Monday, January 13, 2014

The six joys of training people

Just a few days ago I was telling you about our five new clerk trainees. This led to a discussion of our hiring processes, which caused the post to get so long that the only way I could figure out how to end it quickly was to employ the plot and characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Oddly, though, none of that was what I meant to write. You'd be surprised how little control I have over what I write here. There's a steering committee in my brain. AAAHHH! THERE'S A STEERING COMMITTEE, IN MY BRAIN! They're nice though. Sometimes I think they're even nicer than me, so, it's okay.

Anyway, lately we have all these new people we're training. In the old days, when my job was really brutal and awful, I used to love training people. Somehow it was way better just telling a person what to do in detail than actually doing it. Now that my work level is tolerable, and with the cold it has been exceptionally quiet and so very tolerable, it has been a little sad not to be able to disappear into my own little private tasks and routines. But as I took my turns training various people along, I did find things to appreciate about it all. Indeed, I found six things to appreciate:

1. The stretching of the old prognostication muscles. How fast can I spot just what sort of weakness the trainee will ultimately have? The answer is, pretty darn fast. Trainee number one is aloof and will end in resenting everything and everyone. Trainee number two will be forever unable to learn a third gear to shift into. Trainee number three will never know how to stop and breathe and direct her energy properly and thus will soon drive all her co-workers mad.

2. I get in on the ground floor of forming their habits and philosophy. "This isn't an official rule. You are technically allowed to do this, but if you do so you will be widely resented."  I'm pretty sure I said something just like that this week. Sometimes I frighten myself!

3. I get the feeling of great skill, speed and mastery, by comparison. Watching a trainee empty a bin into boxes knowing that they are taking 12 times as long as I take can be a little frustrating, but it also makes me feel almost supernaturally fast.

4. I get to talk and talk about clerking. Yes, I get to muse, philosophize, lecture and instruct all about clerking, about the history of clerking and about the history of clerking at the library. You may well wonder why anyone would want to do that. My only answer, for good or ill, is 300 exhaustive blog posts. I hope you have read them all.

5. Training these people is my only hope of learning their names. Actually, I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I still don't really know them, mostly.

6. When they are my deeply embittered co workers I will be able to remember their sunny innocence. They won't believe me, but I'll know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.