CHAPTER 4Social Skills Are Worth More Now Than 10 Years Ago—Much More

Training in terms of professional content alone no longer suffices for a permanent job and a good salary. In addition to technical or analytical skills, you had better bring along a few social skills to the job, for instance, to be able to coordinate your work with other team members or find compromises in difficult situations. Such skills are increasingly in demand on the labor market and definitely add something to salary rates.

At the onset of my career as an academic, I had the idea—with hindsight, a naive one—that successful research depends solely on good ideas and that these ideas would prevail almost automatically in the medium and long terms. I wasn't aware then that you have to present your ideas to your colleagues in the international academic community at regular intervals, that you have to defend them with verve, and that you have to adapt and improve them in response to feedback. The relevance of this social process for successfully publishing in the top journals of economics became clear to me only little by little. One other thing I had to learn about 25 years ago was that good research emerges increasingly from teamwork and that in few cases is it the work of an individual. I was lucky to find a brilliant partner in Martin Kocher, today the Austrian Minister of Labor and Economic Affairs. Together, we were able to improve our research projects by discussing ideas over a cup of green tea and ...

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