It’s all relevant: Improving work skills with real life experience

By JD Bruewer

The other day, I attended a presentation by a salesman of conference room and digital sign equipment. He mentioned that he rehabs houses on the side. As he discussed installation options, it was obvious he knew what he was talking about.  His rehab experience lent itself well to the installation of AV equipment.

After that meeting it occurred to me that, in this age of work/life blending, our “outside” jobs and hobbies can give us insight on our “day” jobs. And, it’s not necessarily a new thing.

JD Bruewer is a communications specialist at Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

JD Bruewer is a communications specialist at Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

When I was studying to be a journalist, the preferred path at the University of Cincinnati was an English degree with a journalism specialization. I already knew English, so I majored in French. Learning a second language helped me appreciate the nuances of the first.

French has also helped me in my role as a wedding DJ. I listen to French radio on the Internet to help keep up my language skills. As a DJ, I’m always looking for new songs to play. The French, apparently, have a penchant for obscure American ballads and love songs. Quite often a song I hear on French radio works its way into a wedding-day playlist.

My primary responsibility at work is digital communications but, being part of a small team, I do a bit of everything. I’ve spent the better part of the last month engrossed in video work, shooting and editing. It has given me a chance to use different mental muscles while reminding me just how important the work we do is to the children we serve at Hamilton County Job & Family Services.

Outside of work, I like to build robots. I enjoy trying to get machines to perform tasks that people do without thinking. This hobby gives me fresh insight into human nature as well as ways automate functions on our websites.

I don’t have much hobby time lately; I just bought a new house that needs a little TLC. My past work experience as a journeyman electrician in construction is coming in handy as I upgrade old systems. My project management prowess was called upon when I needed to paint three bedrooms, solo, in about a week.

These days, few people keep the same job, or even the same career for their entire working life. But, if we’re wise, we can take something from everything we do and apply it to what we do next.