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Using Work-Learned Skills in ER
Old 04-06-2013, 01:22 PM   #1
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Using Work-Learned Skills in ER

The other day, I found another way to use a special skill I learned from my years of working for something outside of work and not just for personal use.

Having worked with spreadsheets for my 23-year career in the workforce, I have tried to find ways to use those skills for other tasks outside of work. The first big one was in developing a spreadsheet to aid me in the school Scrabble tourneys I run. I actually began developing the spreadsheet when I was still working but continue to use it and enhance it whenever something new arises in the tourneys. Time is precious in these tourneys, so the more things I can automate or speed up, the more time I can allocate for the kids to play their games. Sometimes, figuring out the pairings for each round can be rather complicated, so the spreadsheet with all of its bells and whistles makes it easy and error-free.

But I found another way to use a spreadsheet to help with another activity I partake in. In one of my square dance clubs, we have had a problem with some of the computer cards. We use these cards so that the couples get to dance with as many of the other couples as possible, and if couples have to sit out now and then because we don't have enough for a square, that is done in a fair and balanced way.

But in the last few months, we discovered that these cards contained a few errors. One time, we had 5 couples gather at one square (instead of the usual 4) because one card had a mistake. (One couple simply moved to a square which had only 3 couples.) Another card was missing a number. Another card got lost. And a few cards had become unreadable in spots due to wear and tear.

So what I did was to enter all the data from the cards into a spreadsheet in such a way so that I could find and clean up the errors and format them so I could reprint them onto card-stock paper cleanly and wrap them with thick clear packaging paper (like laminating them). The latter tasks belong in an art class LOL but the former tasks were the tough ones, trying to figure out where the errors were and trying to reconstruct a missing card.

But after fiddling around with the raw data from the cards I was able to do all of that, then print the repaired cards out and do the art-class stuff. The (elderly) folks at my dance club were quite impressed, too!

Any of you have any stories about how you used any of your work skills for something which helped others in your ER life?
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:32 PM   #2
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I'm not retired yet, but I started working with virtually no understanding of people, and now "people skills" are rated among my best/most desirable skills at work. I expect this to be helpful in retirement. too.

How about skills you bring to the workplace which aren't "work" skills? I carry a little sewing kit, and have mended other folks' accidental rips and sewn on their popped buttons. Not just for men, either!

Oh, and just remembered: My on-line "search" skills helped an elderly uncle find the death records of a military buddy from WWII. He didn't quite remember the man's name but had an "idea" of what it was, and I somehow found out quite a bit about him.

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Old 04-06-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
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I used Excel just today to sketch out different alternative layouts for our kitchen backsplash that we are designing. I made the columns ~ the same width as the rows so I ended up with "graph paper" and could get an idea what various layouts would look like.

Once I had a basic layout I could make copies of that sheet and then look at different alternatives.
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I used Excel just today to sketch out different alternative layouts for our kitchen backsplash that we are designing. I made the columns ~ the same width as the rows so I ended up with "graph paper" and could get an idea what various layouts would look like.

Once I had a basic layout I could make copies of that sheet and then look at different alternatives.
That would be interesting to see. Could you post it, or make it accessible somewhere?

Ha
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:09 PM   #5
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I use a lot of my w*rk skills in my volunteering, although I am noticing it is harder to keep up with the more technical aspects beyond what I actually use personally.

One very rewarding skill I've been able to use on a number of occasions is to help people with job searches based on my experience as a hiring manager. I've coached the children of two friends of mine on job interviews and both ended up finding a job soon after. And I have helped a few friends who are not financially able to ER.
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Old 04-06-2013, 05:48 PM   #6
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I'm using my management skills to help run my condo board.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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That would be interesting to see. Could you post it, or make it accessible somewhere?

Ha
Here ya go. Hope this works.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Kitchen backsplash design.xls (85.0 KB, 25 views)
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:54 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
That would be interesting to see. Could you post it, or make it accessible somewhere?

Ha
I do this often. I use Excel's drawing feature (much better than the same feature in Word) for sketches, P&IDs etc for documentation.

How to do it:
Put the cursor arrow on the box at the upper left-hand corner of the spreadsheet, above the row numbers and immediately to the left of the column letters. Click to highlight all the cells in the spreadsheet.

Put the cursor arrow somewhere in the column letters, on a dividing line. Click and drag the line to the left (gently! it moves a lot) until the widths of the cells look about the same as the height--a spreadsheet with square boxes now.

If you want to make bigger boxes out of smaller boxes, you have to highlight the area of interest and execute the command to merge cells (you will have to hunt for this one; it is in different places in different versions). Note: it can be hard to un-merge cells later. If you didn't get what you wanted right away, do a control-z, which undoes things.

Ed
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:32 AM   #9
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I multi-task - Skype with people, do housework, watch TV, sip some wine and give thanks that I am retired at the same time.
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Meadbh View Post
I'm using my management skills to help run my condo board.
I forgot to include earlier......I have been using my spreadsheet skills to automate the board election tabulation and quorum determination at our co-op's annual meeting for the last several years. I actually could not do this if I were on the board (and I don't wish to serve on it) so it works out well for everyone.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:13 AM   #11
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I'm not retired yet, but I started working with virtually no understanding of people, and now "people skills" are rated among my best/most desirable skills at work. I expect this to be helpful in retirement. too....................................
Amethyst
That sure rings home. I was in the private sector for 26 years ( well , almost 19 was for a gov. contractor) then at 41, entered civil service with a lot of public contact for the last 12 years. Contact with citizens in all tiers of society. I learned 10 fold about life and people in the last 12 , compared to all years before.

My management uses me to ( fix others screwups ) "Enhance the agency image" situations.

These hard learned people skills really help in life outside of work.
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