What Are Your Unsung Skills?

I’ve been a bit quiet of late as I have been busy freelancing, permanent-job-hunting and turning thirty – all at the same time. Hectic. Now, I could write and go on about turning 30, give you my advice on how to cope with your 20s, etc, but you could read this lovely post by Danielle Hampton about turning 30 instead as it basically sums it all up. (Quote: “It’s about looking back at the beautiful naivety of my 20s with humor and acceptance, and realizing that it’s all brought me to this very moment.” Very true.)

What I wanted to talk about is something that keeps creeping back into my mind, the subject of unsung skills. I read a column in The Guardian about it a few weeks ago, it keeps popping into my mind, and I wanted to spread the word. There’s even a book about it, called You Are Good at Things – I recommend reading through (you can preview on Amazon) – you’ll quickly start to feel like the winner of life.

Basically, it’s about the little things in life that you’re really damn good at but that there’s no real reason to shout about. The stuff you wish you could put on your CV, and the stuff that should be considered a genuine life skill (that makes getting older feel better) but that you can’t really shout about. I say, screw all that, let’s shout about everything we’re good at. I’m not even talking about stuff like being able to draw or being good at puns – that stuff can actually get you ahead in life. I’m talking about the REALLY unappreciated talents that could go unnoticed forever.

For example, I am no Olympic athlete or Grammy-winning singer, but I bet you that neither Jessica Ennis or Adele can pack as many bags and random items of festival equipment into a small car boot as I can. Recruiters, take note, I am REALLY good at untangling necklace chains that have got knotted together in a drawer. Shall I put it on my CV?

Here are some of my unsung skills…

Hanging the washing out with optimal surface area exposed for quick drying


Finding the end of the sellotape

Getting the bartender’s attention

Sleeping on trains but waking up before my destination

…and some skills I can only dream of

Changing a duvet cover without drama, falling over or getting lost inside it.

Knowing what to write inside greeting cards

Getting out of bed after just one alarm (as reminded by this Illustrated Tweet)

What are yours?

(Image via

  • Erin Long

    I am SO GOOD at packing suitcases and then packing a car WITH suitcases. Which is pretty convenient since I’m moving across the country. :)

  • Annie Whatsername

    I find myself good at writing in birthday greeting cards+a little drawing only to those who will get it 😀 Oh, and remembering people’s names for like 5 minutes.

  • Laura Schulte

    painting walls. flawlessly

  • Livi Flynn

    I totally get the greeting card thing.. I really have to think about it for a long time before I put pen to paper! As for unsung talents, if there is a cat within 100 metres, I’ll be able to spot it, no matter how camouflaged. I also have excessively neat handwriting and can remember the most random details about people and things, like a friend’s favourite quote or someone’s mother’s birthday..

  • Pim Robert

    I am really good at giving gifts based on minimum details. Example: My friend was staying at someone’s parent’s house in the country for a couple weeks. She wanted to get them something nice as a thank you. Just based on the fact that they have a house in the country, I suggested a free-standing hammock. BOOOOOOM! She said that they still thank her to this day! BOOOOOM!

  • Lindsay Ann

    I’m really good at writing thank you notes and sending birthday cards. I really like sending mail. I’m also really good at Jeopardy, which I suppose is a more useful skill.

  • Margarita Rivera

    Im amazing at organizing and making room where everyone on the planet swears there is none (awesome ability when I lived in a studio apt with NOOO cloosets). Im also good at focusing on different parts of my environment like talking to someone but knowing whats happening with the group of kids on my left and the mom and baby to my right. And on occassion (not always) I can read and watch tv while being on the computer but most of the time I suck at multi-tasking….One unsung skill I wish I had is the ability to wash a sink full of dishes and pile them on the drying rack without a Jenga effect! I also wish I was better at choosing gifts and remembering dates.

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