Friday, November 20, 2009

Life Skills

As you make your way through life, you acquire strange little skills and odd bits of experience that you usually never expect to use. And then the day arrives when you need that odd skill in a way you never imagined.

In this day of job shortages and down-sizing and retraining, one of the bits of advice that job coaches are sharing is to think out of the box, look at your skills with an eye toward how those skills are related to new jobs you're applying for.

In the past I worked for a small manufacturing company where I ran a drill press to drill holes in knobs, McDonald's, Friendly's, a Waldenbooks warehouse, and a county-wide school where my position was executive secretary. I also taught adult education vocational classes at that last job. Filling out a resume or a job application can be a challenge. But there are commonalities in all my past jobs.

One of the skills I have in common from every one of my employers was that I was the job trainer for new employees. Nope, that wasn't in my job description when I started, but in some strange way, training became one of my duties every time.

In each job, I also wrote and compiled a manual for the job. Hmmm. That wasn't in my job description, either. But it seems that most jobs need some type of reference manual--whether one done professionally by an outside agency, or one done in-house.

Every one of those employers needed an inventory compiled. In all but one job, I made up the forms and process as I went along. But the job was finished and the counts were accurate.

Along the way, I've picked up other oddments of information that I'll use one day. I'm convinced that nothing we learn is wasted. When the day arrives that I desperately need a skill or information, it will be ready to hand.

What is the strangest skill you have acquired in life?



  1. Thanks to last June, I can now change the sticker tape in a price-labelling thingy....

  2. I used to own a corner grocery store, the old mom and pop style. We sold fresh meats and I had to learn how to ground beef for hamburger.
    I've also worked in a warehouse putting price tags on clothing.
    And like you I've written more job description manuals throughout the years than I can count. It was never part of my job duties either.

  3. Hmm. This is interesting. I know a little about country honky tonks because we used to own one. I can deliver flowers at Easter while wearing a bunny suit and I can tell if a chicken is a good 'layer'.

  4. You and I have a lot in common, Anny. I'm all about the manual too. I was at one job for about two month and the employer asked if she could have my notebook, where I'd complied a lot of how things are done, in order to train my replacement. LOL

  5. I can ask when the last time you took certain illegal drugs in Spanish. Yeah, not a huge market for that one.