When Red first heard the phrase "soft skills" she didn't know what it meant. So, Black explained that it was a term used to describe essential skills, such as critical thinking and problem solving, communications, and conflict management (vs."hard skills" which refer to tangible and technical skills). Black then mentioned that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) often refers to them as "21st Century Skills" – sarcastically adding how she's old enough to remember they were important in the 20th Century, too.

The soft skill topics list below are important for students ranging from middle school to adult education, as well as all employees. That's why we included them in ALL of our Career and Technical Education curricula. What's more, unlike more traditional curricula, they've been developed to allow students to see the relevancy of each topic and how these skills are transferable – between their personal lives and the workforce, and from industry-to-industry.

But don't believe us, check out a few samples! We've linked the high school versions of Money & Math, Motivational Interviewing (Red's favorite because of the worksheet), and Teamwork and hope they'll give you a better feel for our approach.

  1. Introduction Of Red & Black … And Life's Detours
  2. Appearances
  3. Career Opportunities
  4. Communications
  5. Conflict Management
  6. Constructive Feedback
  7. Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  8. Diversity
  9. Education
  10. Employability Skills
  11. Intellectual Property
  12. Interpersonal Studies
  13. Leadership
  14. Money & Math
  15. Motivational Interviewing
  16. Negotiating
  17. Policies & Procedures
  18. Project Management
  19. Relationships
  20. Resume & Professional Portfolio
  21. Rights Of Employees & Responsibilities Of Employers
  22. Safety
  23. Teamwork
  24. Technology
  25. Values & Priorities
  26. Vocabulary
Photo by Dave Bolton on iStock

It's a little thing – just three letters – that can make a big impact. At least, it has for Red. Ok, that may sound like a bit of an exaggeration. But the reality is that once "discovered", it can be used in many ways that you may wonder how you ever lived without it.

For Red, it all began years ago when she turned to Black looking for time management advice, and Red, in her usual fashion, could have kept the email stream going on and on (rather ironic given the topic). Black, running out of patience, but knowing that Red can be overly sensitive (trust us, that's an understatement), simply ended her email with "EOM."

Black figured that would get a response but hoped it'd ultimately reap long-term benefits. As expected, Red was clueless about what "EOM" stood for, not even sure whether it was an acronym, abbreviation, or technical term, so when she questioned Black, she called it "alphabet soup", although she was pretty certain the "M" stood for money …

EOM = End of message. Internet slang so that emails or IMs or text messages do not go on needlessly. If used properly, they can increase productivity so you do not continue to babble back and forth. If it used in the subject line, it means the message does not even have to be opened; i.e., there is no message other than the subject line.

Even with her love of blah-blah-blah, Red immediately "got it", loved it, and agreed that EOM made a lot of sense, so immediately started using it. Not only with Black, but with other people, who, she discovered, started using it.

So, now that you've read this post, all we can say is … EOM.

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My kids, and probably Black too, would argue that for me, every day is "Wear Your Pajamas To Work Day" except for pre-pandemic days when I'd "dress up" if we had a meeting or speaking engagement. But, since I work from home, I always wear something comfortable to work. I think of it as casual, workout-inspired clothing – leggings or athletic shorts, long sleeve tee-shirts, that sort of thing. And yes, while technically that isn't pajamas, I've been known to wear something similar to bed at night. Though depending on the season, I might substitute a tee shirt for the long sleeve shirt.


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Many people are working from home due to the pandemic, so are already wearing pajamas "to work" on a regular basis. Or, given all the Zoom calls, maybe just PJ bottoms and dressing professionally on the top. (There have been epic Zoom fails when people either inadvertently stand up or the camera angle shows more "below the belt" than they realized.) Personally, I have always loved men's style pajamas which can be very stylish (I remember more than one season when they were shown as high fashion daywear). So, I would love the opportunity to wear a great pair of PJs with a classic blazer and high heels. Maybe next year …

This quote is perfect, except that we don't know who said it, "People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women."

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It's probably a safe bet (yes, the IRS even has specific rules on how to handle gambling income and losses) that no one looks forward to Tax Day, but it would be easy to make assumptions that how people approach this potentially stressful day would be impacted by how much, or how little, money they make …

Red always assumed that Black, with her M.B.A. in International Finance and highly pragmatic and organized approach to everything, would not only be prepared for Tax Day, but would have filed her IRS paperwork well in advance of April 15. So, imagine her surprise when she found out that Black couldn't remember ever not filing for an extension and couldn't even remember ever preparing her own tax return.

But after Red thought about it, it made sense. If you make more money, your tax return may be more complicated. So, while Red would love to be burdened with filing tax returns on more income, it probably does make her attitude towards Tax Day more of something that needs to be done, but not on the scale of the project that it's for Black. (Plus, Black has to gather all the records for Red & Black, as well as other entities.)

Red knew that the April 15 tax filing deadline had been extended to May 17 this year because of the pandemic but was curious about the history of Tax Day. But she didn't expect to find out that U.S. income tax has only been around since the early 1900s (it was first introduced in 1861, but was then on-again, off-again), as she just assumed that it had been around, well, if not forever then for hundreds of years.

But the biggest surprise she found? Now, prepare yourself … that the IRS might actually have a "sense of humor", although the IRS link Black sent her did have this disclaimer,

When it comes to taxes, everyone has an opinion. These quotes reflect the opinions of their authors; their inclusion here is not an official IRS endorsement of the sentiments expressed.

And if those aren't enough for you, these are also some great – and very famous – Tax Day quotes. While they may not inspire you to get your taxes filed on time, they might, at least, make you smile and know that you're not alone in whatever feelings you have about Tax Day.