E9: Transferable Skills: How to Build a Safe and Steady Career

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Episode Summary:

Listen to the full episode on iTunes (and please leave a rating to help the podcast reach more people): E9: Transferable Skills: How to Build a Safe and Steady Career

If your knowledge is very specific and that’s all you know you’re at high risk when that industry takes a hit.

Transferable skills are an investment that keeps on giving back.

When you’re a salesman that’s just a job.

When you’re a good salesman you have a transferable skill.

Most people chase titles because they represent skills. This only works short term.

Education and titles are only tickets to get somewhere.

In some jobs you use things you learned at school but in most jobs the employer knows the things you have learned at school will be useless.

All you got out of school is the discipline to complete a big project.

Putting off working to study because it’s easier is like putting off sex until you’re married.

A lot of people get more and more diplomas because they think a diploma makes for a safe career.

That used to be the case until the early 1990s.

In the early 1990s, Mikael Syding used almost 100% of the Stockholm school of economics lessons he learned in his first years of working in the financial markets.

Like the black & scholes formula for deriving stocks.

However, a few years into his career jobs became much more dynamic and thereby formulas learned at school became much less valuable. Why? Because they could be automated by software.

Instead, the ability to do deep work and learn new skills became much more valuable.

Being able to do a deep work and learn new skills fast is a transferable skills and it’s one of the most future proof skills you can have.

In addition, if you know you can learn new skills fast through deep work, it will be a huge confidence boost when you apply for positions in new industries.

Be careful about putting all your eggs in one basket and learning just one skill.

The salaries in the legal profession were constantly rising for a long time because the legal salaries were being dragged along by the financial markets which require strong regulation.

Mergers and acquisitions were creating more legal work.

The legal profession used to be the worlds safest profession until the financial crisis in 2008.

In 2007, 130,000 legal graduates in the US got a job.

In 2008, after the financial crisis only 40,000 got a job.

After the financial crisis, almost 70% of legal jobs disappeared overnight.

This resulted in thousands of legal graduates in the US with a mountain of college debt they can’t declare bankruptcy on.

The lesson? Make sure you always work on transferrable skills on the side so you can enter a new industry if needed.

Another thing to look out for: Automation.

A lot of repetitive jobs are becoming automated.

Examples:

  • Artificial Intelligence is starting to replace paralegals. (This is the entry level position in law).
  • Book keeping software is replacing book keepers and even accountants.
  • Robots are replacing factory workers.
  • Legal forms are available for free online. Previously you would need a legal expert to get them.

If a task is easy to replicate, it’s just a matter of time before it will be automated.

One of the reasons to why Mikael does the podcast is to stays on the toes and keep learning new skills. Only the paranoid survive.

What is the skill you have that you can take from one job to another and still provide value?

Is that skill automatable?

– Oskar Faarkrog


We are right now creating the Future Skills Program which will be an online video course covering decision making and risk management with weekly homework and evaluations.

* Why decision making and risk management? Because better decisions and risk management equal better finances, better relationships and an overall better life.

* Decisions are the foundation of everything you do and the outcome you eventually get.

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3 comments

  1. Good point about sales. The ability to sell things to people in person is excruciatingly valuable, independent of any one job, and will not be automated in any foreseeable future. And the thought of doing sales makes my stomach churn.

    “Title” (i.e. credentials) are valuable not only because they are protected by law, but because they are required by hiring rules of large organizations (this is a diseconomy of scale) – and yes it can work in the long term, for most peoples goals. Just don’t confuse credentials with skills or knowledge.

    “Putting off working to study because it’s easier is like putting off sex until you’re married.” This should be engraved on the doors of every college admissions office in the world.

    Automation in manufacturing has been delayed for decades by the flood of Asian slave labor on the world market. I wouldn’t count on this situation changing anytime soon.

    1. Hey Abgrund,
      Thanks.
      On Titles:
      “they are required by hiring rules of large organizations”
      –I think you can get around that in the corporate world if you have initiative and a good network / proof of real value. The exceptions are of course for specialized professions like becoming a doctor or a nuclear physicist or whatever.
      Yes, I remember you mentioning this earlier.
      “Automation in manufacturing has been delayed for decades by the flood of Asian slave labor on the world market. I wouldn’t count on this situation changing anytime soon.”

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