Category Archives: soft skills

3C-Intercultural Competence

You can do anything, and be anything if someone helps you!

Intercultural competence is a big deal in the 21st century global economy.  For those who want to succeed in the 21st century global economy, you must understand the roots of your biases and prejudices. Especially if you have biases, and prejudices, against foreigners, and foreign products. Why? Because the US economy, and virtually every American business, is interdependent. Almost every US company is dependent upon foreign workers, foreign countries, foreign stock markets, and foreign products in order to survive. Consequently, 21st century employers need employees who are respectful of other cultures in order to prevent conflicts at work.

WHERE DO OUR BIASES AND PREJUDICES COME FROM?

The majority of Americans have been taught that bias and prejudice are the results of “ignorance,” or lack of knowledge. However, that is not the case. 21st century employees need to understand that our biases, prejudices, and negative thoughts come from being nurtured to think a certain way. We are all products of our environment, and we all have learned behaviors. For example, it is a universal truth that every baby is born without biases, prejudices, or negative inner voices (a negative perception of themselves). In most cases the negative inner voice of a person begins when a child does not live up to his, or her, parent’s expectations, for the first time. That can be traumatic.

After that first experience, and if the parents or caregivers are not careful, the child may feel like a failure, and that negative self-perception could last forever. Likewise, babies are not born with religious beliefs, or labels in their heads about others. Babies do not label themselves, or others as smart, innocent, dumb, good, bad, black, or white, Hindu, Christian, etc… Instead, they learn the behavior of labeling others from those who surround them. One example of how biases and prejudices are passed down from generation to generation came up in our discussion of the fact that the American Education System, the most progressive school system in the world, does not teach our children basic facts.

For example, in 2006 Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor in her book My STROKE of INSIGHT, explained that the DNA of all human beings, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, is 99.99 percent the same: Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, My Stroke of Insight. In other words, since 2006 it has been widely known that only 1/100th of a percent in DNA separates all human beings. What that means is that all human excuses for our biases, and prejudices, are purely based upon things we create in our minds, not based upon scientific fact. Another basic fact that the AES does not teach our children is the fact that it isn’t 2013 everywhere in the world.

For example, when Christopher Columbus came to the “New World,” from Spain in 1492 A.D. and landed in Mexico, the people there had their own calendar, the Mayan calendar. Columbus imposed his religious beliefs, language, and calendar, onto the people of Mexico. That is why 95% of all people in Mexico are Catholic. Tzvetan Todorov in his book, The Conquest of America, the Question of the Other documented these facts which were taken from Columbus’s personal journals. The Conquest of America, p. 42.

The majority of my students had not been taught that when Columbus initially landed in Mexico the natives there, the Mexicans, did not speak Spanish, or use the Christian calendar. Likewise, American school children are not taught that when 70 million, or 90 percent of the Mexicans population was killed, that tragedy was not given a name. Although Todorov had exposed this information years ago, only the city of Seattle, Washington has taken action. Seattle, Washington was the first city in the USA to recognize that, “the killing of 12 million Jewish people called the Holocaust, but the killing of 70 million Mexicans not given a name.” As a result, the city of Seattle got rid of Columbus Day. The city of Seattle renamed it, “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”  Columbus Day is replaced in Seattle, Washington.

Furthermore, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism all have different calendars. Their calendars do not begin with the death of Jesus. The only reason that facts like these are not widely known is, because American history books are written in a way that supports the dominant religious system in the USA, Christianity. Except for North Korea, and Russia, almost every nation has a religious based calendar. The problem with religious based calendars is that they encourage ignorance, bias and prejudice, to be passed down from generation to generation around the world. However, if you are a critical thinker with intercultural competence, you will be an extremely valuable employee.

COMPLETE p. 60 of the workbook, then proceed to p. 61: Be an Expert

copyright 2015, 2016, 2017

 

3D: Be an expert

You can do anything, and be anything if someone helps you!

Expertise is an integral part of success in the global economy. Competition for jobs, and promotions, requires that you have more connections, better soft skills, and greater knowledge than the competition. In an economy where almost everyone is worried about losing their job, you must take the time to acquire specialized knowledge, or acquire specialized skills that make you more valuable. According to research performed by The Economist/YouGov.com, 62 percent of Americans are worried about losing their jobs.

More importantly, that number climbs to 75 percent if you make less than $35,000 year. Why? Because the employers of those who make less than $35,000, are cutting back hours, and lowering salaries. They know that they can hire newer employees to do the same job cheaper. To learn more go to: The Economist/YouGov.com, documented in The Week Magazine, December 13, 2013 issue, p. 17, section Poll watch. In short, if your boss wants you to attend a conference, or be on a committee, it is wise to participate.

HOW DO YOU DEVELOP EXPERTISE?

An example of developing expertise is when one nurse specializes in having an excellent bedside manner, or another becomes an expert at maintaining patient records. Both have become valuable to their employers. Other key ways of developing expertise require some research.

Before applying to a job take the time to research, and become an expert on the hierarchy of the organization. During the interview, let them know that you did your research. Also, during an interview learn the roles that different individuals play. Know whom you would report to, and whom they report to. If you already work for an organization, it is helpful to become an expert on the power structure of that organization. Moreover, it is important to understand the following types of power:

  • Derivative power – Derivative power comes from having a close association with someone in power. Most secretaries benefit from derivative power. When you apply for a job, and especially if you get an interview for a job, be as kind as possible to the secretaries, and the janitorial staff because you never know whom they are connected to.
  • Coercive power – This type of power is based upon using intimidation, fear, and punishment, one should avoid overuse of this type of power.
  • Reward power – This type of power is based upon a person’s ability to give people something of material, or personal, value in order to motivate them. People prefer to be rewarded for doing well, and not forced to perform well out of fear.

Being an expert is important. Be able to recognize when the three types of power above are being used. Remember, the competition for jobs is at an all time high, and it is getting more competitive.

COMPLETE p. 62 of the workbook, then proceed to p. 63: Be a great communicator

copyright 2015, 2016, 2017

 

CONCLUSION: Break the cycle of failure

You can do anything, and be anything if someone helps you!

Failure. Failure is something that we have all experienced. Many of my failures came from a lack of knowledge. There are so many things that I wish I had known when I was 18. However, I did not have that luxury. Over the years I have met thousands of students who were in the same boat as me, and no one should have to suffer.

First, find a mentor. Having a someone who knows the ropes can save you a lot of time, and stress. Second, if a person is not getting enough sleep, their brains are suffering, and it makes it more difficult to succeed. Modern research has concluded that lack of sleep can cause between a 20-50% decrease in brain function. Many of my students admitted that they do not get enough sleep. However, in addition to not getting enough sleep, several of my students admitted to having failed at school, or a relationship, due to a mental health, or substance abuse issue.

Third, Most Americans do not realize it, but mental and emotional health issues permeate American culture and society. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately one out of four adults is suffering from a diagnosed mental disorder in a given year. As a result, more and more Americans are taking antidepressants. According to the Harvard Medical School, one in ten Americans above the age of 12 is taking antidepressants, and among women in their 40-50’s the number skyrockets to one in four: More Americans on antidepressants.

According to Dr. Ramin Mojtabai who was quoted in the New York Times in August 2013, it is not serious medical issues, or traumatic events that are the source of the problem. Instead, it is the “Feelings of sadness, the stresses of daily life and relationship problems.” The daily stress of life are the primary reason that Americans are asking their doctors for antidepressants: Everyday problems cause depression. In addition to antidepressants, many Americans “self-medicate” by abusing alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs.

Many people falsely believe that they have the right to “get high,” or drunk at home, in their private time, and then come to work “straight” the following day. But that is not the case. For example, if you get arrested for a DUI, drinking under the influence, and it gets into the public paper, you might get fired. Why? Because as stated in Step 5, you an an “Employee at will,” and if your boss does not like what you did, you can get fired for it. That is not fair, but that is reality.

One of my students asked, “What if I go to Colorado, or Amsterdam, and get high legally and then come back to the USA and get tested at work? I did not break the law, am I protected?” The answer is, “no,” the courts do not protect those who abuse alcohol, drugs, even if they are legal prescription drugs, in their private time. Because substance abuse often leads to crime, businesses have a number of rights. For example, employers have the right to search employee “packages, files, desks and cars in order to prevent theft and control operations.” It is also important to note that more and more employers, and potential employers are also checking credit reports.

Potential employers check credit reports, in part, because some “think” it might be a way to detect substance abuse. Substance abuse is expensive, and if a job applicants’ credit report shows that he, or she, has difficulty in maintaining or managing their finances, that potential employer could infer that the applicant has a larger issue such as substance abuse. Consequently, if someone does have a substance abuse problem, the best thing to do is to take action, and get help because you are not alone. In summary, take care of your health, guard your credit score with your life, and if you have a problem with your credit, ask the credit rating company to allow you to explain it. If a future employer reads your official explanation, it could be helpful to you.

HAVE A POSITIVE INNER VOICE

Keep in mind that no child is born with a negative inner voice. It is 100 percent unnatural to see yourself in a negative way. Negative self-perception is a learned behavior, and it can keep you from success. Unlearn it. Be like a child, be “born again,” so to speak. Train your brain to see yourself in positive light. Take baby steps, think positive, and you will succeed.

COMPLETE p. 71 of the workbook, and best of luck to you from TAPS Academics.

copyright 2015, 2016, 2017