Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Don't Expect Results If You Don't Invest In Yourself

I am constantly surprised and baffled as to why some people just don't spend time on upgrading or improving their knowledge and skills.

Today was a classic case of people falling in the typical bell curve.

I had enrolled in a LF Forklift Licence course so that I could be licenced to drive a forklift around on my parent's farm and be covered by liability insurance in case I drive into something as a worse case scenario.

There were five of us in the class. Upon registration, we were told (and if you weren't told that, it was in the student handbook that you had to print out):

1. Print out your forklift training manuals
2. Read the training manuals beforehand a few times
3. Complete the questions in the manual
4. Complete the questions in the self assessment without looking at the manual and hand that copy into the training centre
5. Bring sufficient identification so that you can participate in the class

Today, this is what happened:

Person 1: Didn't bring sufficient ID. He lost his wallet a few weeks ago and brought in unopened utility letters and letters from the bank. (I was agog that they were not opened, as if he just grabbed them out of the letterbox). He didn't even know what type of letters they were but they didn't qualify. He didn't read the training manual beforehand and didn't complete the questions and didn't complete the self assessment that was to be handed in.

Person 2: He didn't read the training manual, didn't complete the questions, didn't complete the self assessment that was to be handed in. His written English wasn't that great according to his friends, but I'm surprised he didn't make triple the effort to learn the manual beforehand to compensate for his lack of written English skills.

Person 3: He didn't even print the training manual, let alone read it! He didn't complete the questions or the self assessment that was to be handed in. It's almost as if he just paid for the course, and then turned up on the day, ignoring everything else he was told.

Person 4: The only one on the top end of the bell curve. He not only printed two copies of the training manual, he had read the training manual beforehand so knew almost all the answers, he had completed the self assessment to be handed in and brought sufficient ID.

Person 5: Me haha! Of course I'd be at the top end of the curve ;p My practical forklift driving skills may be at the bottom end, but I did what I was able to do. I printed the manuals, I read beforehand, completed the questions, completed the self assessment, brought enough IDs and knew almost all the answers as well. Can't be too modest, right?!

Seriously though, I understand that driving a forklift can be considered a blue collar job but whether you are in a blue or a white collar job shouldn't distinguish how much effort you put into learning or obtaining skills. If any of my friends in the white collar industry (bankers, lawyers, IT consultants, programmers, accountants, dentists etc) had to obtain their forklift licence, I can say with 100% confidence that they would have followed the directions absolutely by the book.

They would have turned up on the day with 100% ID, printed off their training manuals and read it a few times, highlighted relevant points, made notes, completed all questions and if they couldn't complete the self assessment without looking at the answers, they would have studied the manual again. I can't say with confidence that they would pass the practical aspect of driving a forklift(without having practice) but I can say that they would have invested effort into achieving as much as they could to help themselves pass.

I have friends across various retail industries and professions, and I know we all fall into some section of the bell curve despite some denying that the bell curve doesn't exist. Probably for that reason, statisticians still have work and why we had to learn probability analysis.

But today, it was such a classic example of the typical bell curve that I thought I would write about it. It's been a long time since I was in such disbelief that people can turn up to a class and licence test without doing any preparation whatsoever and didn't follow any instructions or do any reading beforehand. I was just amazed.

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