It ain’t training!
I was thinking about this today as I’m been in a training day at work. I have near-constant training, since not only am I new to the career I’ve chosen, but the industry I’m in requires frequent changes and updates and all of them need training. Some training is boring, as I sit and watch web presentations that repeat themselves over and over as the pre-recorded data is doled out in tiny amounts so as not to overwhelm the trainee of average intelligence who isn’t supposed to be spending eight
years um, hours a day on it anyway.
But for my hands-on training in the lab, I prefer for things to go wrong. My enthusiastic acceptance of mistakes and things going wildly off the rails surprised a trainer or two, but as I have explained time and time again: I’d far rather see as many things go wrong as possible when there’s nothing on the line. I want to see what can go wrong, because inevitably it will go wrong, and if I know that, I can be prepared. Even the things that you can’t possibly anticipate, like today’s calamity. My trainer, who has decades of lab experience, peered thoughtfully at the centrifuge tube. “I’ve never seen that happen before.”
If it’s not raining, training becomes a lot more like a picnic, enjoying a meal outside on a pleasant day, and moods are merry. But in the rain, everyone is unhappy and hands slip while trying to hold stuff and you learn the true mettle of a team. Better to have things go wrong in training than later when the consequences could be severe. In the lab, that would mean reports and investigations and enough paperwork to pave the streets of the city we work in. Despite the stacks of paper on my desk, I don’t actually love it and want more of it unnecessarily.
Life is like this. The hard times better prepare you for the good times. When things aren’t going your way, you have to learn to keep a stiff upper lip, soldier on, and not fall into the mud whimpering in a fetal ball. And if you know that there’s hard, you don’t allow yourself to be lulled into a sense of everything being roses and sunshine. Prepared means you aren’t as likely to be stunned when the clouds roll in faster than seems possible and the lightning bolts start chasing you no matter how fast you run.
Embrace the little problems in life, so when the big ones come – and they will – you are ready for them. You’ll know what to do. If you’ve practiced for them, then you can surmount crises without fully thinking, because shock and grief impair clear thinking. Which is why when I’m feeling sick and upset, and I can, I retreat and don’t talk to people. No point in shedding all over their parade. Later, when I’ve come to grips and learned from whatever it was, I can analyze and share to help someone else train for that problem – we can’t anticipate everything. We can’t experience everything in our short lives. But we can learn painfully and share that, so someone else doesn’t have to endure quite as much difficulty in learning. That’s what training and mentorship gives us… Even if sometimes it seems a bit sadistic at the time. If it’s not raining… and cold, and muddy, and…