Learning New Things – What I Learned From Excel

I love learning new things. Every new person I’ve worked with has taught me something. Sometimes it’s what not to do, but that’s learning too.

Even with my new job. I thought my Excel skills were up to par. Like, they were pretty good. I can do formulas, macros, pivot tables… but my VBA skills are lacking. I knew that, but no one has expected them to be stellar. And for the most part, since my VBA skills are a bit better than everyone else’s, everyone at work thinks I’m good at it.

Within the first two weeks of my new job I was already learning from my co-workers. We use Excel A LOT and I saw one of them use the INDIRECT formula. I had never heard of that one. Then my other co-worker was super-fast using the INDEX/MATCH formulas. I was familiar with these, but certainly wasn’t super-fast at typing them in.

It’s a humbling experience to work closely with those who know more than you.

What makes someone good at Excel? Since it’s all relative, I’ll pass on what someone wisely told me: “everyone knows about 50% of how to use Excel. We just all know a different 50%.” I think he said it right. For example, my co-worker who uses the INDEX/MATCH formulas doesn’t know how to use a VLOOKUP.

Excel can be a powerful tool. We can be the teacher and the student at the same time. Like I said, it makes for a humbling experience.

Until next time,