When You’re a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail

Being an academic and/or training to be one (e.g. PhD student) means that you view a lot of your skills and experiences in that light. However, if you ask others' for their ideas you'll find your skills are transferable. So, if you're an academic (hammer) you'll see everything as an academic skill (a nail). So, talk to other people (tools) about their experiences.


When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

One of the problems that you might find as a PhD student looking for or trying to identify your transferable skills is that all the skills you've learned, and all of the context you have is an academic one. Thus, even though skills might be transferable because you're an academic. Because you're a hammer, all the skills look academic. You're all the stuff everything you see it looks like a nail.

So how can you get around this? One of the easiest things to do is to talk to non-academics, and some of the easiest places to find non-academics is among your family, and your friends. Particularly your family, so I would strongly encourage you to talk to your mom, your dad, your brothers and your sisters, your aunties and uncles, your cousins about the kinds of work they do. The kinds of skills they employ on a day to day basis, and the kinds of things that they look for when they hire people. Most likely they have been through the work force or partly in the work force. Certainly, to the same degree is you, and perhaps even more than you.

So, if you want to stop being a hammer, and you want to find other ways of using your skills or how your skills might be transferable to other industries, talk to people outside academia, and that could be as close as the next bedroom.