Category Archives: developing expertise

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/, 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/, 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.


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.


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