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.
- Introduction Of Red & Black … And Life's Detours
- Career Opportunities
- Conflict Management
- Constructive Feedback
- Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
- Employability Skills
- Intellectual Property
- Interpersonal Studies
- Money & Math
- Motivational Interviewing
- Policies & Procedures
- Project Management
- Resume & Professional Portfolio
- Rights Of Employees & Responsibilities Of Employers
- Values & Priorities
|I'm still shaking my head, in amazement and amusement, at you telling me how there are people claiming that birds aren't real – they're surveillance drones.|
|At first, I thought it was a joke. But then, I found a Newsweek article on the "Birds Aren't Real" movement that claims the government killed all birds and replaced them with surveillance drones.|
|Well, if you hadn't forwarded it, I'd have thought you were messing with me! Anyway, my absolute favorite part is the "logic" that when the birds or drones or whatever you want to call them sit on powerlines, they're recharging. That's hilarious.|
|And, in its own way, clever as it does sound plausible. After all, it is a much easier concept to understand than the explanation of why birds can sit on high-voltage wires and not get electrocuted.|
|I've always wondered about that, but not enough that I want you to explain it. However, can you explain how anyone could believe that all birds are government-operated drones? It sounds more like an SNL skit. Please tell me people know this is just a joke or parody of conspiracy theories.|
|Do they? Conspiracy theories have always existed, and thanks to the internet and social media, they are now running rampant. Some are bizarre, some are silly, and some are dangerous and toxic.|
|Which I find scary. Especially since the only people who can dispute the conspiracies are experts, but if you think they're in on the conspiracy, then that just further feeds it.|
|I disagree. All it takes is people to stop and think versus joining the flock and just following along. But, that is how these conspiracies gain traction.|
|Joining the flock? Cute. And just another "hint" that this idea that birds are secretly spying on us is a prank or satire. I don't know how the organizer can maintain a straight face when they say this is real.|
|Their FAQ (frequently asked questions) page is most amusing, stating, "Bird Poop is actually a form of liquidated tracking apparatus." But, one of the first things that caught my eye on their website is the focus on merchandise for sale. What a brilliant marketing scheme.|
|Well, when I went to the site, what caught my eye was the Richard Nixon "quote" which, even given his involvement with the Watergate coverup, must have been made up, "We needed a way to keep an eye on the American citizens without them knowing. It was imperative, for their own safety of course. We hired only the best. It took years. We designed, built, tested, failed. We persisted. Eventually, over decades, we had it. A fleet of covert technological surveillance devices unlike anything the world had ever seen. We called them, 'Birds.'"|
|Very effective. But, if it is an actual quote, it could refer to some surveillance drones they code-named "Birds" versus ALL birds. Especially as the history of drones goes back to the mid-1800s.|
|Yes, but you're doing that "critical thinking" thing, and we both know that many people will read that quote and assume it's true. And supports the bird conspiracy theory.|
|Then, I would call those people "bird brains," except I do not want to insult the intelligence level of birds.|
FULL QUESTION: I keep hearing about shortages in healthcare workers; how will that impact me?
|Great question. And,
if it weren't for the fact I'm the daughter that gets "into the weeds" of finding
caretakers for our almost 94-year-old mom, I probably wouldn't have even
thought about it. But I can say the shortage of healthcare workers
in hospitals and other health facilities is having a ripple effect as I'm
personally feeling the repercussions in terms of shortages for in-home caregivers.
I know Black always plans for the future by working backward, and for a long time, we tried to get our mom to have in-home caretakers. But even though she has sight and hearing issues, she's still fiercely independent and mentally "with it" and has resisted. However, we're now at a point of it not being optional, so we're struggling to find caregivers.
So, my only words of wisdom are … recognize there are shortages of healthcare workers and, when possible, plan accordingly. Plus, it's always a good time to thank healthcare workers whenever your paths cross to let them know how important they are … to all of us.
I am guessing you are not asking whether this is a good
field in terms of employment opportunities (it is), as the shortage of healthcare
workers is almost epidemic (pun intended).
It is important to acknowledge the shortages and plan accordingly. When it comes to health matters, that is not always possible. However, the need to take a proactive approach to being healthy is as critical as it has ever been, as is the importance of preventative medicine and early detection. So, make sure you take care of any annual or routine exams (many of us deferred them due to COVID-19). We may not be able to do anything about the healthcare shortages, but we can do a better job of minimizing health risks and being prepared to address them if they occur.
Although I have subscriptions to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal (thanks to Black), it's primarily for their arts sections, as I love their coverage on movies, theater, and TV. I try to quickly leaf through the other sections (I feel guilty just sending it straight to recycling) in case there's anything that might be remotely interesting or relevant to Red & Black. But I never expected memories of my high school senior prom to come flooding back … thanks to the business section of The Wall Street Journal.
It brought me back to the spring of 1980 (yes, I'm that old), and as my high school graduation rapidly approached, so did the senior prom. I wasn't dating anyone, and even though it was "back in the day" when girls didn't ask boys out on a date, I decided to invite Carlo, a boy I was good friends with, although I definitely "like liked" him. All girls reading this will know exactly what I mean. For boys, well, you can probably figure it out.
Anyway, I summoned up the courage and asked, and much to my surprise, no make that shock, he accepted. So, you may be thinking, ok, well, this all sounds pretty normal and uneventful, even if it was decades ago. What's the big deal? And what could this possibly have to do with a newspaper article?
Well, at the time, I was living in Massapequa, on Long Island. And although Carlo and I had been classmates at Plainedge High School, he had moved to Switzerland the prior year when his dad, who worked for Alitalia, had been transferred. We had kept in touch writing "old-fashioned" letters (keep in mind, in those days there were no internet or cell phones, and international phone calls were very expensive) and I hadn't seen him in almost a year. So, I never expected he'd respond to my invitation with a letter saying that he'd love to take me to the prom and that he'd be flying in for prom weekend.
Which is why, when I saw the WSJ article stating, "Alitalia, Once a Carrier of the Jet Set, Flies for the Last Time," it brought back special memories from years long gone. Of course, I mentioned it to Black, and although I didn't expect a warm and fuzzy reaction, I was a bit taken back by her response, as she totally missed the point,
Alitalia was a unique airline that never seemed to be run as a business but more as a brand that represented the glamour and romance of "La Dolce Vita" (the good life). Just the mention of the name makes me think of Hollywood stars jetting off to a Roman holiday. And, is totally in keeping with your date flying across the Atlantic to go to your prom, although I am guessing that his flight was free.
I started to explain how for us "mere mortals" getting on an international flight (whether free or full price) might not be as glamorous as it once was, but it's still a big deal. Especially when you're a teenager traveling alone through customs. And how I was flattered by this grand gesture. I even thought about asking her how she would've felt if it had been her prom date. Instead, I decided to say nothing and quietly enjoy the memory. On my own. Which, thanks to Carlo, I wasn't for my senior prom.