What is your skill?


I have of course been thinking about resumes and other work related things, but mostly I have switched from looking for a job and have instead  been trying to figure out what skills I possess that could provide some income. I have determined that I don’t really have a marketable skill. I mean, I am really good at a lot of things. I can walk into any office and organize it, I can write just about anything, and my research skills are (IMHO) awesome. I am also a pretty damn good cook. However, it’s not like I can go knock on doors and ask people if they want their office organized. I mean – well I guess I could, but who in their right mind would say “Sure! Come on in!”

I am at the point now where I really wish I could trade services with people. My roommate is a carpenter – and not just a carpenter, he is an AWESOME carpenter. I could watch this guy work for hours. He makes creating things from wood look easy and effortless. With his skills, he doesn’t need a job. You see carpenters I have noticed trade services with their friends and co-workers. The siding on our house was done for the cost of material and a couple cases of beer. The guys that came and did our siding did it because my roommate helped him finish his basement. They just trade work. We have had electricians come over and do work, because my roommate at one time or another built them a deck, or put in a ceiling. No money changes hands – just guys using their skills to help each other out. They have all built and remodeled each others homes. When they are out of work – they are never really out of work. There is always someone willing to pay a carpenter to do work.

Along this line of thinking, I really wish my therapist would let me handle her office stuff for her in exchange for therapy. She is a great therapist – but she is a little bit unorganized (according to my ridiculous standards). I could make her job easier while she helps me deal with my life. Too bad things don’t work that way though. I bet however if I was a plumber and she had a leak – she might be willing to trade services – I fix your leak, you fix my head. It just depends really on what skill you are trying to trade and how badly someone needs your particular skill. People can totally live with an unorganized office.

Right now I need a bankruptcy lawyer. I am so broke I can’t even tell people how broke I am. If I could find a bankruptcy lawyer who would be willing to let me do his filing for him, or organize her office I could pay for their services with services. Again though – it doesn’t work that way. I think it should though. I think we should be able to trade skills for service. You take a few hours to file what I need filed, and in exchange I will give you a few hours of work (that you don’t have to pay for). Sounds too good to be true right? It shouldn’t be. That’s how we formed society in the first place. Trade. I feel like sitting in front of the federal building with a sign that says, “Will work for bankruptcy lawyer.”

The one skill I do have that could make me loads of money is writing. The money part comes from writing for students that don’t want to write their own papers. I can charge a lot of money for that service – there are lots of lazy college students who for the right price would absolutely pay me to get them an A on their term paper. The problem is – I have ethical standards that keep me from doing that. However, just like when people turn to crime to make a living, sometimes we need to lower our personal standards. If I charged $50 for a 10 page paper (pretty cheap) I could knock out at least 5 of those a day (more depending on the subject). That’s $250 tax free dollars a day. More than most carpenters make. So basically, I do have a marketable skill – but I would have to lower my own standards of what is right in order to do it. I am almost there. I am out of options and it’s either lower my standards or allow for judgments and liens that last forever as opposed to bankruptcy that I can hopefully one day recover from. I am really leaning toward throwing ethics out the window. It’s a dilemma.

If you were out of work, what skills do you posses that you could use to maintain your way of life or even just to survive? 

14 thoughts on “What is your skill?

  1. You ought to up out advertisements on Craigslist as a personal assistant. I have a friend here who does that for short runs (a few days, weeks or months) on a part time basis she does ok. I know she had to work hard I get up and running but now she has a list if clients and gets referrals.

  2. Did you know that the Federal government still would want their fair share of these ‘bartering services’ arrangements? Yup, There is actually a website (or there was) for professionals looking to barter services (doctors, lawyers, plumbers, bookkeepers) and I read a big disclaimer stating that the value of the services received had to be reported! I’m not naive enough to think that most people would do that, but I also struggle with doing what is moral and just and right, and lost my last job because I refused to knowingly participate in insurance fraud. So, I hear you. Writing those college papers may just make sense once you cannot eat. Funny how your standards can change when you’re hungry.

    • Derb, I am aware that the government wants it’s share of even ‘unofficial’ services which I think is simply another way to control companies that would be willing to barter. I understand it also goes back to lawsuits and labor laws – but because we are such a litigious society, we really left them no real choice and that’s pretty sad.

  3. There are ‘underground’ bartering services out there. The problem is trying to find them. I don’t know where you would even look in your area. The best thing might be to talk to all your roommate’s buddies; they probably know a lot of people out there. And once you get started, more people hear about it. My partner has been trading work with his chiropractor, so it’s doable. I suppose you just have to find the right person. Good luck. 🙂

    • Oh I know it happens everyday. You just have to have a skill that someone wants. Like with the Chiropractor -his deals might be made to get a deck built on a summer home for a few back adjustments. It is about finding the right people and the right circumstance.

  4. Do what you HAVE to do to survive, but try your best to hang on to your integrity as long as possible, for without it, who are we?

    When it comes to writing a paper for a fee, look at it this way. You (like a teacher) are showing the student an example of how it should be done, and getting paid to do so (like teachers do). What that student does with that example (use it to learn how to write his/her own paper properly or submit it as his/her own) is not YOUR moral dilemma.

    People have criticized me for giving money to homeless drunks because of the potential of them buying more booze. I respond to such judgements this way, “What I do for others is between me and my God/conscience, and what they do with my gifts is between them and theirs.”

    Use your God-given talents to serve others and you will be rewarded accordingly.

    • I would rather (and have) give money to homeless drunks than write a paper for some illiterate asshole who will graduate with MY help and then compete with me for employment (and probably get hired ahead of me because he/she is younger). I just hating having this as my best option for cash. :/

  5. An only option may not be our best option, but it may be the best at the moment. Nothing is forever!

    • I believe that everything happens for a reason. I have not been on wordpress for ages…& this is my 1st time to read your blog,but must tell you my inbox had a very interesting newsletter today, a young man who had tried many things & felt divided, finally decided to write a newsletter on a subject he loves. He gathers all the latest news on Baseball and puts it in a newsletter. His subscibers pay $36 a year for him to gather baseball news & they get all of it in one newsletter, saves them hours of surfing time and they are willing to pay.

      • Hi Kay! Thanks for the comment. I actually thought of doing that – making some sort of newsletter and charging a nominal subscription fee. I originally thought about doing a local politics thing – but lost interest in that before I even got it off the ground 🙂 I need to find a subject that I won’t get too bored or annoyed with LOL

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