Let’s take a moment to celebrate layers. Onions are known for them after all, and so are great works of literature – or else Moby Dick is just a story about a fishing trip that gets way out of control.
But for those of us living in cold weather climates, layers are the key to comfort, if not survival. On some days you need a base layer, like long underwear, followed by at least one other pair of pants (I have a friend who routinely wears three pairs of pants), shirts, sweaters or suit coats and more before you get to the winter coat layer.
Layers can also help you survive and thrive in the workplace. Think of your various skill sets – like a background in marketing or accounting – as your base layer. Add to these skill sets in the ways which suit your circumstances, as outlined below:
Add layers when you know it’s bad out there – If I’ve heard the weather forecast predict a high of 10 with serious wind chills, I make sure to dress myself up like a terrorist before I leave the house. Honestly, only my eyes are visible. Similarly, if conditions are tough in your workplace or where you’re seeking work, show them you have the skills they need to meet these challenges. Take a quick course in what they need help with and make sure they know it.
Wear layers so you can adapt to different environments – Heating levels can vary a lot from place to place, and even room to room in the same building, so it’s helpful to dress in layers that help you adjust. In today’s tough economic environment, dressing yourself in layers of skill sets lets you show decision-makers that you’d be a valuable member of their team.
Wear layers to help you deal with what’s coming down the pike – If there’s precipitation in the forecast, it helps to be prepared. If there are storm clouds ahead for your company, or your industry, try adding layers to your skill sets which will help you weather whatever is coming your way. For example, the Business School truism is that if the railroads had seen themselves as in the business of moving people and things – as opposed to the railroad business – they’d still be dominant economic forces today. Prepare yourself to meet the new technologies and markets of the future, which could mean a quick seminar in social network marketing or a lengthy study of Spanish.
Add layers to your skill sets as your circumstances suggest, and you’ll be ready to face a blizzard of change.
Although you might want to pack a shovel, just in case.
by Danielle Dresden