The Nitty Gritty – Life Lessons from my job

I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve started a new office/customer service job it seems like the training is half pablum, half semi/useful stuff, full of platitudes and not really of lasting use to anyone.  Not so with this new job, the one I talked about getting a month or so ago.

I started training this week and have been really impressed with the company.  Today I had a course in cooperative communication, and another in appreciating diversity.  Usually those are prime candidates for the Useless List.  This time, though, I was shocked!  I actually learned some things, and was reminded of useful advice I’ve heard before but don’t put in practice often enough.  I came away from the training inspired, not bored.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned, hopefully they’ll help you too.

“Be responsible for your actions.”  More people need to do this.  Being responsible isn’t being accountable to a higher authority, it’s recognizing what the right thing to do is, because it’s the right thing, then doing it.  I need to do this more too.

“Stay Positive.”  This is practically the watchword of the classroom I’m in, and the instructor reminded us on the first day that our jobs will be much more fun if we do this.  The material, though difficult, will also be easier to learn.  I agree with her 100% and want to do this more in my private life as well.

“Don’t focus your attention on your intention, but on the impact of your actions.”  I love this at the same time as I am infuriated by this.  It’s so easy to say “but I only meant to…” when a mistake has been made.  However, no matter what I might think, the effect of my actions is exactly the same no matter what I meant.  Focusing on the impact puts my attention where it needs to be to learn from what happened and do better next time.

“Be creative and flexible in your interactions.”  This was great because it reminded me that different people have different styles of interaction, so if you are flexible, you can get the most out of every meeting, be it casual or professional.

“To err is human, but to take responsibility for your part is professional.”   I love this.  It allows that mistakes can happen, but demonstrates a behavior that is the first step in the path to making amends and fixing the situation.

“The power of the pause.”   This is the best of all the tips, really, because it’s the one that lets you follow them.  Taking that extra second after you might have said or done something wrong, or someone else did, can be all the difference between a reasonable response and an unfortunate one.

A Star Wars Allegory – The Padawan’s Tale

A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away, there lived a young Padawan named Jo-kwan. He was Human, and though he enjoyed learning all the skills needed to be a Jedi, at times he tired of learning. He was particularly sick of something his Master told him every day.

“Jo-kwan,” his master would smile and say, “as a Padawan you must learn one thing every day.”

Jo-kwan was rather tired of that, to be sure. “Perhaps, when I’m a Knight, I’ll be able to learn a little less,” he said. “So I’ll try hard, and become a Knight, and then I’ll relax a bit.”

Jo-kwan was true to his word. He worked hard, learned something every day, practiced with his saber, and readied himself for his Trials. Finally as he stood before the Masters, newly knighted, he heard their words of wisdom.

“Knight Jo-kwan, you have done well,” said his Master, smiling. “Today you are a Knight. Now remember, as a Knight, you must learn two things every day.”

Jo-kwan bowed calmly to them, but he couldn’t smile back. Inwardly he thought “No! I’m tired of this! Two things every day? It’s not fair!”

Still, Jo-kwan was loyal and diligent, so despite his inner misgivings he workd hard as a Knight. He learned two things every day, he trained his own Padawan, he brought honor to the Jedi Order. While doing these things, be began to see the wisdom of his own Master. One day, as he was watching his own Padawan’s knighting ceremony, he was pulled aside by the Grand Master of the Council, a noble and kind Togruta.

“Knight Jo-kwan,” said the Grand Master, “The Council has observed your deeds and we have decided to elevate you to the rank of Master. You have trained a good Knight and your other accomplishments are worthy of merit.”

“I thank you, Grand Master,” said Jo-kwan, filled with the wisdom of all the things he’d learned.

“Furthermore,” said the Grand Master, his eyes twinkling, “I want you to remember a very important thing. As a Master, you must always learn at least THREE things per day.”

This time, Jo-kwan simply nodded and smiled back.



After long years of serving loyally as a Master of the Order, Jo-kwan was finally elevated to a seat on the Council.  Then, he found that to keep up he needed to learn TEN things per day.  By that time, learning was such a joy that he minded even less.


via Daily Prompt: Ten

You still can…



I spoke to a very charming and gracious woman who, over the course of our call, revealed that she had been playing piano and organ for many years. This was ever since she played for her first wedding, 64 years ago.

While I completed her order, we talked about music… I confided that I’d always wanted to learn an instrument and she said “you sound young, you always can.” I suppose I am. At 35 I don’t feel young anymore. But she ought to know… we spoke of bagpipes and their beauty, and how we’d both wanted to learn them at one point. As I closed the call I thought about what she said.  The book isn’t closed.

You are still young.

You still can.

What skill have you always wanted to learn?