Dream Catching: How to Apply Job Skills Creatively


September 18, 2013

Sometimes, applying the skills you have in a different way can lead to opportunity.

Have you ever bought something at the store thinking it was one thing but learning it’s something different once you got home? Well, I had that happen.  My daughter has been having bad dreams occasionally and asked for a dream catcher.  I looked online and at several craft stores locally but didn’t find anything appropriate.  So, she and I were at Barnes & Noble and happened to see a dream catcher boxed with a journal on the clearance table, so we grabbed it.

Assess the job and your skill level

Assessing the Job Before Me

I got it home and quickly realized it was a dream catcher KIT…..meaning all of a sudden, mommy has to be able to make a dream catcher!  As my little one looked at me with expectant eyes, clearly thinking that mommy can do anything, I realized that although I had never done this before, I had to appear confident.  I quickly pulled out the items and scanned the instructions.

The first step was to assess the job in front of me.  I know I am good at following instructions, I’ve made other types of crafts before, and I understood the general concept of making a pattern.  After all, I did have a spirograph game back in the late 1970’s.  At any rate, I determined that my skill set and past experience should be indicators that I could theoretically apply them to making this dream catcher successfully.

Using the Tools I Had

I tied my first knot on the metal hoop and began tying off more knots to make the outer edge of the pattern.  I noticed that I wasn’t thinking, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard”, I was only worried about completing the step I was on.  I kept working for the next thirty minutes tying knots and weaving the sinew over and under.  After I got the hang of it, I started to enjoy the excitement of seeing the pattern take shape.

Once the pattern was complete, I was able to move to the next step of wrapping the metal hoop with the yellow leather included in the kit.  I also added the “dream bead” to the middle of the pattern.  My guess is that is what gives this thing the magic it needs to help catch the bad dreams that a six year old might have.

Not Expecting Perfection the First Time

While it may not be the most beautiful and geometrically perfect dream catcher ever made, it is pretty good (if I do say so myself).  If you had asked me earlier that morning if I could make a dream catcher, my answer would have been a resounding “NO”.  However, by applying the skills I  have, I was able to do a job I would have never considered.  It made me realize that there are probably other things I could do really well with my skills but I don’t give myself the opportunity.

Tying it to Job Seekers

So, why do I share this story with you?  Why THIS lesson?  With unemployment so high, whether you are someone currently looking for a job, or someone who is trying to keep the job you have, you MUST begin using the skill base you have in a different way.  What can you do?

  • Assessing the situation–  If you’re a job seeker, what are some other jobs or careers that you have not considered where your skills may still apply?  Take a realistic look at skills you have that you may not typically use “at work” but that you could.
  • Use tools you have–  Think of examples in your work experience where you have been able to apply a skill in a different way.  For example, I know that the teaching profession is taking a hard hit in Missouri and Illinois.  If you hold a degree in elementary or secondary education but can’t find a job, think of using those skills in a corporate training position.
  • Don’t expect to get it right the first time–  Give yourself time to adapt to using your skill set in a new way.  Continue to challenge yourself to think of other industries  and positions where your skills can be applied.

Willing to give it a try?  Have you already started approaching your job search in this way?  Tell us about it in the comments.

Assess the job and your skill level
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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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