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Capitalist Chris

Picking up a part time job to improve other skills

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I'm curious whether there are people out there that have picked up part time work (in addition to a full time job) in order to gain/improve on a skill.

 

Lately, I've been thinking about picking up some part time work on the evenings or weekends to help work on my social/selling skills. I work full time as an engineer.

 

Just curious whether others have done it, purely for improving/gaining skillsets, and what they thought of the experience.

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Learning or improving practical skills is always a good idea. Especially in the case of engineers, "hands-on" experience is something lacking in many young (and for that matter senior) supervisors, qualifying as engineers. This has been my observation. As I often undertake home-improvement projects, I may hire a private contractor as needed, and when practical conditions permit, I insist on working with the crew. Sometimes I learn something new.

 

Depending on how motivated you are, you would benefit from working part-time with an outfit that works in your specific area of interest. On the subject of salesmanship, I'm afraid I can't help you; I've never been successful in sales.

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Just curious whether others have done it, purely for improving/gaining skillsets, and what they thought of the experience.

I spend my life picking up new skillsets, not just through jobs -- although (full time) jobs can be a good source for this. So naturally, I say "go for it."

But, is a part-time job really the best way for you to learn these two particular skills? If you throw yourself into a very social job environment, you will probably learn how to navigate through the noise OK, but no more than you would joining a group of hobbyists. And then, if you find a very good salesman (difficult) who is willing to let you follow him around (unlikely for a part-timer, why would he invest the time?), you would probably not learn anywhere near as much as you would watching YouTube videos after work at night, for a fraction of the time invested.

I'm pro-learning new stuff, but not necessarily at low-learning-value part time jobs, where their main concern is for you to fulfill a narrowly-defined purpose. It's not ideal for learning new things, and you'll probably get pushback if you try to deviate even slightly.

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Thanks for the replies.

 

Repairman, I hear you with taking on projects at home. I'm often surprised with what I can accomplish, if I just set out to do it. I thought a part time job would be helpful for a number of reasons. Some weekends I get a restless feeling. I assume it's that my work is very intense, poof, it's the weekend and I'm at 0 intensity. A part time job would allow me to use some of that time to flex a different muscle. It doesn't necessarily have to be salesmanship, but something engaging and social. Plus at the end of the month I can have a few extra bucks to invest, have a nice dinner or whatever.

 

JASKN, I understand what you're saying. I also don't expect to get a mentor or a teacher of salesmanship. Nor would a job be my only means to work on these goals. But I know job puts me in positions I wouldn't normally end up in, which can allow me to work on how I react to situations, how I work, how I work with a team, etc. I'm not saying a part time job is going to necessarily help (I don't know), but I think being in more social situations creates that. If it inevitably turns into me trading my time down, I can just quit.

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In my teen years I held three jobs that interfaced with random sampling of the public.

 

The first was with a gentleman farmer, a retiree that farmed three acres and operated a roadside stand selling fruits and vegetables. The clientele was a mixture of a several repeat customers along with people who happened to be driving thru the area and decided to stop it. With food, it is not that you need to sell it. People need food. What's to sell? They would pull off to the side of the road and exit their vehicle. A simple "Hi, how are you doing to day?" was enough to let them set the course of the conversation. Let them bring up whatever is on their mind, and chat about it for a spell. At a point when the conversation lags, you simply ask, "What is it that brings you in today?" If the conversation doesn't lag, usually the client will let you know the reason they stopped in.

 

Moving to the city, I answered an ad for a canvasser for a carpeting store. The job was not to sell, but to canvass areas, door to door, looking for leads that would be given to the salesman to follow up with. It started with a script, something along the order of "Hi. I'm here on behalf of Clyde's Carpet. We're out looking to see if you would be interested in getting a free estimate on what it might cost to re carpet your home. If you're interested, we can have a representative drop by and bring some samples and measure to give you an accurate quote."

 

Again, after using the script for awhile, you tossed the script away, knocked on the door, and started the conversation with "Hi, how are you today?" Then let them guide the conversations until either a lull occurs, or they ask what brings you by. Commissions where how the canvassers were paid over and above the flat rate for canvassing. This approach netted me, according to the spiel I was given, the highest bonus check given without a backlog of leads. (I had only worked for them a little over a month.)

 

The third organization I used a similar approach was for the Kiwanis Club. We were making calls, using a phonebook that listed telephone numbers by streets and address. In retrospect, instead of going thru the phone book and having 1000 calls addressing Mr. and/or Mrs. Smith, it mixed the names with which you dealt. Again, there was a script. The problem with the script was that it was one size fits all. Nice for breaking the ice to a potential phone solicitor, but to be good, the delivery can't come across as canned. Again, bonuses were made, not on the number of confirmations made in a night - although it was used to keep 'score' on a daily basis, but on the number of tickets that were actually processed.

 

Even in this case, the calls went from "Hi, Mr. or Ms. Smith, I'm calling on behalf of . . ." to "Hi, Mr. or Ms. Smith. How are you this fine evening?", once again, letting them provide some material to work with, setting them at ease, and eventually turning the conversation to the purpose of the call.

 

These were all considered entry level positions. In retrospect, I can see how one might use it as a stepping stone into a higher position  The key, if you will, would be to be comfortable in your own skin, so to speak. These were all positions held prior to discovering Objectivism. I would not often argue or disagree in the conversation, but learned to ask questions that would elicit input or insight for mulling over. From a sales perspective, to do likewise might be detrimental to your bottom line, depending on the product.

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I believe that the best way to improve yourself is by practicing, doing new things, and learning what are you weaknesses. There is the all saying "Practice makes perfect", well is created for a reason... because is true! If you have the time to have another job thinking that this will help you improve something you are not good at, then do it. Maybe at first it will be hard to take both jobs, but at the end it will be worth it! 

 

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4 minutes ago, Maria Veronica said:

There is the all saying "Practice makes perfect", well is created for a reason... because is true!

That being said, I hearken back to what my first piano teacher used to tell me:

On 4/17/2016 at 3:18 AM, dream_weaver said:

"Yes," she cackled, "practice does make perfect. If you practice a mistake long enough, you'll get really good at it." Then she would add, "Perfect practice makes perfect."

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This is 16 months late, but, for me at least, the more I work, the less I'm in the mood to socialize and learn new things.

Developing your skills should be the priority, not a late night afterthought. If what you want is to develop communication and sales skills, you should ask your current employer for responsibilities that help you do that. As long as you demonstrate that you're serious (by for instance offering to spend some of your own time studying, in addition to the on the job training you'd be getting while on the clock), companies are very much interested in investing in employees who wish to diversify their skill sets.

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