NOT knowing IS the Battle

In a new job or a new role, not knowing is the battle.  I have been a part of two very different companies since graduate school (see previous posts) and both proved to be difficult at the beginning because of what I didn’t know.  At my current job, the small office team has done well to bring me up to speed.  However, learning the industry and learning my responsibilities has come largely in response to needs or issues.  The opposite approach would be acting proactively or anticipating needs.

With my previous job and employer, I had the same kind of challenge.   It was and is a young company, growing quickly, and plowed through any unforeseen issue with enthusiasm and energy.  To put it another way, many problems were solved by “out working” them.  My wife is currently employed by a company with characteristics similar to the ones I just described.  I hear her frustrations and think, “I’ve heard that complaint before.  From me! Or a previous co-worker!”

My experience so far shows me that the biggest frustrations and the largest mistakes in my career have come from simply, not knowingExperience is just that, and everyone has their own.  I’ll choose not to bore you with mine and just ask a question I think needs answering.  In light feeling unequipped at the start of two very different jobs:

Do employers owe their employees training for the job they’ve been hired to do?

I won’t be attempting to answer that question today (maybe I will in 20-30 years when I have some more “experience“).  I will give a little more context to the questions as it starts to swim around your business mind.  Lack of training has made me hungry for training.  Most of my mistakes have come from simply not knowing what is best or what is out there.  Feeling unequipped is crappy feeling when you fail.  Asking questions is a strategy to curb mistakes from not knowing.  Yet, a constant stream of questions can begin to wear down on the relationship between who’s asking and who’s answering.  Such as thoughts like, “Am I starting to annoy this person?” or “Should I know this already?” or “Why doesn’t they know this already?”  Training can aid in preventing these possible internal battles.

Ready for some cliches?  When I think about it, being “thrown into the fire” or “jumping in and learning how to swim” is not a horrendous approach.  It can cause people to grow, learn more rapidly, and expand their capacity.  I can vouch for that.  It may also cause someone to take ownership of their role instead of “just turning the wheel” within the parameters of their job description.  Training doesn’t solve all mistakes from happening.  Even with a plethora of training, when it comes time to take on the task, it’s time to “grab the bull by the horns.” Yee-haw.

Whatever the answer to the question above may be, without training, a new employee will discover that NOT knowing IS the battle.  Consider yourselves warned Gen Y’s!   Ask questions despite the feeling like your a nuisance.


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