Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How To Be A Good Teacher

At the hospital we're renovating the labor and delivery section of the fourth floor. I got assigned to the electrical contractor (and the framer, but that's another story) and it's been quite the learning experience. I've been wiring houses for almost twenty years and while I'm pretty good at that I'm a little out of the loop for commercial work. I'm not saying that working with the contractor has been a bad experience, but it's opened my eyes as to what it's like working with me.

It's been a while since I've been the novice in training. When I'm out on a gig I'm the boss and people are looking to me for answers. I'm also a perfectionist when it comes to setting up my rig, and nobody knows the methods like I do. I know I'm a perfectionist and a lot of the things I do are for good reasons, however opaque they may be at the time. I've tried to do a lot of things to make my nitpicking bearable to the people who are working with me.

To the poor schlub wading into things for the first time, "Whup, hold on a sec, that goes like this." goes down a lot easier than, "HEY! What are you doing?!" Maybe I'm just particularly sensitive to it because I mostly get volunteers for assistants and you just can't be the least bit nasty to volunteers... ev-er. It just won't do. The other thing I do is to put the irritation on myself, "Yeah, I know... I'm really picky about it. Just take your time, anything you do right is a big help and I'll get the rest." That's the only paycheck those people are going to get, and it doesn't cost me anything.

I also went through another bout of wanting to tie somebody in a knot and stuff them in a hole. But really, it was just because I was fed up with the things in them that I find most annoying about myself. It's always such a pain in the ass to point the finger at yourself, but it's such good medicine.

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