Repurposing Your Skills And Talents.

No matter what age you are, or what your circumstances might be, you are special, and you still have something unique to offer. Your life, because of who you are, has meaning. ~Barbara de Angelis

Why don’t I feel grown up yet?

Doug teases me about my varied work history. I don’t pay attention though, because he’s a monkey and never had a job in his fuzzy life…

But, Doug is right about one thing. I do have a large and varied set of skills. I decided to sit down and write out what jobs I’ve held in the past, and what skills I’ve learned. Once I have this data written down, I might be able to combine and rearrange my skills into something new. This may point to a direction I haven’t thought about taking yet, or may suggest a completely new path than the one I usually tread.

How a monkey made a living
I thought I was working!

I thought I was working!

I always wanted to be an artist. I wanted to create. My first steps on this path were as a visual display associate for a major department store. Mannequins and displays… That’s what I set up when I was 20.

After dressing mannequins became boring, I worked for a while honing my carpentry skills in the family business.

While framing houses isn’t art, it developed my tool skills which served me well in the following years. Working with family, or at least working with MY family was a punishment more than a career choice and I was ready to move on when a new opportunity presented itself…

I started working at a  fine arts bronze foundry where I learned a completely new set of skills. For the next five years I honed my craftsmanship and learned how to be a real, working artist. At this point in my I was quite handy with tools and making things, which lead to…

Being a carpenter for a custom yacht company, back to the family business and finally landing me as a set builder/scenic painter/mold maker/sculptor for a company that produces dark rides for Six Flags and similar parks. All of the skills I acquired in the past came together with this job. I was content and happy, right up until the day I was let go because of the poor economy.

I returned to college and earned a degree in History and Art History, and promptly took a municipal job where I didn’t use my education or skill set at all. New skills were learned though, such as conflict management, interpersonal navigating and office politics. The most valuable thing I learned working for city government is exactly what I DON’T want to do with the rest of my life…

I don’t want to be a cog in a machine. I love to create, stand on my own merit and make a difference… I also want to help others. I’m good at creating “things” and I want to use these skills to create concepts and products to enlighten others. Creativity doesn’t have to be three dimensional… I’m learning it can be words, ideas, inspiration and I guess even silly drawings of a monkey…

So?

In my next post, I’ll take this data and start thinking about how to combine my skills in different ways, ans how to use them for different purposes… It’ll be exciting to see what possibilities are uncovered.

Exercise

Write out a narrative of your work history and the skills you’ve acquired. Define your skills so they’re easy to grab and shuffle around… Maybe just a sentence for each one.

Don’t worry too much about hobbies and outside of work pursuits yet… We’ll pull those into the mix soon. What we’re aiming for here is a concise list of skills that can be repurposed in ways we haven’t though of yet.

Sound exciting? It is!

Use what you have!

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12 comments

  1. Hi

    I like this article. This could be an open discussion for other interested readers. I will post my snippets soon. 🙂

    1. Thanks. I look forward to your snippets.

  2. This is an excellent post! and for YOU and most of your generation, everything will be NEW, innovative, as the old is falling away ! Great job !

    1. Thanks Julie! You mean OUR generation… I’m 42 & 3/4! Doug is only five though…

  3. I know I’ve commented on your pictures of Doug before, but I just wanted to say something further – every time I see them, I think they’re fantastic, and they always bring a smile to my face. Surely, this talent you have can become marketable in some way – I wish you luck with this, as you have something unique and entertaining, as well as useful and helpful.

    1. Thanks Penny! You’ve offered lots of support to Doug and me as we’ve developed our blog. I appreciate that you take the time to offer your comments and insight.

  4. Exercise

    Write out a narrative of your work history and the skills you’ve acquired. Define your skills so they’re easy to grab and shuffle around… Maybe just a sentence for each one.

    Don’t worry too much about hobbies and outside of work pursuits yet… We’ll pull those into the mix soon. What we’re aiming for here is a concise list of skills that can be repurposed in ways we haven’t though of yet.

    —————————

    While in college I worked part time at the school computer lab for three years- learned a thing or two about customer service (especially dealing with super annoying people) and tech stuff I never knew existed before.
    Also occasionally shopped around for freelance art gigs answering ads posted on campus, though 90% of the time the projects fell flat and I never saw a dime out of the effort. Guess that’s a lesson too.

    After college went right back, to a different college, where I took up theater arts. Fun, got into painting sets and props, working in costume shop sewing and ironing and stuff; stuck with it for two years and eventually got to the position where I got to design costumes for a show. 🙂
    Also I worked part time temp job at a local costume store where they sell and rent costumes for parties, concerts, and events. Met lot of interesting characters there, one I fondly remember a gay guy in his 40s looking to rent dress for a drag show. ^^;
    Continued to find sporadic freelance gigs like graphic design, photo retouching, storyboarding, and comics; nothing special, it wasn’t for a big name company or anything.

    Well that’s all there is to it. They weren’t much but still I consider them a learning experience. Some of these jobs led me to other creative endeavors which ill talk about at another time. Thanks for reading!

    1. All skills are valuable. I’m about to start combining mine in new and different ways to help find a new path for myself. Some jobs are best at teaching what you DON’T want to do… Valuable as well.

      We collected our skills for a reason. It’s up to us to figure out what it is.

  5. In addition to the practical questions for self-discovery you provided, what I really love about this post is how it encourages us to see how each step of our life’s journey provides us with the skills, knowledge, practice and experience to take the next steps. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for responding! I’m glad you found the post useful. I feel it’s important to use all of our skills to create the life we wish for.

  6. I am a carpenter/home builder myself (retired) and a creator of everything from a guitar to a mansion to a dog house . . . love it all. . . . Paint/sculpt/make furniture and write on the laptop. . . . love that also . . . soon as I get the materials I’m gonna build a cedar camper cap for my pickup . . . sure I will love that also . . . then a straw bale garden . . . than a . . ?

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