I recently found myself in a laundromat, waiting with a friend while he needed a mega-size washer. Since I haven’t done laundry outside my home since college, I forgot what a boring place it can be. I didn’t come prepared with the proper entertain-myself tools, and quickly was going stir crazy.

We decided to improvise and created a backgammon game of our own. We used the newspaper someone had abandoned, the ever-handy black Sharpie that is always in my car and downloaded a dice app on the phone. For markers, one used “heads” and the other “tails” (embellished with a black Sharpie dot to make distinguishing them easier!)

It was crude, but functional, and the time passed quickly.

I am not sure problem-solving at the laundromat is a resume-worthy accomplishment, but I do believe that resourcefulness is an undervalued talent in the workplace. When hiring or promoting, I look for people who can figure out an answer beyond the obvious and who can make things work within the constraints they face. 

Think about how you can cultivate resourcefulness in yourself. The next time you’re without the ideal set of equipment or supplies, make do anyway. If you find yourself facing a problem, figure out how you can start on a solution. You don’t have to imitate MacGyver everyday, but a little ingenuity can go a long way in staving off boredom and other equally ominous threats.

beth triplett

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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