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Practical Skills

Posted by TestOut Staff on

Did you ever wonder, as a child, what you would do for a living as an adult? Almost every kid wants to do something glamorous. Fight fires. Walk on the moon. Be a movie star. Join the circus as a lion tamer. Become the President of the United States. Sometimes the dreams get slightly more refined as a teenager: Learn to play the guitar and start a rock band, for example. Or maybe win a cooking competition on TV and become a world-famous restaurateur like Guy Fieri.

Mistress of Jungle Cats

Here's what most kids don't dream about: creating a spreadsheet that tracks and tabulates fourth-quarter expenditures. Maybe sitting down with a coworker to put together a slide presentation that describes an upcoming new product rollout. Writing up a proposal that explains why the sales team needs to hire a new account manager. Nobody dreams about sitting (or standing) in front of a computer and typing (or clicking) for several hours to finish an important project.

None of those things are glamorous. No one will ever watch someone do them on TV. It doesn't take courage (in particular) to confront them, and finishing the next assignment rarely involves sprinting through the jungle, or firing the pistol that you brought along just in case, or mushing a sled dog team through the forest over a long, cold night under a dazzling arctic moon. You won't earn the thanks of a grateful nation, or get a medal from a princess when you're done.

So, yeah, real life is probably more boring than what you thought (or at least hoped and/or dreamed) that it would be back when Cheerios with milk was still your favorite food. Most people do fairly mundane things to get that every-other-week paycheck. One thing that almost everyone uses to do at least part of their job, however, is a computer. And even if you fix cars for a living, or work at the dentist's office, computer-generated documents will, at some point, be involved.

That's one reason why knowing how to create, complete, and manage document is such a valuable life skill. And whether you actually use Microsoft Office to do it, or some other software that's like Microsoft Office, your work will be easier if you know what you're doing. It's never too late, incidentally, to master those skills. You may not ever get a live show in Las Vegas where people watch you compile data, but a lot of employers will ask about the Office entry on your résumé.


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