What kind of work should I do with my skills?
April 24, 2009 5:49 PM   Subscribe

CareerFilter: Help me figure out a path that utilizes my skill set.

I am a writer, employed, but looking to do part-time work so as to make some extra cash and be out in the world. The problem is that I don't know what to do or if my skill set is needed. I live in L.A., so it's a large enough city where I'm sure I can find something. Also, I don't have a huge chip on my shoulder about things being "beneath me", I just know that I don't want to go back to teaching.

In general, I am a very quick learner and will improve my skill set in my spare time when entering a new job. I am good at changing my behavior to my environment, and often spend my first months at a new job very quietly observing what I need to do. Hard worker, goal oriented, tri-lingual (English, French, Polish). Solid writing skills - I can pretty much write anything as long as you give me a template, or access to Google.

My skills are listed below based on my previous jobs:

- Teacher Aide in Math and French Teacher (also tutor): organized, adept at instructing various levels of comprehension, can handle immature, narcissistic personalities and other difficult people, fast, compassionate. Solid math skills.

- Hardware store cashier/floor rep: Standard store stuff, customer service, product knowledge.

- Reporter for local paper (while also working on community college paper to improve my skills): Great interview skills, able to get people to tell me almost anything, ability to spot liars, be neutral and intellectually dispassionate, good knowledge of LA City politics, processes, players and issues. (ie strong grasp of building codes, state and federal legislation pertaining to zoning, etc). Excellent sleuthing skills. Able to follow or lead.

- Office manager: International contacts, tax knowledge, organization, writing copy, efficiency, money management, communication.

Horrible at selling anything. Besides that, I am at a loss. Thinking of working at Whole Foods since I shop there anyway.

And yes, the economy sucks, but maybe you see something in my skill set that I could work on improving while the economy is in the tank or a job that might utilize these skills? Thanks, hive mind.
posted by anniek to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How fluent are you in French and Polish? Could you be a translator?

You say you're a writer, worked as a reporter, and wrote copy as an office manager. Why not any one of these as a part-time job and also to build up your portfolio?

Have you finished your degree? If not, are you interested in finishing it?
posted by Houstonian at 6:20 PM on April 24, 2009

Response by poster: I don't know if I'm fluent enough to be a translator, but I know that I could certainly put the final push in to get there. And I do have a B.A. in Black Studies.
posted by anniek at 6:32 PM on April 24, 2009

I was looking here to see what people with that degree typically do for work.

Have you thought about combining your interest and skill as a writer with one of these:
Urban Renewal
Public Relations
Historic Preservation
Community Affairs

If you are interested in pursuing some sort of writing work, you need a good portfolio of items. Your portfolio shows and sells your talent. I would think that groups involved in the activities listed above would have a need for (maybe part-time) professional writing to help them draw interest (and dollars) to their programs, educate the wider community, relate ideas important to their group to a broader audience, and so on.

You can write and make a change in the world -- a fantastic thing, really.
posted by Houstonian at 6:51 PM on April 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

(Although based on the degree more than the skills you listed, I would personally try to get in a Diversity and Inclusion department within a large corporation. Many large corporations have them, and Diversity and Inclusion is usually a sub-department within Human Resources. It's not entirely within what you've done so far, but you may find it personally rewarding -- and financially rewarding.)
posted by Houstonian at 6:57 PM on April 24, 2009

You could train/test to be a court interpreter, which would earn you some cash and get you out in the world, or you could teach English as a second language, which would get you out in the world but might not make you much cash, as ESL is often done pro bono along with literacy training etc.
posted by headnsouth at 8:21 PM on April 24, 2009

have you thought about local government? You also seem to have a lot of skills that would be useful as a political aide to someone.
posted by fshgrl at 9:05 PM on April 24, 2009

I second the notion that you would be a great political aide. The skills you list are extremely valuable in that environment, and I think you'd flourish there and enjoy your work. If there are "town meeting" gatherings you could attend, that's one way to introduce yourself to elected officials. Another way is to attend the monthly meetings of your preferred political party and get to know people who are active in that milieu. Good luck!
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:32 AM on April 27, 2009

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