Talents

There are so many things I can do, and do well at that.

A picture of freehand nail art, done on my own nails using nail polishes, showing a drawing of a small gnome with a bright red hat, surrounded by berries and flowers, on a green to brown gradient background

I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my nail art, for starters, and a lot of people have suggested I could do this professionally. I don’t think I’m at the level yet that I’ve seen from professional nail techs, but it’s a special interest and I’d probably get there within a year.

I’m a good cook. Not at restaurant level (mostly because my presentation sucks), but if someone asked me to cater an event for 30 people, I’d nail that. I’m really good with taste and texture and what foods work well together. And I rock beer pairings.

I’m a damn good writer. Mostly blog posts, sometimes essays. Even release notes and user manuals. I’m detailed and structured and I have an awesome command of language. I know how to grab someone’s attention.

I’m a good carpenter. I simply *know* how things fit together. It’s called carpenter’s eye in Dutch, just seeing how something might be a millimetre off level without measuring. And I can think up creative solutions when things don’t work out the way you planned.

I can do both front-end and back-end web development. I taught myself. It’s a special interest (another one). And I know I could be even better if I really dedicated myself to a single thing. As it is now, I’m more of a troubleshooter, finding bugs in existing code. I can build simple websites by myself, though. And I know how to work with databases, web servers, and domain name configuration. There is nothing that I can’t figure out with a little bit of time and some Google Fu.

I have an eye for fashion and styling. I know what looks good on people, what silhouettes and colours enhance their natural beauty. I see beauty in everyone, which helps a lot. And I love colour theory. Another special interest.

I’m a cat whisperer. I could do fostering or shelter work. Nothing about cat behaviour fazes me, and I can usually fix it. Mia was a bad case, peeing everywhere out of stress and separation anxiety, but she is a healthy and lovely cat these days. Guido chose me at the cat shelter by ripping my arm open from elbow to wrist. Sweet Guido. ❤

I’m a good photographer, and with better equipment I could take even better photos. The stuff I do now is just by using my camera phone and a little bit of editing. I have an eye for detail, lighting, and framing.


I could probably think of a dozen other talents or occupations I’d excel at, but the fact is that none of it will work. For every single thing I’m good at, the biggest stumbling block will be that I’m horrible at acquiring new clients, or not offending my managers with my bluntness, or performing those little social rituals that make people trust you and want to do business with you. My talents don’t count.

And the effort of performing at that social level, even at a basic level that people expect from everyone, not even succeeding at that, leaves me so exhausted that I call in sick far more often than other people, thereby guaranteeing even more marks against me. I can’t stop doing it because 40+ years of experience has taught me that if I stop paying attention to the unwritten social rules, stop trying to fit myself into that mold, the results are even more disastrous. So I keep doing it. To survive.

And I still end up unemployed and unappreciated.

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