Many people invest a lot of time and energy into learning “marketable” skills – meaning skills that will make them more desirable in the work force thus giving them an edge among other job-hunters, and perhaps increase their chances of getting better compensation whether it’s in basic wages or a combination of wages and non-monetary perks. However, even though being knowledgeable in installing or creating computer programs, and being adept at sales and marketing help you earn more, there are a whole lot of skills that are essential in everyday life, that you most likely, are not that familiar with. There are a host of situations where your “marketable” skills will mean absolutely squat. Below are 5 practical “life-skills” that everyone, regardless of age, race and gender, should know.
Changing a Tyre
Even though you are a member of an Automobile Club, if you drive your own car, you should know how to change a flat tyre. Busting a tyre can happen anywhere – and, it would be great if you had a flat while you’re in the city and can easily contact your Automobile club or call the nearest garage. If, however, you break down in an area that doesn’t have phone coverage, or is several hours away from the nearest car repair yard – what would you do? In a situation such as this, your tyre changing skills will come extremely handy.
Rather than wait until you need to change a tyre to actually learn how to do it, why not practice in the comfort of your own garage on a bright and sunny day with someone knowledgeable to guide you through the steps. Changing a car tyre, admittedly, can be tricky. Especially if the screws have been screwed on too tight, and if you’ve stopped on uneven surface – however, you will have to do the most that you can given the circumstances you find yourself in.
Jumpstarting a Car
It happens more often that you think. You jump into your car and turn on the ignition and, instead of hearing the motor hum all you hear is a dull “click”. Your battery’s dead. Of course you can call your local Automobile Club (Wheeler’s Club, Automobile Association, etc) and have a handyman come over to rev your car back to life – however, it may take some time before they can attend to your call. Instead of twiddling your thumbs inside the car waiting for the mechanics to arrive, you could resurrect your dead battery yourself, if you knew how.
Jumpstarting a car is fairly easy to do – all you need are jumper cables (everyone should have this in their car toolkit!) which can be purchased from any car shop or can be found in the automotive section of your local department store; a knowledge of the positive and negative terminals of your batteries; and (of course) another battery. You’ll have to flag down another vehicle and attach your jumper cables to their battery – but if you leave your hood up – you’re most likely to get assistance from passing motorists.
Unclogging a Drain
Another handy skill that everyone should know is basic plumbing. Not necessarily knowing how to install or remove pipes and set up a working toilet and bath in one section of your house (seriously, you need to know what you’re doing before you even attempt to have a project of that scale) but more on unclogging clogged drains.
There are actually many fairly simple and uncomplicated ways to unclog a drain and these include using a plunger; pouring hot water into the drain, and even unscrewing the P-Trap found underneath the sink to remove the blockage. All of these are easy to do. If, however, after all these your drain is still clogged, then it is time to call for professional help.
No, putting TV or Frozen Dinners in the microwave do not count as cooking. Everyone should be able to cook something – even if it’s something as simple as boiling an egg. Buying fast food and constantly having take-out dinners may be convenient but it’s can be a strain on the pocket, and the food do not necessarily provide your body with the nutrients you need.
If you haven’t cooked in a long time and would like to get back in the swing of things; or if you’ve decided that it’s now time to learn – start your culinary journey by cooking simple dishes with simple ingredients and simple cooking techniques, such as boiling or grilling. Then, as your confidence in your abilities increase, gradually try out more complex dishes.
Cooking is a great way to release stress, a way to bond with your kids, and (if you’re single) is an amazing way to impress someone (wink wink).
Sewing is one of the oldest of the textile arts and is defined as the craft of fastening or attaching objects using stitches made with a needle and thread. Sewing, especially by hand (without the use of sewing machines), is hardly ever done today. By being familiar with the basic stitches (overlap / back stitch, running stitch, hemline stitch) you can adjust the hemlines of trousers and skirts, darn holes on socks and shirts, or repair ripped items of clothing without spending unnecessarily for the services of a seamstress.
Apart from the basic stitches, you can also learn the more intricate ones (satin stitch, cross stitch, French knots, etc) and start creating needlework to adorn your pillows, placemats, handtowels – and perhaps you can give out handcrafted gifts to friends and family during Christmas! It may take time to make, but it will be cherished more than regular store-bought gifts. And no, this is not just for the ladies – it wouldn’t hurt if men knew the basics of sewing too.
Remember though, that there are some activities that you should entrust to the hands of professionals. Although changing a light bulb is something you can do on your own, do not attempt to tinker around with the electrical wiring of your house – no matter how confident you feel about your capabilities. Do not, also, try to do things that need specialized equipment or that would put you in a dangerous situation (for example, cleaning windows on your 2-storey property). One other practical skill you should master is knowing when you can do-it-yourself and when to hand these off to the experts .