Good Employers Will Recognize Your Natural Talents…They can train you to do anything
Mark Schliebener was a long-distance truck driver when he came to my office after hearing my radio show. He had a strong hunch that he was better suited for something else, but had no idea what that might be.
He disliked working long lonely hours during the day and sleeping in the back of the cab of his truck at night. As he said, he “never got away from it.” In fact, he couldn’t even unwind at night, because he was stuck in his rig.
Mark described his job as “endless hours of boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer terror”. There was no payoff for Mark, other than his paycheck.
He commented that, although his job was “essential”, it was a “very unappreciated profession. Many people have stereotypes of a trucker and don’t see the person behind the wheel.”
Though he didn’t know what he wanted to do, he couldn’t see himself working for government, in retail, or as a businessman – the common occupations that immediately come to mind.
In the past, he had worked several summer jobs with general contractors and had derived great pleasure working with small tools like putty knives, dowels and sandpaper. He enjoyed finishing work, such as installing molding on carpeting and fitting doorknobs.
As a kid, Mark was a big hockey fan, but from a somewhat atypical perspective. More than watching or playing hockey, he enjoyed compiling an imaginary league with fantasy teams and designing logos for them. He would spend hours designing logos.
He also volunteered that he had savored his woodworking course in high school and thoroughly enjoyed customizing the bodies of old cars.
Mark has an eye for detail and an artistic talent for communicating his ideas. He’s best suited to be a “specialist” because he likes to work on his own.
He’s also extremely organized. His room, his truck and everything he worked on were shipshape.
Mark’s interest was peaked when he discovered a furniture renovation company called Furniture Medic. I put together a résumé for him with the following introduction:
“As a kid, I was always drawing and doodling. I have an eye for detail and tend to notice small things that others often miss. I visualize in my mind’s eye what needs to be done. In high school, I took a woodworking course and made several small structures, such as a birdhouse. I discovered a flair for using my hands in a skillful, coordinated fashion. I’m highly dexterous in using my hands in working with precision tools and equipment. I find it easy to do precision assembly or detail painting. After high school, I worked as a construction laborer and enjoyed the finishing work on a building undergoing renovations. It was exciting to view the results. I have also customized old cars. I like to work in situations where I can improve the esthetic appeal of something. I keep my personal workspace neat and tidy. I seem to need to put things in their proper place, and my strength is keeping things organized. When I have been tested for vocational aptitudes, my talents and skills correlate with Detail Carpenter, Precision Craftsperson, and Art Conservation Technician.”
I also listed his employment history, which was primarily working as a laborer.
Furniture Medic hired him part-time as soon as they read his résumé. They’ll hire him full-time as soon as an opening becomes available. Mark is thriving. He can visualize what the finished furniture will look like and makes it happen, just like the logos for his fantasy hockey teams. In addition, he has a real payoff – his customers’ reactions, when they see what he has done for them.
While he waits for that full-time opportunity, he is driving a beer delivery truck and taking classes in woodworking and carpentry.
Having a local job has improved life for Mark. He’s home every night, can unwind after work, and he develops relationships with the customers he sees regularly.
Mark didn’t possess work history related to his innate talents – but good employers will recognize natural talent. They can train you to do anything. What they can’t do is “train” natural talent.