Statics. Dynamics. Report Writing, etc. Those are topics we learn. They are the nuts and bolts. The things we need to know to do the job we want. However, there’s some tension with what society actually expects.
The businesses that we love, are loved because of their care. Their creativity. Their passion. Their difference.
None of that is taught at school, at least not the at the typical schools.
Part of my job used to be training people to perform Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) using the software we sold. Before classes, I would always clean the board with spray and paper towels, sometimes twice to make sure it was pure white. I would wipe the keyboards with sanitizing wipes in the classroom. I would make sure the kitchen was stocked, that there was nice snacks, and not just cheap sugar packed stuff. Nuts. Veggie Trays. Fresh Fruit. And some breakfast pastries. Everything on the counter was lined up, there were bottles of water all in straight lines like little soldiers and easily accessible. I would place the books that we worked out of, along with company branded notepads and pens at every desk, in exactly the same spot for each person. It was a book, with smaller notepad on top, and the pens all facing the exact same alignment. I would make sure every keyboard, mouse and monitor started the class in the same position, and that all of the chairs were nicely pushed in.
Not once out of 200-300 trainees did anyone ever say anything to show they noticed any of it. Yet, class after class, I still did it.
The care matters.
It mattered especially to me. If I didn’t have the energy to do that before the class started, how would I have the energy to make sure they all had a great experience. How would I get myself in a mode of caring? How would I tell myself that all of these people are here to learn, and every question they ask, every time they need help, everything they do, is a chance for me to make their experience better? My routine must have worked, because overall my training survey scores were high.
And I’ll tell you something. It never felt like enough to me. I always wanted to do more. I wanted to improve so that those I taught could improve. And some classes were worse than others due to health, or tiredness from travel, but even then I cared.
One of the most powerful aspects of your career isn’t necessarily something that needs to be learned, or inside information, or a credential. It’s a choice. A choice to care more than the other guy does. And when you do, we all win…except the other guy…but he doesn’t care anyway.