In my last post I gave a list of characteristics that a University Man or Woman should display. I will admit it was a long list. Developing the qualities necessary to be a successful individual is not easy. It takes perseverance, dedication and time.
What I want to tell you today is that the effort is worth it. Many of you are already well along on the road to becoming university men and women—and that means something.
Believe it or not, here at UT Tyler we work to equip you with both the knowledge you need for your job field and the skills you need to be able to succeed in the workplace and in society. All you need to do is remember that some of the tasks you may not enjoy often teach you the most important skills.
1. Write, write, write, write. The ability to communicate on paper is essential in every job.
- Yes, I did say every job. If you are an engineer, you will still need to write reports. If you are a nurse, you will need to be able to write updates on a patient’s condition. If you are in education, you will write regular emails to parents, principals, district administrators and other audiences.
- No matter what your job description is, writing will be a part of it. So learn to write concisely, descriptively, and with as few errors as possible.
- Don’t just rely on autocorrect or spell check. We’ve all seen what funny errors can result from letting a computer do your writing for you. There are whole websites dedicated to those errors. Don’t end up on one of them.
2. Learn to shake a hand and discuss your ideas. If you are that person in class who is always in the middle of a discussion with the professor, congratulations. You will probably be supervising many of your quieter classmates someday.
- Learning when to talk and when to listen will hone your communication skills and make you a vital employee.
- In fact, in a November article in Forbes, author Dan Schawbel said when his company interviewed employers about traits they look for when hiring students, 98 percent said “communication skills.”
- So learn to speak to others, build strong presentations, and share your thoughts orally and in the written word.
- Warren Buffet once said to a group of business students that communication skills increase an employee’s value by 50 percent.
3. Develop a strong work ethic. Your word is your bond. If an employer can trust youto be there every day at 8 a.m. and work diligently until 5, you’ve got a much better chance of having a future with that company. And even if you don’t want to stay in that job, still keep that ethic. You never know when you will need the bridge you didn’t burn.
4. Develop the four cardinal virtues. The idea of four main virtues is not new. The Greek philosophers—Socrates to Plato to Aristotle—as well as many philosophers since have spoken about the importance of developing the following traits:
- Temperance – which means self-control, moderation, the ability to abstain from things that distract you from your main goal
- Courage – Endurance, the ability to confront fear, uncertainly and intimidation. We are all afraid at times. Just don’t let it get the best of you and you will do fine.
- Practical wisdom, also called prudence – The ability to assess the consequences of your actions and act appropriately.
- Justice – the idea that we all get exactly what we earn, and that we should all fight to make sure we all earn our keep.
Dedicate yourself to these goals, and you will be well on your way toward being a true university man or woman.