Departments March/April 2021

New Skills Discovered During the Pandemic

For most of us, mid-March 2020 was when everything changed. It seemed fitting to mark the end of our first year of pandemic life with a bit of reflection and acknowledgment about how many things have changed. While we clearly learned a lot, many are skills that we hope never to have to use again once things are back to normal.

We asked our technical communication colleagues:

What is a skill that you learned during the pandemic that you never would have anticipated?


“Does reassessing my whole life and moving halfway across the country count? Also, I learned about asserting my boundaries, started writing fiction again, and became a Just Dance expert.”

“I’ve been the designated barber for everyone in my family. Being a perfectionist and not trained in this skill has been exhausting. Sometimes all I can focus on are the glaring mistakes on their heads, and not the conversation!”

“I’ve been cutting my husband’s hair, then apologizing to him.”

“My grand plan was to start a podcast. I recorded two episodes and never posted them because editing was more trouble than it was worth.”

“My new superpower is that I can tell if a mask will fit just by glancing at the online listing.”

“Being a teacher’s assistant for kindergarten.”

“I learned a bunch of new board games, how to use Miro for online workshops, and how to back up an RV. What I never want to do again: I broke my ankle, re-injured it, and had surgery and I’m also learning how to navigate hospice for a loved one.”

“I learned how to use wood stain to refresh a kids’ outdoor play set.”

“I jumped on the sourdough bread bandwagon early on. It was great until about July when I forgot to feed my starter. I still don’t understand how I forgot. It’s not like I went on vacation and left it unattended; I was just distracted.”

“I learned how to use a power saw for the first time (a compound miter saw, specifically).”

“Reading! I’m always reading! Mostly because my brain is mushy after I’ve finished a day of work and remote-learning supervision and keeping everyone fed. Nothing sticks in my brain and I just read the same paragraph over and over.”

“Does painting a room count as a skill? I knew how to do that already, but I repainted one room, which made me realize that the next room looked terrible, and then I had to keep going. I’m much better at it now because I have a system. I also realized that I hate painting and hope not to have to do it again for at least another decade.”

“I’ve never been a good cook, so I decided to try to perfect a handful of recipes. It sounds more exciting than it was. I basically kept eating the same thing over and over until I got it right, and then meticulously annotated the recipes so I wouldn’t forget. So far, I’ve gotten fairly good at eggs, steak, and cacio e pepe pasta, and I’m still working on successfully roasting a chicken.”

“I’ve learned how to navigate elder care and insurance companies from a distance. It’s the worst skill I’ve ever had to learn.”


Here’s hoping that we’ll soon return to some form of normalcy and will be able to share our stories in person at a Summit or local meetup!


Download the March/April 2021 PDF

2020 PDF Downloads