Glaciers All Around Us

Since I realized that my commission-only job was not working out, I took a seasonal job to keep Wells Fargo happy and to keep me and the zoo living in conditions we are accustomed to – you know, like inside and stuff. The job had me packing boxes at a local facility.  It’s not the most mentally challenging job I’ve ever held; however, it pays the mortgage and has introduced to me people and experiences that are outside of anything I’ve experienced before.  When discussing the job with my sister, she posited that it could be research. She didn’t know for what, but she was just sure that I was gathering chapters for my life experience library that would come in handy later.

She was right.

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia. Argentina

Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia. Argentina

Since starting the job five weeks ago, I’ve been promoted to a quasi-trainer position (I caught on quickly). I’ve met some great people and some really interesting ones – including the woman I worked with last night. She was having some difficulty getting in the groove. Her frustrated trainer came to me asking that I work with her since she was still making mistakes that she shouldn’t be at this point.  After a few minutes, I found that I was working with a glacier.

Remember when I dropped my son off at the airport and talked about my glacier calving? Working with this woman reminded me that everyone has a story and that there is often more to any situation than meets the eye.

While the trainer thought this woman was being deliberately uncoachable, the truth was that she had never worked with computers or in a quantity rated situation before. The woman is a welder who has had some really tough life experiences in the last decade. As a result, her personality is something less than warm and fuzzy. She’s highly suspicious of others and comes across as being, well, a little crusty. Welding isn’t packing boxes or working with computers; so, she’s a fish out of water the one in that quote:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” (Einstein is usually credited with this one; however, there’s no pro0f that he actually said it. The sentiment is valid, regardless of the source.)

After just 20 minutes of personal instruction, the woman’s productivity rate increased by 30%. I don’t know if she’ll make the rate they are asking for; but, I know that she is motivated and open to learning. She wants to do the job and is willing to listen to instruction. Although our life experiences are day and night, I like her and will do everything I can to help her.

After all, she has already helped me, reminding me that there are glaciers all around me – people with stories and experiences that demand patience, respect and understanding rather than impatience and judgement.

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