The other day I was talking with a highly skilled person, an airplane pilot. I asked him, “If you lost your job tomorrow, what could you do?”
“Well, I would need to go and get trained for a different field.” he responded. He did not have a sense that all his competences and experience as a pilot could in fact be absolutely useful for another field of work. That he functioned as a leader, a communicator, a team player. That he had developed attention to detail, respect of process, preoccupation with security etc etc.
We get lost in our specialisations, so much so that we don’t see that what we know and what we can do is absolutely transferable. Yes, transferring knowledge and skills is one of the greatest challenges to teach, both in schools and in the workplace. Which brings us back to valuing our competences and expressing them in a neutral or decontextualised way to better get a grasp of our true potential. In so doing, our pilot would be better able to project himself into a world beyond his present one. If you don’t have a sense of the potential of transfer you can feel either locked in your work or lost when it taken away from you. We need to keep our sense of possibility, don’t you think?