Love what you do!
I had never really considered being a trainer, I kind of just fell into it. Mainly through working in laboratories and just being good at that kind of process stuff so I found myself training new people that came into the business. It’s like the circle completing itself, the student becomes the teacher and all that. I was very lucky to have been trained by some meticulous technicians early on in my career who were real sticklers for following the correct process and I guess that just stuck with me over the years.
But being a professional trainer didn’t really occur to me until many years later. I was working as a concrete technologist, and I was given the opportunity to help design and develop a training program in conjunction with some of my peers at the time to help educate concrete batching staff, agitator drivers and production managers about the technical aspects of concrete production and the risks associated with not following the correct process. Then I got to deliver it across the region which was an opportunity to share with these people what I had been learning in the various technical roles I had held over the years and arm them with the how and the why of the standard operating procedures that were in place.
Not just saying “here is the procedure, you must follow it” but actually walking through it with them, hearing from them why they may have strayed from that procedure in the past, and addressing their concerns but also explaining why the procedure is that way, sharing experiences with them about what happens when we deviate from those processes, how to control those risks so we don’t impact the customer or the company and generally arming them with some basic product knowledge so they can make better decisions when things inevitably go wrong because they always do at some point right?
It was a good job, I basically got to travel around and see all the production sites, meet all the different people talking about something I was passionate about and get a better understanding of what really went on out in the field for these people. It gave me a better appreciation of why certain decisions may have been made that had negatively impacted the product and client experience which was difficult to see from my desk at the technical offices.
I don’t believe that anyone really sets out to do a bad job. If poor decisions are made it’s generally due to a lack of understanding of the consequences of those decisions, not because of any malice or laziness (generally). The absolute best part of my job was seeing that “AH” moment when the learning clicked, and it all started to make sense. When you had that breakthrough with someone, and they learned something that was of actual value to them, that’s a pretty awesome feeling.
I was hooked. I just wanted to continue to share with people my experiences and learn from theirs. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Sharing stories, ideas, and experiences and learning from them so that we can all improve who we are, and how we do things. Sure being a trainer can have its days, and its easy to get caught up in the grind of it all but when you experience those moments and remember that you are actually making a difference in someone’s life, it makes it all worth it.