Seriously! I seasoned and baked a chicken. I know, you are thinking “so what, I cook every night, that is what most adults do.” Well I did not… The running joke with my family is that I make a “mean reservation”. Before Andrew came into my life feeding me appropriately, I ate cereal, frozen pizza, and the occasional mediocre grilled cheese. Two weeks after I quit my job, I thought, %$*! I am going to have to start pulling my weight in the dinner department. I couldn’t call Door Dash on the nights it was “my turn”. One does need to mindfully budget when you have no income. So, I asked Andrew to show me how to make a chicken. After he stopped assuring me it was not necessary and he enjoyed it, he acquiesced. I got so carried away I even made my own martini! Yes at 40, both things were a “never before seen” occurrence. I would tell Andrew “when someone else makes it, it just tastes better.” All you master chefs out there are thinking, “well she clearly has never known the satisfaction of eating a feast you prepared,” and you would be correct. And up to now I didn’t really care! I still don’t care. But it did get me thinking, did I not enjoy cooking, was I too lazy, too scared to not do it well, or what was the deal? So many hang ups, so little time. Well 5 weeks later, I do not like making chicken, but I have enjoyed making other quick (non-slimy) food things, and I do prefer making my own martinis, but don’t tell Andrew, I would still like the option in my back pocket.
Although I am supposed to be figuring out what I want to do for the next 20 years I am reflecting that all the jobs I had before the age of 20, are the skills I am harnessing today being at home with my first grader. Day camp counselor! Arts and crafts (also known as “arts and farts and doody darts” – am I allowed to say that here?), story time, tennis instructor, soccer/tag/red rover player, lifeguard. Swim instructor! Our pool opened…. There is good reason one should not teach their own child how to swim. My kid is a fantastic swimmer, but trying to get her to use the proper strokes, WHAT WAS I THINKING? Bagel shop attendant! In addition to bagging and ringing, we were the occasional short order cook, making the egg, ham, cheese bagel sandwiches. I mentioned I was a former Jew from New York, the bagel store I worked in was not kosher…go figure. Getting a 6-year-old to have a balanced meal, at times I do feel like a short order cook. Master snarky eye roller! That one I did pro bono for my parents as a teenager. Bargaining with my daughter to complete her work, when the teacher is not right in front of her, has certainly made that glorious skill reappear. Dance teacher and tutor. Self-explanatory. Telemarketer! Yes, I was a telemarketer, hardest job ever at the ripe old age of 14. Turns out, it is my favorite thing to do. Listen and talk. Listen to what people need and try to see if what I can offer them fits what they are struggling with. Could this be it? I may be onto something. It sounds like I am trying to make a career out of being a good friend… What do I have to offer? I have experience. I have authenticity. I have empathy. I have passion for people having energizing careers. I have…. *thinking, thinking, finger tapping…. *
Every organizational specialist, resume writer, recruiter, even a good manager, will tell you not to take for granted all the skills you have learned over the years, especially the ones early on. In every experience there is always something to take away. It may be hard skills or hard lessons, but many of them resume and interview worthy. There is a whole industry on translating the amazingly vast and relevant skills people learn in the military to corporate speak. But why do so many of us (dare I say women) find self-promotion so hard? Is it ego, or lack thereof? Fear of being viewed as pompous? How can we be bold? – without lying of course, that always comes back to you… do not ever fudge your resume or experience – But I am talking about being confident in knowing the skills you have amassed demonstrate character and future ability. I quickly learned as a manager, I would rather have someone on my team who demonstrated they resourcefully learned something new, have critically problem solved, and are a solid person and team player. Hire character, train skills. Let’s make sure we are looking at how people show up, not just what they get done. Character matters. It isn’t only about what we get done, but how we get it done. I made a chicken. My character allowed me try, then experience told me I didn’t like it. The jury is out if whether I was any good at it, but no one fell ill. Now the martini, that was the right pairing of character and competency. Bartender maybe? I’ll ask my stepdaughter to train me.
Happy Friday Eve!