Skills You Never Learn In School

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Apple on school desk

This unfortunate and long-drawn pandemic has resulted in employment woes around the world. Even among those who are employed, there is worry that they might be retrenched at any time due to the struggling economy.

When this pandemic ends, it is only a matter of time before the economy recovers and everything will be full speed ahead once again.

By then, you will be expected to go back out there and begin striving for yourself.

By then, things would have changed drastically. The world would have changed and so would have industries. Jobs that were previously not in demand could become high in demand. Skillsets that were previously cherished could be redundant by then, with new skill sets required to land that dream job of yours.

Think about what you wish to be doing after this crisis. Think about your passion. Think about what kind of jobs would allow you to put your passion and skillset to good use.

I believe during this period these are some of the most valuable skills that you could develop, and these skills may or may not be taught in school.

Emotional Intelligence

We were taught about history, science, and math when we were growing up.

However, many of us were not taught how to manage or even identify our own emotions. Neither were we taught to recognize the emotions of others. Yet, these are highly valuable skills that can help us navigate relationships in our personal and professional lives.

The aforementioned skills are usually termed “Emotional intelligence”, which psychological researchers use to measure the ability of an individual to react to others’ emotions and manage their own. Recognizing and responding to the needs of others, handling conflict resolution, and having control over your own emotions are just some of the resulting skills of having emotional intelligence, which gives you an edge over those who may possess lower emotional intelligence.

Fret not. Emotional intelligence can be trained and sharpened.

Possessing higher levels of emotional intelligence helps you interact more effectively, especially at work where you always need to handle a myriad of human personalities. Of course, you will need to be self-motivated enough to put in the effort needed to develop it.

There are many resources available to help with your development. For those who want a quick summary, here are the 4 keys to building emotional intelligence:

  • Self-management
  • Self-awareness
  • Social awareness
  • Relationship management

We have absolutely nothing to lose by sharpening our emotional intelligence. Since we are spending much more time at home due to the pandemic, emotional intelligence might even aid us in managing and resolving conflicts that can arise amongst the family.

Time Management

Time management is another essential skill that will lead you to excellence in your career. Some of us make the mistake of thinking that time management is a skill that comes instinctively and is almost second nature. While that may be true for some people, there are many of us who will find that we struggle to cope with excessive workloads and tight timelines.

Teachers devote much of their time planning lessons so we can get the best education. While we may have absorbed a lot in terms of academics, we did not have the chance to observe how our teachers put effective time management into their planning and thus learn from it.

Lesson planning

Our time back in school was well structured and we had all our schedules planned out for us. Even though we had many subjects to juggle and extracurricular activities, we went through the motions of it all because the school had our timetables ready. Many fresh graduates have trouble with time management when they land their first job and get a heavy workload, resulting in feelings of being overwhelmed. Even for those who have yet to be employed, the sudden amount of free time can leave you feeling lost and unproductive, unsure what to fill your time with.

Time-management is perhaps one of the most useful skills in the real world and yet schools do not teach time-management. They seem to expect that students will figure it out on their own. In this day and age, where working from home seems to be the new norm, it is even more vital for us to manage our time wisely.

So, how can we manage our own time effectively? The key is prioritization. Here are 4 important questions you can ask yourself:

important or urgent

  • What is important and urgent?
  • What is important but not urgent?
  • What is urgent but not important?
  • What is not urgent and not important?


Financial Literacy


One of the most important things parents desire for their children is a quality education.

The truth is that while school education is important and helps you gain the ability to read, write, and solve mathematical problems, it doesn’t prepare you for the real world.

Rather, it teaches you how to be a good employee. It does this by having you follow a rigid schedule, do what you’re told, and not question. If you fail, you’re reprimanded. If you question how something is done, you’re told you’re a troublemaker.

Yet, it’s these very qualities that make you successful in life that a school education doesn’t teach.

If you are going to be successful in the real world, you and your generation will need more than just a school education.

Financial literacy is about how money works and how to make it work for you. It teaches you about debt and how to leverage it, the history of money, what a financial statement is and how to read it, the difference between an asset and liability. It also involves the proficiency of financial principles and concepts, such as financial planning, compound interest, profitable savings techniques, and the time value of money.

Unfortunately, you’ll not find that type of education in schools that teach both academic and professional education.

Most people have never been taught what they need to know in order to take control of their financial lives.

Golden Rules

Basically these are the 3 Golden Rules for Financial Literacy:

Golden Rule #1: Don’t spend more than you make
Basic money management starts with this rule. If you always spend less than you earn, your finances will always be in good shape. Understand the difference between needs and wants, live within your income, and don’t take on any unnecessary debt. It’s really that simple.

Golden Rule #2: Always plan for the future
Get into the habit of saving money by paying yourself first. On payday, transfer money to your savings account even before you pay bills. Many banks will let you set up a recurring transfer from checking to savings through online banking, so you can save money automatically. Planning for the future means preparing for the unexpected, and building up an emergency fund is the best way to handle life’s unforeseen expenses. Having difficulty finding the money to pay yourself first? See Golden Rule #1.

Golden Rule #3: Help your money grow
Once your savings start to build, you should find ways to grow your money through investing. This is especially important for long-term savings strategies such as retirement planning. There are many investment tools available at various levels of risk, but always make sure you thoroughly understand the kind of product you’re investing in. Remember, time is on your side for your retirement and other long-term goals when you start saving and investing as much as you can as early as you can.

While the school curriculum may change over time, and our job expertise may develop and evolve as we progress along, I believe the skills mentioned in this article will remain constant and essential for life.
Junwen Chen

Junwen Chen

As a coach and consultant in the financial industry, I equip my clients with empowering knowledge that enables them to make wise, informed decisions across financial aspects of life. Here are 7 simple financial concepts that will help you create more wealth in your life and coaching business immediately.

Junwen Chen

Junwen Chen

As a coach and consultant in the financial industry, I equip my clients with empowering knowledge that enables them to make wise, informed decisions across financial aspects of life. Here are 7 simple financial concepts that will help you create more wealth in your life and coaching business immediately.

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