This is the first post of four or five on the subject of Toxics Skills, a little discussed vocational phenomena. It is derived from my book Your Vocational Credo. I hope you enjoy it!
When I use the words Toxic Skill, people are immediately intrigued. Very few ask me what it means. Most know intuitively and connect to the idea emotionally with a furrowed brow and a solomn nod. Toxic skills are skills that one does well, in fact, too well. It doesn’t sound too bad does it? The problem is that, in the doing, they bring us no life or energy. They have the potential to actually kill us, which is why they are sometimes referred to as ‘killer skills.” If it is toxic to us, it’s a toxic skill. They suck the life from the soul and sometimes the body. For instance, when I pay my bills I get a satisfaction from the completion of the task only. I am happy when it is done. I am intuitive with money and accounting skills, but I hate doing the job. I do it well, even though it is a hellish experience. I am convinced that it drains the blood from my face, and afterwards I am pale, hollowed-eyed and sweating profusely. Perhaps that is a little dramatic but you get the idea.
In contrast, when I get my hands into the soil to plant flowers, or when I am harvesting my herbs, I am in heaven. I feel connected to the earth and to the Creator. I love every bit of the process, from shopping for seedlings to cooking with what I have harvested. The scents, the feel of the soil in my hand, the joy I feel, all cause me to look forward to spring when I can fill my pots with plants and seedlings. Gardening brings me pleasant satisfaction. I do admit to a little black thumb every now and then but it doesn’t matter. For me, growing things is the opposite of a toxic skill.
Sometimes it takes a while to discover what your toxic skills are. I will discuss that process in post #2. See you then!