I’ve been thinking a lot about what my marketable skills are. Writing, public speaking, social media stuff. Maybe opera performance and karate instruction. Passion, a talent for synthesis, geekiness, are non-tangibles that are part of my package. But as I think about who I am to employers, I am finding a whole set of skills which are part of who I am to myself, but no one will ever pay me to use. Here are 5 of them:
- Re-telling fairy-tales. I love fairy-tales, the grittier the better. I can tell you 15 versions of Beauty and the Beast, lasting from 10 seconds to 10 hours.
- Cooking for picky eaters. Whether it’s the vegetarians at my house in Pittsburgh, my beloved brother or my fiance, I have learned to cook full meals to any number of odd specifications. I can do pasta with no meat sauce, no gluten, or no sauce, and serve it so nothing touches anything else on the plate.
- Recite poetry. I know all of my opera songs by heart, and just finished memorizing Sonnet 116. I may or may not have called all my theater-geek friends to recite it to them :-D.
- Sewing strong seams. My favorite dress falls apart every time I wear it (my mom made it from an old quilt) and so I have a regular sewing project every time I need one. I can also darn socks.
- Taking a sheep and turning its fur into clothing. I’ve done everything except shear the darned things, but I can card and spin and string a loom and cut to a pattern and sew. The clothes might be scratchy, smelly, and slightly misshapen, but then most clothes were before the industrial revolution.
I think of these as life-skills rather than job skills. I am still working on my Lazarus Long anti-specialization list.
“Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere… You don’t have to dress up, for instance, and you can’t hear them boo you right away.”–Anne Lamott