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What Skills Do You Find Useful/Not Useful?
Old 05-16-2014, 12:05 PM   #21
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What Skills Do You Find Useful/Not Useful?

Math and computer skills (like simple Excel programming) have been absolutely essential in planning my retirement and in personal finance. Without these skills, I would still be working.

Back in engineering school we were taught how to troubleshoot in an organized, methodical fashion. That skill is invaluable in almost any context.

However, I don't have any other useful skills that I can think of. I hire people to do things for me around the house like plumbing and so on. When it comes to cars, I am completely at sea.

Edited to add: I am a pretty good cook and seamstress, but to me these are useless skills. I prefer not to cook or sew any more than necessary; I enjoy getting away from these activities. After 23 years of marriage they seem like work to me. So, I buy ready made clothing and when I cook, I tend to just grill or heat simple, plain foods. I don't choose to spend a lot of time cooking.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:09 PM   #22
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It may seem odd, and it certainly marks me as a dinosaur, but I've been extremely grateful that I took a typing class in high school. Got to where I could type over 40 wpm with virtually no errors.

That "keyboarding ability" as I guess it would be called today, has saved me countless hours of tedium over the years.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:18 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
1. Confidence that I can figure out how to build/fix something so I am willing to try even if it is something that I have never done before and a willingness to risk failing.
2. An ability to know when something is over my head and I need to call in an expert.
+1.
  • Learned to google "how to" videos. People posts all kind of DIY stuff. Video instruction is 10 times better than reading instruction manuals that are cryptic at best. This has boosted my list of "skills" by quite a bit.
  • Learned to keep my mouth shut when DW is having one of those menopause related mood swings.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:19 PM   #24
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- General electrical wiring, safety, and skills - my biggest accomplishment in this respect was changing a lighting ballast without killing myself!
- General plumbing and mechanical skills - change out valves, sprinkler pipe repairs, etc.
- Writing - undervalued by young people today. Learn how to use a semi-colon, people!!
- Critical thinking - objectivity and analysis (sometimes too much so... ask my wife!)
- Nutrition and cooking
- Basic (very basic) automotive skills like oil change, air filter change, installing a spare, checking/changing fluids, cabin air filters, etc.
- Bicycle maintenance and repair (an ever-growing skill set)
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by robnplunder View Post
Learned to google "how to" videos. People posts all kind of DIY stuff. Video instruction is 10 times better than reading instruction manuals that are cryptic at best. This has boosted my list of "skills" by quite a bit.
For sure. So much is out there on YouTube... putting contractors out of work! I changed out the timing mechanism on my washing machine three years ago. Contractor wanted $300, I could probably buy a new washer for just over that. Instead I bought the part for about $50 and did it myself. Thanks YouTube!
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #26
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Usefull:
Computer skills
Chainsaw skills
Shooting skills
Fishing skills
General Handyman skills

Not So Much:
A lot of the detail stuff learned in college (high end math, econ and such)

Agree with the youtube content. It's the best user manual on the planet.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:47 PM   #27
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I'm curious what you'd call categorically useless? Can a "skill" be wholly "useless?"
I can play tournament tiddlywinks better than anyone else in the world. Doesn't pay much, though.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:33 PM   #28
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Definitely my handyman skills. Having 24 renters, it saves quite a bit of money being able to do things myself. It all adds up.

22 months and counting down to retire from the cubicle farm.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:56 PM   #29
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When I was a college freshman I spent a month and a half in Mexico, the host family had a son my age. One of the things he taught me was how to drink beer without swallowing - tilting the head all the way back, opening the throat and letting the beer fall directly into the stomach.

Even though this is a skill I've never used, I'm reluctant to call it useless.
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:59 PM   #30
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When I was a college freshman I spent a month and a half in Mexico, the host family had a son my age. One of the things he taught me was how to drink beer without swallowing - tilting the head all the way back, opening the throat and letting the beer fall directly into the stomach.

Even though this is a skill I've never used, I'm reluctant to call it useless.
LOL.

The guy can probably do sword swallowing - a valuable skill when unemployment rate is high.
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:09 PM   #31
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Now that I am in retirement mode I realize the following:

Useless Skills:
Everything that made me valuable in my profession.

Useful Skills:
Everything I used to do myself when I was younger, but later hired others to do. (Gardening, metal shop, plumbing, handyman, auto, etc...)

"I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
"

-Joni Mitchell
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:56 PM   #32
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Two "useful skills"

1) Being able to get enough money so that I, personally, don't need any useful skills.

2) Like Dirty Harry said in Magnum Force: "A man's got to know his limitations."
Knowing my limitations
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:05 PM   #33
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Slowly transitioning into retirement I am finding that I need to hone my handyman/builder skills. My career centers around presentations and sales pitches which require a great deal of enthusiasm. While my peers are impressed I'm losing steam but can still do it with one arm tied behind my back. OMY . The useful skills seem to evolve throughout life.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:29 PM   #34
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It may seem odd, and it certainly marks me as a dinosaur, but I've been extremely grateful that I took a typing class in high school. Got to where I could type over 40 wpm with virtually no errors.

That "keyboarding ability" as I guess it would be called today, has saved me countless hours of tedium over the years.
I've often said that the typing class (yes, manual Underwoods) I took in high school was the single most useful class.

Of course, I only took it because I figured I'd be the only guy in a classroom full of girls (Wrong, one other guy had the same idea.) and I knew they couldn't make me buy a typewriter and therefore could not assign homework.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:32 PM   #35
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Patience.
Fortitude.
Self-discipline.
Self-mastery.
Self-control.
Delayed gratifiction.
Lifelong learning commitment.
Lifelong self-innovation commitment.
Self-awareness.
Embracing failure.
Hard, hard, hard work.


These are all inner skills, and all have been, in one way or the other, indispensible to anything I've been able to accomplish in my life.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:50 PM   #36
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One very useful skill that I think most of us on this forum have, or at least trying to obtain, is personal finance.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:57 PM   #37
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When I was 10, I discovered that I can move the muscles in my scalp which wiggle my ears. One ear at a time, or both! Other kids couldn't do it so it is probably a useless ability, versus a useless skill. But it's definitely useless.

A.
We need to see a youtube video proving your ability.

I remember that a classmate of mine in elementary school could do this. Are there really muscles in the scalp, let alone one that is controllable?

Anyway, a search on youtube found the following video. Jump to 1:30 if you are impatient. The speaker made successful use of this ability in his speech, so it was not useless.

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Old 05-16-2014, 04:57 PM   #38
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I've often said that the typing class (yes, manual Underwoods) I took in high school was the single most useful class.

Of course, I only took it because I figured I'd be the only guy in a classroom full of girls (Wrong, one other guy had the same idea.)
I had a similar motivation with similar results - a third of my HS typing class was male.

My mom also insisted I take typing due to my brother's (16 years older) positive experience with knowing how to type. He was drafted into the Marine Corps during the Korean War and, because he was the only Marine in his Boot Camp class that new how to type, he became the company clerk and saw no combat.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:16 PM   #39
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Useful:
Auto Shop
Machine Shop (wood and metal)
Photoshop

Useless:
The Ins and Outs of Extended Survival as a cog in Megacorp
(happily already forgetting this one - even though I'm still nominally employed for another few months)
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:28 PM   #40
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One very useful skill that I think most of us on this forum have, or at least trying to obtain, is personal finance.
That is a good point, something we are all striving for.

I would also hope that civility and respect in the conversation is something we are striving for. I think we have that and that is one of the things I love about this place.
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