Lessons learned. Learning lessons is no fun, frankly I hate it, or at least strongly dislike learning lessons. I am a manager and an engineer by trade, and I am used to having people listen to me when I talk. Now I’m not saying I run over people, I do try to be considerate when I recommend a solution to a problem. I also try to give the person solving the problem ownership in the solution, so they can feel like it was their solution, not just something they had to do. Some people might call this manipulation, but I think of it as consensus problem solving, where everyone involved gets to participate in devising the solution. Everyone gets to do things their way, because everyone had a say in how it should be done. It doesn’t always work, but it usually works. Anyway, back to my lesson. I have heard some people complain about how they are treated by some mechanics, kind of a “you drive it, and I fix it” attitude. It can make you quite angry to be treated in a condescending way. I haven’t had this problem personally, but I guess God decided I needed a lesson, so I could learn how it feels. Anyway, I went to an outdoor concert recently, and while testing the sound system, the sound man was running the sound levels so loud, It seemed to me that a lot of people were going to get damaged hearing. This was not a rock concert mind you. Anyway, I was experiencing some pain in the ears, so I went over to the sound man to let him know what was happening. He basically blew me off, saying he had to do what he was doing to test the system. Needless to say, I went away REALLY angry. So angry in fact, I contemplated shutting down the entire sound system’s power. Fortunately clearer heads prevailed, and I cooled off and talked to one of the organizers instead. He at least knew that he needed to listen and offered to look into it. So, what did I learn from this? Well, first it is no fun being the butt end of someone else’s condescension. I can only suppose that I needed to learn this because I have done that to someone else, and I need to be more considerate. I will be, I can tell you. Second, it is very humbling to be the boss, and suddenly find yourself not the boss. And my recommendation to you is that you don’t assume that the person you are talking to about a technical subject you know well knows nothing about that subject. Whether the person you are talking to is a he or a she, and the subject is motorcycles, engines, racing, sound systems, computers or whatever.
VP’s Verisimilitudes, Lessons Learned
02 Tuesday Nov 2004