The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

(Hu)Man Skills, Reprised

Chase in linking to my post about Popular Mechanics list of “25 Skills Every Man Should Know”, has come up with his own list of “must have” skills.

Here’s how I did.

1. Know basic nutritional needs & how to plan balanced meals
2. Hone your sense of direction & navigation so you don’t need step-by-step turns to find a location
3. Understand types of health insurance & terminology such as OOP max & co-insurance percentage
4. Maintenance of a personal computer
5. In-depth knowledge of your employment benefits
6. Change a flat tire
7. Wash & iron clothes
8. Balance a checkbook & manage your finances
9. Patch holes in walls
10. Fix a clogged toilet
11. Jump start a car
12. Use public transportation to get around
13. Write an effective resume cover letter
14. Professional oral & written communication
15. Basic math
16. Stay calm in emergencies
17. Know when to ask for help
18. Personal hygiene
19. Do your own taxes
20. Use internet search engines strategically (if you know how to do good searches, you can find any information you need on the web)

Not bad. Better than I did on the Popular Mechanics list.

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For the most part, I have my mom to thank for nos. 1 and 7. When I was growing up, she said to me, “There’s no excuse for a young man in your generation not to know how to cook his own food, wash his own clothes and clean his own house. And you’re going to learn before you leave here.” And I did.

My sense of of direction isn’t that great, but I find my way around using landmarks. I’ve gotten us out of some confusing situations that way, and with me in the car you don’t need reverse directions. I can look around and tell you, “We turned right at that McDonald’s on the way, so we should turn left to get back home.”

I’ll admit right now that I don’t have the attention span to know all the ins and outs of health insurance and employee benefits.

I know how to balance a checkbook, sort of, but it will never be balanced to the penny. I can do basic math, but not perfectly.

And I have a huge problem asking for help. I think part of it is a guy thing, not wanting to appear incompetent. (I will stop and ask for directions, though.) But I think it’s due to my ADD. I spent most of my life not hearing directions the first time or forgetting what I heard and asking people to repeat them later. I learned that this is something non-ADD people find very irritating.

It was especially problematic when I started working. I could sit through entire meetings, get assigned tasks, and make the appropriate noises to suggest I’d heard and absorbed the instructions. But, and there’s nothing more terrifying to me than this, I’d leave the meeting realizing that didn’t hear a word that was said, but I’d been assigned a task.

And I didn’t know what that task was. I had two choices: (a) ask someone what I was assigned to do, which meant having to hear “Weren’t you listening at the meeting?”; or (b) wait until someone asked me how the task was going, by which point I’d have lost days of time needed to get it done, and I’d probably have to hear “You mean you haven’t started yet?”. At best I’d have to lie and then scramble to get it done.

Yes, my life is a Seinfeld episode.

One Comment

  1. Want a real life skills test? Go here: http://www.caseylifeskills.org/pages/assess/assess_aclsa.htm

    You want test IV, and you are the “youth” not the “caregiver”. In the survey you get to say how old you really are.

    It is a serious test, developed by one of the best funded private child welfare organizations. It is mostly used for assessing whether kids in care are developing the skills they need for independent living, but you may be interested in seeing what such an organization thinks all young people need to know and be able to do as adults.

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