Transferable skills. Not a new term, one long bandied about in regard to writing up your curriculum vitae or resume. However I lived these two words in that order in way I had never anticipated the other day.
When I was undertaking my PhD in Chemistry I was also a demonstrator for practical laboratories for undergraduate Chemistry students, as many of us were. During this time I took on the practical teaching of basic radioactive handling in a third year analytical chemistry subject. It was one of the most fun set of sessions to demonstrate and assist students with, which may explain that while it has been probably at least 15 years since I used to do this, the other day it popped back into my head like it was yesterday.
Why? Well my daughter was having one of those temporary bursts where she didn’t seem particularly keen to be parent-detached and so was ensconced on one hip. I on the other hand was thirsty and decided to treat myself to a bottle of lemonade from the fridge. A good old Schweppes lemonade in a glass bottle with a screw cap lid, What was I to do…invoke the tried and necessary one hand gloved, one hand non-gloved technique (picture Michael Jackson). This is where your gloved hand handles that which is radioactive, and the non-gloved hand handles that which you do not want to get radioactive. You are taught to hold a bottle in such a way that you can unscrew the lid with the same hand. This proved invaluable at a time when I had a non-detachable child occupying the other hand!
The moral, transferable skills is totally true, but not always in the way you might have envisaged!Radioactive photo credit: Wikipedia