So how do you go about becoming the confident and versatile professional these trying times require? I remember getting all the standard “work hard, study hard” lectures as a young man; it was not bad guidance but it does not come close to describing what really happens over the course of a forty plus year working life. The cliché ridden “coach speeches” make it seem like “wanting it more than the other team” will make up the difference.
I found it to be much more complicated than that, despite getting a wonderful “Mastery of the Whole Trade” back in 1974 when I completed my drafting apprenticeship. “Mastery” is a moving target in any field that is not stuck in the past. You live and work in the present with an eye toward the future so please view all prognostications with suspicion.
Previous posts have drawn on my foray into coaching youth soccer. My son wanted to play and that was only possible if I coached. I had never played the “beautiful game” or coached before. Sounds like many of us on the first day of our first real job. So I got some books and read them. I went to a clinic for rookie coaches. I was required to start playing in pick-up matches with other coaches and a number of experienced adult soccer players.
Armed with this knowledge, we organized our first practices. The parents were of little help as none of them had ever played but somehow we got the kids “trained up” and started league play. It was charitably dubbed “character building” time since six year old’s have difficulty remembering their assignments. A mob of children moving the ball around in a group of twenty-two is entertaining for casual observers and family members but frustrating for the coaches.
It was an ongoing challenge to get fitness and skill levels up while developing an understanding of the duties of the various positions. Few things were as gratifying as seeing a kid finally “get it,” stay in their “lane” and work with their teammates to actually run a “play.”
The same thing happens in every gear shop; you have to develop basic skills for running a machine or performing calculations before you can contribute to the success of the organization. Many “newbies” get discouraged that they do not “get it” immediately; some supervisors are not the most patient “coaches” either.
I am grateful to the many co-workers who shared their knowledge with me. A major motivation for taking on this blog over six years ago was to pay it forward to another generation of rookie gear folks. There is so much more educational material available now but you still have to do the reading, ask the questions, and do the work.
More on this topic next time…