And I can sew buttons on

I got a surprise at work the other day. I’m currently on a temp assignment in which I handle a lot of my business over the phone. I was helping a caller,  putting notes into the system my employers use for that purpose. As I was doing so, the caller said: “Is that the sound of you typing?” I admitted that it was, indeed. “Wow,” he said. “That sounds so fast.”

The last time I was tested I typed sixty-five words per minute, and it might be a little faster now. It’s a respectable speed, but nothing compared to some of the younger people I know. The gentleman on the phone was a hunt-and-peck typist. His question reminded me that I have a lot of skills I use every day that I don’t even think about. He also told me that he’d get his work done about two hours faster if he could type as fast as I do. I told him that I thought a typing course would be a worthwhile investment for him.

That got me to thinking—surely there are some skills which would greatly improve my productivity or enjoyment of life. Others would be lovely to have, but not that efficient. Although I currently don’t drive, I’m glad that I know how to fix a flat tire and accomplish other minor automotive repairs. I’ve driven a lot of junkers, and that skill has saved me a lot of time and money. On the other hand, I firmly believe in paying an auto mechanic when the car breaks down. Could I learn to do everything myself? Of course I could. Would it be the most valuable use of my time? No sirree, it would not. If I collected classic cars, however, it might be a worthwhile investment.

Everything is relative. Would a typing course help everyone? It would certainly help some more than others. I believe that all writers would benefit from being able to type at a respectable speed. Would a carpenter who spends the majority of her day crafting custom furniture benefit as much? Probably not. It might not be worth her valuable time. I’m awfully glad that I learned to type, that I learned to cook and that I learned to drive. I’m sure there’s something else I should learn. I’ll have to think about that.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:

119.  What skills are you lacking that would really help you out on a regular basis? Consider acquiring them.

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