As a mature Emerging Man, who is very aware of interpersonal interactions, and who, as a writer, has his ear attuned to any potential article content that I may run into… as I talk with the young men of today, I had to laugh… when I heard… “I’ll just go back and get it later.”
Ah, to be young; to be big and strong; and to still exude “youthful exuberance!”
All because you know you have ENERGY TO SPARE!
I was training a young man to be my back up, at my day job.
He’s a good kid. (For future reference: If they can call me “Old Man” I can call them “Kid” so anybody forty and under is “kid” to me.)
He’s big, he’s strong, a great worker… and a little fidgety, if we have to sit and wait for our next step in the process.
And he’s eager to learn.
We were cruising along real well, my job has lots of responsibilities, and lots of small details throughout the day… but being big, strong, and eager has allowed him to learn other jobs already, that helped to shorten his learning curve on my particular duties.
And at my age, when a young man is cruising along, you just gotta ask, “Did you remember to sign your log sheets?”
“Shoot! No, I’ll just go back and get them later.”
Insert my mature, experienced, reaction of… laughing out loud. “Ok, but it’s more efficient if you take care of them as you go.”
Youthful, exuberant, response… “I like to hustle, and get all the big stuff done, I can just go back and get the little things later.”
[Yes… grasshopper… you could go back… but the legs of a grasshopper… and a man… an EMERGING MAN… are designed to move forward… not backward.]
He’s young. He’s still learning.
It made me think of when I was young and how I was… different.
Now, I would get excited about stuff… but I was always slow. I call it… methodical. Even when I was in my twenties. Still am.
Case in point…
I was working on a landscaping crew with two younger dudes. I was married, had three kids, and had just left a job I had held for eight years, so I wasn’t completely green, but I already had a bit of pattern when it came to breaking down work, being efficient, and had developed the skill of looking ahead a little bit in order to see possible snags, or snafus that might pop up.
My youthful exuberance had already been tempered by some older gentleman I had worked with.
It was a nice summer day, and we were coming down to the end of the day.
We had been landscaping on different sides of this particularly large house. I was on one side, and the two younger guys, who had been working together for a year or so, were working on the other side.
I finished up and made my way to the front of the house, to put my tools in the work truck.
When I got there, I placed my shovel, a hose, and a rake into the tool rack on the truck.
I then made my way around the front of the truck, moving to the other side of the house to see where the other guys were at.
It was going to be a one day job. We should have been done a tad early.
But when I came around the corner of the house, I could see the pile of dirt that a different company had delivered for us… had not been moved into the far, back yard, vegetable garden.
The two younger guys came walking up with their tools, were laughing, and were talking about the drive home.
I said, “What about that pile of dirt?”
They didn’t have an answer. And like young guys sometimes do… didn’t immediately want to take responsibility for their inattentive, inaction.
“Never mind I’ll get it.”
I hopped on the tractor, that wasn’t loaded yet, and looked at the path I could use to get the dirt where it needed to go.
Looking ahead, I could see the actual path of our… Point A to Point B… would be the straightest if you sneaked through the clothesline posts.
You would have to go slow… but… it would save time, as you wouldn’t have to go all the way around the garage.
I left the tractor in Low 1, as I scooped up the first bucket load.
Made one complete trip, slowly, and was turning around in the driveway, heading back to the pile…
The “senior” younger guy, who was suppose to have moved the pile earlier, cursed me out, and said, “Get off, I’ll do it!”
He hopped on, shifted into high, got a scoop of dirt… then tried squeezing by the deck… he couldn’t fit.
He backed up, still in high gear, and dug up the lawn.
He shifted into forward gear, still in high, and headed AROUND the clothesline, trying to fit between the clothesline and the garage… he didn’t fit.
He stopped, backed up, and headed for the path I used through the clothesline… still in high gear.
An inch is as good as a mile… but an inch leaves little room for error.
Especially if you are in high gear.
Not only did we run late at the end of the day…
Not only did it take longer to move the pile of dirt…
But because of his youthful exuberance… and being able to “go back,” we had to fix part of the lawn; explain to the boss how the turn signal cover on the truck got cracked; and we had to straighten a metal clothesline pole, and reattach a clothesline cable.
Yeah, that’s way more efficient.
As I continued to train throughout the night, I would ask my trainee if he had filled out his logs, he didn’t waiver in his approach.
Now to be fair, it was his first time performing the job, completely on his own, with me just trailing and checking.
It’s a big job, and he hit all of the important steps. He knows he has to fill out his charts.
But, as we, more mature workers have learned, “The devil is in the little details.”
As I trailed… I caught up “the logs” after reminding, and giving him time to “go back and get them later”, which he didn’t.
It was kinda funny to me. Maybe I’m a poor trainer? Nahhh…
Some trainers, train aggressively, yelling, being loud, maybe resorting to humiliation… not THE EMERGING MAN… I train, I explain, I show… I ENCOURAGE, EQUIP, & ENGAGE.
What is your approach as a trainer?
Now the BIG question… regardless of your age and experience… how are you as a trainee?