Service of What Are You Good At?

January 23rd, 2023

Categories: Experts, Retail, Shopping, Training

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

This subject came up in conversation with a friend the other week. (She does everything well.) I thought of it at Trader Joe’s on a day one of the employees split in two the long line waiting for a cashier, yelling out, “Every other!” meaning the people in both lines should progress at a crucial point, one after the other, as you would braid hair, to again form one line.

If long enough, the line in this store cuts across an aisle artery so an employee is posted to feed customers to the other side so the next marketing cart or shopper won’t cause gridlock. The young woman at that spot that day was terrible at this mindless job. She ignored the second, parallel line, ushering ahead only customers in the first. It required another staffer to straighten things out. The young woman was probably terrific at something else.,

My friend asked me what I’m good at. What came to mind immediately is what I’m not such as anything to do with numbers or drawing, handwriting or games. I’m good at making lists, spending money, meeting deadlines, growing some indoor plants, shopping, hugging, PR strategy, spotting trends and baking pie. I love taking photographs and writing blog posts.

Does even the simplest job require training? What are you good at? When you think about the question does what you don’t do well come to mind?

Two lines waiting to check out at Trader Joe’s, Manhattan


13 Responses to “Service of What Are You Good At?”

  1. BC Said:

    Trader Joe employee- that is why she is not an astronaut!

  2. Anonymous Said:

    When I think about what I do well which is bake, organize and have parties yes I always remember what I can’t do….I AM TECHNOLOGY CHALLENGED AND CANNOT DO MATH TO SAVE MY LIFE! I think everyone has their strong points and their weak points. Luckily I have younger friends who help me through almost any situation!!!

  3. Debbie Kunen Said:

    Debbie on Facebook: Every job requires “training” –communication and HOW to do it properly is key. Life is in the details.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Anonymous–I agree with you although my friend is an exception. She’s good at technical and electronic things as well as financial and home repair, cooking–you name it.

  5. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Some jobs are practical and others cerebral so success, with or without training, depends on a person’s interest or skills. In addition, the background of the employee and the job they are expected to do–no matter how relatively simple–matter as well. If a young person never went with a parent to a grocery store because a parent ordered exclusively through Fresh Direct or Instacart, for example, it would be harder for them to get the hang of some things at such a store than for others. There’s also truth to what BC wrote. One of my best assistants had never before spent an hour doing PR nor a second in the home furnishings/building products industries. She was the kind of person for whom you didn’t need to draw a picture every moment.

  6. EAM Said:

    EAM on Facebook: Good at buying thoughtful gifts.

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I’ll say!

  8. lucrezia Said:

    Hard to say since I don’t think of myself in such terms. Best to let praise and kudos come from others rather than tooting one’s horn! I see it as wise to enjoy what one is doing rather than to undergo the pressure involved in trying to be recognized.

  9. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I think of such self analysis as a reality check—not an opportunity to boast.

  10. Deborah Wright Said:

    This was a really good example of someone not getting the training or simply freezing in a panic. You mentioned a friend who is good at everything; no such person exists! No, I don’t think of things I can’t do when asked the question. I cannot do many things. I can’t drive a car, I am terrible with math, etc. However, I am grateful for the things that I can do. Be a listener and a good friend, have a friendly disposition, a plant whisperer, a gardener, an artist, a pet lover and caretaker, and a good cook. But I focus on what I can do, not what I cannot. I don’t waste time beating myself up.

  11. Jeanne Byington Said:


    There are some people who are equally left and right brained. I’ve known only a few who excel in a broad range of specialties. One was a successful interior designer, expert businesswoman, fundraiser as few others and outstanding event planner.

    You sound centered and healthy. I find at the end of the day I must force myself to applaud all that I’ve done because my default is to think of all that’s left to do.

  12. Deborah Wright Said:

    You might find this interesting about your cousin, Daniel. He is one of those rare people.

    When he tested to get into college, his scores were equally perfect, both in math and science, and in English and the arts. He is clearly a scientist, but he loves music and artists. He can do anything with electrical wiring, plumbing, building, and has been interested in smoking meats with a friend who is a farmer. This friend has instructed Daniel how to anatomically take half a steer apart and learn how to do the same with a pig. Not my cup of tea, but he has always been a learner and has always been curious.

    I will never forget when he was in eighth grade and we discussed poetry for hours. He also had read The World of Abraham Lincoln (same book that I had read as a child) and admitted that he cried at the end. His early teachers said that he was a square peg in a round hole. He daydreamed and didn’t always finish his assignments. I did not push for him to be in the gifted program, but in sixth grade, his teacher insisted and he was in. Much better–being with other bright children allowed him to be free to speak. He had given up raising his hand; other children made fun of him. So, he stayed quiet. But in high school he came into his own. There were so many diverse groups that no one was judged. And, I think his involvement in Scouts and with his dad’s love of the outdoors made him a well-rounded person with good friends. There were always incredibly engineered planes and submarines being planned with Legos that the guys built, even into about age sixteen.

  13. Anonymous Said:


    In addition to my interior designer friend, my parents had a dear friend who was a surgeon and there wasn’t a subject you could bring up that he didn’t know about in depth relating to travel, literature, music or art–you name it. After my two-year stint in Turkey, for example, he discussed with us architecture in Istanbul and shared all sorts of information about the country. He had never been there.

    My husband was similar–though not a doctor. If I heard something on the news I’d ask him for background or to explain and he always could. He was an international banker whose passions ran from opera and art to classical music, golf, football, genealogy and was a killer croquet player. His dyslexia didn’t impact his incredible memory or his work performance.

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