I have a very particular skill set.
Can I knit? Yes.
Can I crochet? No.
Can I cook? Yes.
Can I grill? Nope.
Can I walk, run, cycle, snowshoe, do aerobics, and fake karate chop an invisible enemy? Yes and yes!
Can I ski, skateboard, rollerblade, swim, play any team sport known to man, or real karate chop an actual enemy? God save me if I even have to try!
The good news is that– while particular and totally random– my skill set isn’t static. Thank Baby Jesus. I haven’t always known how to knit, for example, and I’m sure one of these days I’ll finally become a Crochet Wizard… just like I’ve always dreamed! (I have taken three Learn to Crochet courses so far but have yet to carry my mad, granny square-making skillz outside of the watchful/patient eye of my instructors. Keyword: yet.)
Anyway. I was thinking about what I’m really good at today, and I guess you can say that all of my non-skills at the moment are really just a matter of choice. After all, technically, I can learn how to do just about anything. Not only that, but I freaking LOVE learning and will hunker down and absorb knowledge just for the sake of it. Hooray for learning! Huzzah to knowing things!
Case in point: Back in my Office Job days, I was promoted to Accounting Associate without any working knowledge of spreadsheets, debits, credits, auditing, or essentially anything to do with numbers and finances besides counting. (Even crazier than the promotion itself was the fact that I took the job. I might as well have agreed to become the star ballerina in Swan Lake or a heart surgeon off the street. “Yeah, that sounds interesting. I’ll do it!”)
I had to be briefed before my “interview” so that I could answer questions about accrual accounting with something more convincing than giant question marks in my eyes. (And by “something more convincing”, you know I mean saying, “Wow, that’s a great question… [extended silence]… Yep. A really thought-provoking question!… [painful, awkward silence]… Accrual accounting, hey?” THE END.) I felt like I was in a bizarre dream for the interview itself– showing up for a big exam without having studied or remembering to wear clothes– and I’m sure the other person on the interview panel was thinking, “Nice try, Dana” the whole time. Anyway. My boss clearly saw something “accountant-y” in me that was all but invisible to my self-reflective eyes at the time. And suddenly, I was Accounting Associate and fielding phone calls about receivables, invoices, and– worst of all– quarterly payouts to charitable organizations. Eep!
Save for a traumatizing stint as a lingerie department cashier/clerk, I had nothing even tangentially related to accounting on my resumé, and boy, did I know it! So, to avoid outright humiliation and to at least minimize my frequent “deer in headlights” looks at staff meetings, I enrolled in a basic Excel class. This class covered the lowest common denominators of spreadsheet making– the auto sum formula, data sorting, cell formatting, etc.– but all of it was 100% new to me and I really, really
needed wanted to impress my boss. (Call me crazy, but I didn’t want to give her any proof that she had made a GIGANTIC MISTAKE by promoting me.) Heh. Long story short: within 3 weeks, I went from having zero accounting skillz to making bar graphs, spreadsheets, and pie charts for fun. (Not joking.) And if I can go from “what means deductions?” to a Spreadsheet Ninja in less than a month, imagine what else I’m capable of! And just think of the skills we can all master, much to our own amazement and horror delight!
OK. I’ve shared my Gold Star Moment with MS Excel. Here’s what I wonder: what skills have you learned or picked up recently? How have you surprised and delighted yourself? I’m a sucker for stuff like this, so please don’t be shy. 🙂