4 Boring Skills Every Postgrad Needs

budget calculation

“It’s your twenties! This is when you’re supposed to have fun and be irresponsible.”

I don’t totally disagree with that statement. God knows I’m one of the most irresponsible assholes out there. But in spite of that, this age requires a certain amount of new responsibility. There’s a core group of obligations that are required of us before we ever get to go out with the crew to get drunk and hit on the opposite sex–poorly, I might add.

1. Cooking

I get it, you’ve been watching Food Network for years and you absolutely LOVE cooking. That’s what they all say. The real fact is that there’s a big difference between fucking around in the kitchen, trying a new recipe, and consistently cooking for yourself. The first is more of a hobby, the second is the true measure of your food creation skills. I’m talking about cooking the way your mom did. Planning out meals a week ahead of time, and even cooking certain parts of them throughout the week, with side dishes that can go with several main dishes. It’s about efficiency, people, not art. Casserole is boring, but leftovers aren’t. There’s nothing wrong with being adventurous in the kitchen, but you need to perfect the basic skills first (yes, that was an intentional sex metaphor).

2. Home Repair

It astounds me how many guys my age don’t know how to use a screwdriver, or who don’t understand the basic sizes of a wrench set. I’m not saying all of you have to be able to take your car apart and reassemble it as a helicopter, but if you don’t know “righty-tighty, lefty-loosy,” what the hell are you doing with your life? I’ll admit that I had the good fortune to grow up with a dad who knew how to work with his hands. I asked him when I was 10 or so if we could buy one of those clubhouses on stilts for our backyard. Instead, he took me to Home Depot, bought a fuck ton of wood, and we built it ourselves. He probably spent four times on what he would have paid for the shitty, pre-fabricated version, but that wasn’t the point. It’s the same reason I worked as an electrician’s assistant in college instead of as an office job (okay fine, I did both). Working with your hands is one of the most satisfying things you can do in your life. Next time you need a new door installed, a heavy frame hung using wall anchors, or a shelf assembled, don’t rely on your handy friend to do it for you–be a fucking strong individual. This goes for girls, too. Everyone in their twenties should have a decent set of tools and know how to use them.

3. Personal Finance

This is probably the one that I’m the least qualified to speak on. Sure, I watch my bank account carefully and I do my own taxes, but that’s all pretty simplistic. I just don’t really have much of a need to set up a true budget, because I only have three basic recurring payments each month (rent, phone, insurance). On top of that, groceries, gas, booze, and fun are pretty easy to dole out. I don’t have a mortgage, investments, or daycare to pay for–but a lot of you do, or you will a lot sooner than I will. You should probably make sure you can keep track of a bunch of automatic payments, know how to shop smart, and be able to create a basic balance sheet.

4. How To Write

I’m obviously biased on this one, because as you’ve probably noticed, I’m a fucking champ of a writer. So yeah, it’s a little silly for me to expect everyone else to want to learn how to do something that I’ve already chosen as my career path. That would be like a physicist being baffled as to why everyone isn’t clamoring to figure out the problem of asymptotic confinement with quarks. The difference is that a person who can understand that particular physics problem won’t actually benefit from it much in the normal life he or she has chosen. The reason everyone should know how to write–and more importantly, write well–is because we all do it on a daily basis. Whether you’re putting together reports, sending emails, or trying to impress a chick on OkCupid who gets around six dozen messages every day, honing your writing skills can improve your life. Writing isn’t just about grammar and putting words together correctly. It’s about painting a picture, making an argument for something, and executing it in a way that makes the most sense. You’ll notice that I break a lot of “basic grammar” rules. It’s because I don’t give a shit about the rules. I learned them so that I could break them. Learn the rules, then write in incomplete phrases, use too many commas, and end your sentences with prepositions to your heart’s content.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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