The Most Valuable Skill I Never Knew I Needed

By Michelle Anderson, Healthcare Training and Assessment Assistant, RESOURCE MRC

I think far too often, people (myself included) tend to disregard the importance of being skilled in doing tasks that may not be the most glamorous or desirable. In addition to being undesirable, some tasks may even involve using skills that might not necessarily be on the task-doer’s resume. The vital importance of completing these (sometimes) undesirable tasks for which I might not be innately good at is not lost on me, though. “Someone has to do it,” is a phrase I’ve heard more times than I can count, and it didn’t take me long to realize that in the context of being the VISTA, I was indeed the someone who was going to complete it.

It may sound like I’m taking a negative outlook on my year of service, and I’ll admit it hasn’t always been easy or fun, but my experience of this year as a whole has been far from negative. Learning to not only accomplish, but excel at projects given to me that aren’t within my realm of innate strengths has been the single most valuable skill I’ve gained from my year of service. That’s not to say I haven’t benefitted hugely from my experience in other ways, as well.

Writing college essays or studying for exams are great examples of doing necessary work we don’t always feel like doing. The difference is the people being affected by the work. Slacking off on one college paper only affects me and my grade in a particular class. Slacking off on a project at work directly affects the people we serve. With participants of programs at RESOURCE, Inc., there isn’t often a lot of leeway with time or resources; these people’s lives are in the mix. And working with people who live paycheck to paycheck if they’re lucky, and even with those less fortunate than that, the smallest hiccup from my perspective can be something much larger from theirs.

Plain and simple, doing things we don’t like to do is no one’s idea of fun. It’s hard work. Even if the work itself isn’t that hard. I see so many participants who struggle with the same lack of ability to commit to something that will change their lives for the better simply because of the less fun steps that need to be taken. This experience has given me the realization that in whatever field I choose to follow my year of service being an AmeriCorps VISTA, there will be necessary tasks that neither appeal to me on an interest level nor involve my core strengths in the workplace. And that’s okay! Every difficult task is practice for the next one. And the more you experience difficult tasks, the more practice you get, the less difficult they start to become.

This year has been filled with a plethora of contrasting experiences, feelings, and lessons learned. All of which I will bring with me to my future job positions, organizations, and life experiences to help me accomplish my goals.