Writing Is The Ultimate Transferrable Skill
If you’re looking for a job, or a life, writing is the skill to have.
I’ve known about the joy of writing since I was a kid. I know the sort of reverie that I enter when I start to write anything. My essays were well received in school. My correspondence at work got noticed. In almost every job that I’ve ever had, I had to write. I know the zone of writing.
I’ve had the good fortune to take a typing class as an adolescent. I took that class on a whim, thinking that, “girls type, I might meet some girls”. I didn’t meet any girls for I was too shy then. But I did learn to type and I continued to use that skill as a young adult when I got my first computer, the Amiga 500.
With that computer, I was always typing something. I can say that since about 1987, I’ve been using computers and the keyboards on them. I was on a BBS playing role-playing games in ANSI text. I was writing my journal. I was writing essays and term papers for school. I learned to use email on UNIX in 1991.
With exception to an attempted career as a sheet metal worker, I have worked desk jobs that required the skill of writing and typing. I have had to explore many odd jobs, before finding a calling. I didn’t really take to the line of IT work until about 1999 after some friends of mine suggested that I was “good with computers”.
I have performed many different roles in IT, but the one thing that I have done in all of my jobs is to write. I chatted with coworkers and customers. I wrote thousands of emails to customers and teammates alike. I have written many formal reports in my line of work. I’ve explained technical concepts to people who were not technical. I’ve explained technical problems to people who were more advanced in the topic than I was. I’ve always been writing at my job, no matter what the job.
In my personal life, I’ve written letters to the editor at the local paper and magazines. I wrote letters to my local, state, and the federal government. I’ve filed and tracked more than 300 Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act requests across a variety of agencies. I’ve written correspondence to utilities, debt collectors, doctors, landlords, and service companies. I’ve even written some letters to my relatives.
Writing is the can opener for work. Any well-paying job requires the skill of writing. To get a college degree, you must know how to write, no matter the subject matter of your area of study. To get a job with that degree, you must know how to write.
I have known a few people who are afraid of writing. They think that they have nothing to write about. Let me tell you something. I once believed that, too. I didn’t think I had anything worthy of writing about. But then, as a young man, I began to notice the extent of my suffering, and I wanted out. Working with a counselor, I found something to write about. I have volumes of my journaling in handwriting in a box that I wrote as a young man. Those volumes represent a very early stage of my writing skill. Those volumes were required for my release from suffering.
Even if you are not suffering (raise your hand if you’re not), you may still find joy in writing. Practiced every day, writing becomes a conversation with self. A conversation with the universe. Writing is how I express myself, my desires, my fears, my likes, my hates, my sorrows, my little victories.
I have made a daily habit of writing. In the morning, I write a “morning page” every day. This is what I do for practice. It’s not quite a journal, it’s more like an exercise to clear my mind. Much of what I have to say is boring to other people. So I write what is most important to me in the morning before anyone rises from sleep. I get all that stuff out so that I’m not trying to worm it into an awkward segue with an unsuspecting, and perhaps unwilling conversation partner.
I write a morning page to get whatever is on my mind, onto the screen where I can see it. I have a conversation with myself about what I want to do today, what I did yesterday, and what my dreams were about last night. I write the morning page for me. I write the morning page for mental health, for that writing helps me to organize my thoughts, my priorities, my desires.
When my morning page is done, I write an article here, on Medium or wherever I happen to be blogging. I tried Blogger. I tried Steemit. I’m here for now. I’m not sure how long I will remain here, but I’m a creature of habit and I like it here so far.
When I’m done with all that writing, I’ve pretty much purged all that I really wanted to talk about for the morning, maybe even for the day. When the morning writing exercises are done, I’m available for someone else. I’m available to receive information. I’m available to listen. I’m available to help. I’m available for a conversation. At least until the whistle blows for work. And when I go to work, I’ve said everything I wanted to say in my morning page and in my blog. Now I’m ready to help a customer at work.
All that writing practice means that I’m ready to write for my employer, the customers, and for my team. I have practiced writing so much, that I am undaunted by the prospect of writing a letter to my superior, my team, or the director if the need should arise.
Writing is a world within a world. I have found parts of myself alive and ticking in my writing that I didn’t know existed without writing about them. I have experimented with saying things I should not say to others in my writing. I have noticed the strong feelings I get when writing those kinds of things. Having written to myself what I would not say to others, I know how I would feel if I were to say untoward things to others, and I can resist the temptation to do so.
Writing what matters to me now, leads me not into temptation, and delivers me from fury. Writing allows me to “try it on” before I say something to someone else. If I don’t like the way I feel after writing something, I don’t say it to someone else, too. This is what I do to think about what I’m going to say before I say it. When I’m speaking with my wife or my kids, or any other relative, I’m talking about something that I’ve already been thinking and writing about for days before I bring it up. I use writing to think about what I’m going to say before I say it, in any forum.
Writing is the ultimate transferrable skill. Writing is a skill that transfers from personal life to work life. Writing is a skill that transfers across nearly any job. Writing is a repeatable, unambiguous expression of oneself. Writing is the one skill that you can use for your entire life and never grow tired of it if you choose to use it.