New skills: What have you added during the pandemic?
Pandemic Skills: Coping Mechanism or Career Necessity?
Aaah, the pandemic. There’s nothing new to say about it, is there? We’ve all been affected so differently depending on where we live, our personal circumstances, and our specializations. Some of us have been drowning in work, while others have been high and dry for too long. Some, like me, had a mix of dry spells and too much work to handle. Having your income disappear can be very motivating for hitting the books (or screens) to diversify your business.
Setting that aside, the restrictions have led (or maybe even forced?) most of us to discover new ways of spending our time and keeping some joy in our lives. And that pursuit of knowledge, happiness, and everything else spilled over into social media where we all flocked to have some kind of human interaction.
What caught my interest is how we’ve all begun talking about the new things we’ve been learning over the past year and a half. I also feel that we’ve started letting more of our personal lives leak into social media. During the pandemic, it became OK to post about baking fails, Zoom origami lessons, or the soul-draining horror of home-schooling where we once kept it strictly professional. I like this more human side of professionals on social media. And I’ve read about super interesting things you all have been getting up to. Why don’t we share a little more?
New Work-Related Skills
When the pandemic hit, work dried up for many of us. I bet I’m not the only one who took advantage of the slump to add on some new skills (with the added benefit of keeping panic at bay). I remember reading what many of you were sharing on Twitter and LinkedIn and feeling some FOMO because there was no way I could keep up with all of that.
So, what did your eye turn to?
Some things I remember seeing mentioned online:
- Marketing skills
- New subject-matter expertise or even a new specialization
- All kinds of video-conferencing and -training skills
- Attending all the conferences that were taking place online
What did you do? Did you maybe even branch out into a new field of business? I just signed up for an evening where 3 translators and writers will share how they handled their work situation in the pandemic. One of the people on the panel started giving online training when her interpreting work disappeared. Call me impressed!
New Hobbies and Creative Outlets
Work, work, work—new skills don’t have to pay the rent to be worth mentioning. Without creative outlets, interesting ways to move our body, or cool culinary skills, life would be drab. Maybe finding a new passion helped you get through all the weirdness. So, what have you explored over the last one and a half years?
Things I’ve seen translators and writers mention over the socials:
- Perfecting your sourdough baking skills
- Learning a new instrument or taking vocal lessons
- Getting into Zoom ballet lessons
- Taking up embroidery, knitting, or crocheting
- Taking drawing or sketching lessons
- Really exploring journaling and creative writing
- Finishing that stack of unread books
My creative skills seem to focus on the written word, so I have no amazing paintings or exquisite pottery to brag about. I settled on something more practical: I’ve finally gotten the nerve to start making cold-process soap. It’s something I’ve been wanting to try for over 20 years (yep, I’m that old), But I was scared because it involved careful planning and handling lye, which can burn your eyes out if you’re not careful. No more! For my birthday in April, I gave myself soaping supplies and I’ve been having a blast ever since. Turns out that soaping is something I can do and enjoy doing. My new problem is what to do with all this soap. There’s no way I can use it all up. So, I’m always on the lookout for people who innocently mention that they like handmade soap. They’ll never know what hit them 🙂
What about you? Have you added a new skill to your quiver during the pandemic? Or do you deserve public appreciation for simply getting through this time? I know the pandemic has brought almost unbearable change to some of our lives, and I don’t want to make light of that. The ability to cope with all the curve balls that just kept coming is possibly the most-prized talent of all.
Leave a comment and let’s chat about skills or no skills.