains are usually surprised by the weather. Even in the height of summer, nights in the mountains will drop below freezing. It’s also important to understand how quickly the weather can change. It can transition from a freezing rainstorm one minute to blazing hot, exposed sunlight the next. The most common danger to campers is exposure.
Check the weather ahead of time and plan accordingly, but remember that it could all change, and so you’ll want to have gear that helps you adapt to any temperature and all precipitation.
Contact the Forest Service
When you’re doing your research for the trip, look up information about the particular area. Each zone will have different facilities available, different natural resources, different locational safety concerns, and different threats from wild animals.
Contacting the forest service ahead of time will also help you understand what the standards are for waste, water safety, and preventing wildfires. You can also get information about the local trails, and understand whether you need to have a permit for backcountry camping.
Speaking of animals, that’s one of the most common concerns when people are out camping. Sure, there are predators like bears and mountain lions that you should be careful about. However, you are much more likely to come across other wildlife that will inconvenience your trip and even threaten your health and safety. So remember to bring bug spray and take other measures to avoid mosquitoes. This is especially important in certain areas of the mountain west, where West Nile Virus is a risk.
In order to prevent danger from critters both large and small, store your food safely (in bear country, this means either in a bear box, or strung up from a tree a ways away from your camp.) You can also prevent problems by simply making noise where you go, and showing general respect for wildlife and their habitats.
Guard against Exposure
As scary as the wildlife can be, the truth is that you are much more likely to be in danger from exposure to the elements. As mentioned earlier, even in the summer the mountains can get freezing cold. If your body has been taxed through intense physical activity, and you’re also low on water in the body, it’s easy for your body to go into shock, or to experience hypothermia. Bring plenty of warm clothes, cover up to avoid too much sun, and stay hydrated.
Bring a First Aid Kit
You’re much more likely to experience a twisted or broken ankle than you are a mountain lion attack. And so, in order to stay safe, you should:
- Wear proper gear, like hiking boots.
- Step carefully and and handle tools carefully; for example, if you’re using a knife to prep your campfire.
- Camp with friends so that you have someone to help you if you need it.
- Bring a first aid kit with all the basic necessities.
Always Have the Necessities
The “Ten Necessities List,” as laid out by the Mountaineers organization, details all of the most vital things that you’ll need while camping. Even if you don’t think that some of the following apply for you, consider including them in your pack. You never know when you’ll find yourself in need of a navigation system, for example.
- Sun protection
- First aid
- Repair kit
Take Some Solitary Time
Camping is one of many activities that can inspire you and encourage you to live a happier and more purposeful life. Get the most out of your camping experience by learning what you can about the scene around you, from the geological background to the plant and animal life that surround you. You can also get more spiritual and mental benefits from spending some solitary time while camping. Considering stepping away in order to do a personal walk, a workout, or even to write independently in your journal.
By: Ian M.
Chances are you have moved in the past, and you are probably going to move again. If there is one thing I’ve learned over numerous moving experiences, it’s that I hate it. I loathe finding boxes, packing, navigating a half-packed house, and then loading and unloading trucks. To be honest, I kind of enjoy the organization that comes from unpacking, but the stress of living in disarray is just plain awful. Having recently moved myself, I have compiled a short list of helpful tips. Maybe you already do some of these things, but you might find a few surprises too.
In order to move, you’ve got to find some boxes. Unfortunately, boxes aren’t cheap. Buying a pack of five might not break the bank, but buying fifty is quite a financial hit. Factor that into all of your other costs from the move and the price point of cardboard boxes can’t be ignored. So, instead of going and buying brand new boxes at a department store, try to get them for free.
What I’ve done in the past is checked online to see if anyone is trying to get rid of their cardboard boxes. Boxes take up space, even when broken down, so people are often willing to give them away for free. You’ve just got to show up and take the boxes off their hands. The only problem with this approach is you won’t have uniform boxes, which will make the loading and packing process a little trickier. If you don’t feel like dealing with that hassle, try department, grocery, or bookstores. They usually just throw their old boxes away. If you ask, they might give you as many boxes–all the same size and shape–as you need.
The most nerve wracking part about a move, at least for me, is all the super fragile things that accumulate in a house. My awesome tea steeper that my wife got me, handmade wooden crafts from my grandfather, old books I’ve collected, and several other things are all quite fragile. Generally, people use packing paper to protect these kinds of items. But, packing paper–like boxes–isn’t exactly cheap and contributes to waste.
Instead of going out and buying paper, try using things you already have around the house. Do you get a newspaper? Use old magazines and newspapers to wrap, stuff, and protect fragile things during your move. Rather than throwing away the billions of plastic bags you get from the grocery store, use them to pad your boxes. If all else fails, use some old tee shirts or towels.
Tag Your Boxes
When it comes time to finally unload, unpack, and organize everything, it is a huge pain to not know what your boxes hold. This might seem obvious, but make sure you list the items you put in your boxes and what room you want those boxes put in. This helps with unpacking, but also makes life easier while loading the truck. Knowing what room each box goes in lets you organize your truck by room, minimizing the confusion for everyone you’ve enlisted to help in your move.
Look Into Storage Space
I don’t much care for navigating a house riddled with boxes before a move. The smaller your home, the more noticeable the clutter. It just isn’t all that fun having to move boxes around just to get at things so you can pack them, and then move the boxes back. Consider renting storage space to help with your move. An external unit can give you a little extra breathing room so you don’t go crazy before a move and can also give you a little extra time to get things unpacked.
Get Friends to Help
Again, this might be obvious, but it’s really nice to have friends and family help you move. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Maybe you can return the favor later on. If you ask for help, you need to make sure that you have taken care of everything you need to before help arrives. That means have your old place packed, organized, and cleaned before anyone else shows up.
Stay in the goodwill of your friends, and make the process much easier, by being ready when moving day comes. If you find you need help with the packing it’s ok to ask for it. Just make sure the people coming to give you a hand know what to expect.
I understand that the prospect of packing everything you own and moving it can be a pretty daunting task. I remember, when my wife and I were first married, we moved all of our stuff in a Honda Accord. Those days are long gone. But, moving doesn’t have to be a super stressful experience. Focus on the excitement, take advantage of some of this advice, and enjoy your new home.
By Alek Sabin
Working in the film industry is a wild adventure for any type of creative professional. Did you know that the film industry is also alive and well in the Rocky Mountains? Between beautiful sets that directors from all over the world travel for, and great cost-efficiency, the mountain west is home to a lot of film production.
It’s a wonderful industry for people who enjoy the idea of working at a different place every day and facing new challenges on every project, rather than doing the same routine, over and over again.
However, there are also a lot of challenges that come with working in the film industry. First of all, there’s always 20 other people gunning for your job and waiting for you to fail, and working project-by-project means there’s always uncertainty about when the next job is going to come around. However, working in the film industry can be wildly fulfilling, if you find a way to make it work. Here are some tips on how to make a living as a freelancer in the film industry…
Be a specialist at what you do
Many people get into the film industry thinking that they’re just going to do everything and are eager to try their hand at anything that someone lets them do. This is a great attitude for when you start out, but eventually you’re going to want to find your discipline. If you really want to make money working in the film industry, then you need to pick something that you’re a specialist at, and stick with it. Have you found that you have a good ear for production audio? Perfect, there’s always a need for good sound engineers. Do you have a good eye for how the physics of light work? Great, a director of photography is usually only as good as their gaffer. Becoming known as a specialist in a certain department is a quick ticket to higher rates and better work.
Look outside of films with your skillset
For certain professionals in the film industry, their skillsets have a market beyond the film industry. This is great, because then you can supplement your income with your skills even if you aren’t continuously on film projects. For example, makeup artists can get jobs both on and off film sets, if they know how to market themselves. Glamor makeup artists are always in demand for weddings, and special FX makeup artists can make a killing around Halloween-time by doing makeup for people with specific costume needs. Think of ways that you can use your talents outside of a film set, and you’ll have a lot more economic security.
Stick to your rate
When you reach a certain level that you can charge industry standard rates, don’t work for below those standards. When you do so, you are driving rates down for all professionals in that department, and they’ll all hate you for it. Unless you are helping a friend out on a personal project, stick to your rate.
Get your own equipment
After you’ve found your specialty and have been working in the field for a while, then you’re going to want to take the next step and start to build your own equipment kit that you rent out with your services. This is an investment that can really bring home the bacon. While most audio, lighting, or camera equipment is quite expensive, you can charge hundreds or thousands of dollars a day for a kit rental. However, you also need to make sure that you are taking care of that equipment. On-location outdoor shoots in extreme weather can take a toll on your equipment, on top of making it more dangerous to drive with your equipment. Make sure you take steps to protect your equipment, after you’ve made the investment.
Take advantage of tax deductions
When you work in the film industry, you’re probably going to have a dozen different tax forms to go through at the end of the year. Some shoots that are longer term will take you on as an official employee and have you fill out a W-2, while other shoots will only hire you out as a contract worker, and you’ll either need to file through your personal business or as a 1099 contractor. Either way, make sure that you are taking advantage of the tax deductions for money spent on equipment, using your home as an office, or even traveling out to set.
Utah is a great place for many people to live. The variety of our natural scenery provides for a lovely backdrop, and our cities have their own unique culture. Additionally, with a fantastic winter perfect for skiing, it’s seeing better tourism and employment rates at the resorts than they’ve had in a decade or so.
However, we would be lying if we told you that Utah didn’t have its fair share of problems that needed solving. Some of our issues are petty and dry, and need a solution that fulfills everybody’s needs, while other problems have people divided pretty heavily. Regardless, Utah is a state that has been through a lot, and has the potential to grow into something even greater than what it already is.
If you’re traveling around the mountain west for seasonal jobs, it can be important to know about the political and social issues facing the area, even if you’re only going to be there temporarily. Here are some of the biggest political topics in Utah right now….
The horrific air quality and inversion
Everyone in Utah can tell you that breathing becomes quite an unpleasant activity once the colder months start to roll around. Indeed, Salt Lake City frequently has the worst air quality in the nation. The horrific air quality in our state has several causes. First of all, even though our landscape is beautiful, the mountains around the Wasatch Valley are a geographical bowl that makes it hard for air to cycle through. When the weather gets colder, the cold air gets pushed into a dense layer below the hot air. This means that particulate matter and pollution that we put into the air doesn’t dissipate anywhere, thus creating a sort of toxic soup that we all breathe.
While everyone agrees that Utah’s air quality is a major problem, it is unclear how to go about solving the problem, to many. The legislature doesn’t seem to have many solutions, and often underplays how much of an issue it is, choosing instead to declare that porn is the number one public health crisis in Utah. Regardless, it should be noted that nearly half of all particulate matter in our ozone is caused by vehicular emissions. This means that we can all help out, at least a little bit, to reduce our own effect on Utah’s bad air quality.
Potential new drunk driving threshold
Nearly everyone agrees that driving drunk is a reckless and irresponsible thing to do. However, based on the introduction of one new law, some people disagree about exactly what should qualify as driving under the influence. Currently, the blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold that qualifies for driving under the influence is .08% in Utah. This is the same as it is around the rest of the country. However, one state representative from Provo, Norman Thurston, is introducing a bill that would lower the BAC threshold to .05%.
If this new bill were to pass, it would make Utah the first state in the nation to have a lower BAC limit than .08%. However, some other countries in Europe, such as France and Germany, all have lower limits than we do here. The bill has many detractors, though, who say that this type of legislation would punish individuals who aren’t being irresponsible with their drinking habits, and choose to have a small drink with dinner. For more information about this new bill, check out this article here.
Selling of public lands
One recent political standoff in Utah came between Rep. Jason Chaffetz and several conservationist groups over whether or not to sell off 3.3 million acres of public lands. Jason Chaffetz drafted a bill that would have instructed the Interior Department to find ways to dispose of this “excess” land to companies that would utilize it for oil or mineral extraction. This isn’t the first time that Representative Chaffetz has attempted to carry through on this fight, as he has introduced this same bill, annually, ever since 2010.
There is some news that the dust has settled on this issue for a while, though. On February 2nd, Representative Chaffetz announced that he would no longer be pursuing the bill, due to pressure from conservationist groups. However, it is entirely possible, and likely, that we will see another fight over this issue in the near future. This topic is especially applicable to seasonal workers, as it could affect State and National Park employment and duties. However, it can also mean different opportunities as areas become privatized.
The corporate world moves fast. Technology is always changing, and that means that in many fields, you’ll find your job constantly adjusting. Some reports on the field of engineering estimate that just two years without keeping up-to-date on the latest developments can render you obsolete for any upcoming projects. Even doctors and lawyers, who many would think have evergreen skills, need to keep up on continuing education in their field to stay relevant.
The prospect of keeping ahead of the game in the professional world can be overwhelming to many of us. However, incorporating a few techniques into your daily professional life can make it second nature.
Give Yourself Room to Explore Things that Interest You
Have you ever been curious about the set design that goes into movies? Do you wonder about the advances that have happened in solar power? Well, give yourself room to explore those areas. If it’s something that interests you, you’ll apply yourself better and learn quicker. Seize opportunities to go to events where you can learn more. Sign up for tutorials and courses where you can develop new skills. Volunteer with your free time so that you have some experience in the area. Spend time reading about industry news.
It may not seem immediately applicable to your job right now, but who knows how things will change in the future? You may be able to bring a skill that you learn outside of work to bear in the conference room, and it will give you a competitive advantage. Furthermore, learning new things in one area of life makes us more able to adapt to new things in other areas. The brain is a muscle and it needs to be exercised.
Refine Your Timeless Skills and Attributes
There are some skills that will never become obsolete, no matter how the world changes around us. For example, speaking skills are still needed, perhaps more than ever in a world where video content rules the internet and quickly executed talking head videos could be the key to your small business’ marketing success.
Many researchers have found that, as important as specific niche skills are, these specialties and even traditionally-taught skills in schools aren’t as important as other attributes. Tenacity, determination, and curiosity may be better markers of success. Emotional intelligence, for example, is one skill set that is highly desirable in the workforce, and never goes out of style.
Learn from Everyone Around You
When you’ve developed a skill in your niche, it can be easy to fall into a pattern and believe that they way you do things is always the best way. In order to stay ahead of the game, you need to cultivate an open mind and consider the things that you can learn from everyone around you. Your clients, major competitors, and coworkers or employees all have things that they know that you don’t. Ask questions whenever possible and exercise your brain by considering what the benefits are in doing something someone else’s way.
Try to finish your own tasks quickly so that you can offer to help others at the office and learn more about what they do too. The collaboration will probably be profitable to you both!
Take Advantage of Additional Training at Work
Does your job ever offer an opportunity to go to a trade show? To participate in a speaking engagement? To give you time for additional training courses that you can do online? Seize those opportunities! Even for something as simple as learning a new software program that you use in the office can prove useful in the future. First of all, it makes you more indispensable in your existing position. Secondly, those new skills are current, and probably valuable to other possible job opportunities.
Subscribe to magazines and newsletters that talk about news in your industry (or in any area you’re curious about). This might be an actual magazine, or it could be notable bloggers in the field, newspaper publications, and email campaigns. Take time aside every week to see what’s going on in the world around you so that you can track trends and learn about developments that could help your business.
Are you a copywriter at a newspaper? If the newspaper goes under, and it’s impossible to find another job in a newspaper (because they’re all struggling) then you need to re-brand your skills and break them down into smaller pieces so that you can be more flexible.
For example, you know one style of editing really well. This means that you know how to work within a certain system, and so will learn a new one well. You have attention to detail, and you’ve demonstrated reliability and the ability to work with a team. Break your skills down into their essential components so that you’re able to adjust to new kinds of work as they arise.