Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Failure as a Lesson

There are people that teach by example, others that tell you what you should do, and there are those who just let you fail so you learn. My story today is about the later. This morning, I got to work and I found an email that was quite distressing. I´ve been covering for my coworker who is on a well deserved vacation. He trained me last week but he was not able to convey all the little details of his job in a one hour training as you can imagine, so when I saw the email, I did what I do best. I looked at the procedures manual and try to find the answer. Once I found the answer, I talked to my boss who asked me "are you absolutely sure this is a violation?" With my little knowledge, I said yes. She said to prepare the email and run it by her before sending it. That´s just what I did. After I got her approval, I sent it out. Of course, the person called me two minutes later trying to explain what was happening... mmmm... my answer was something like "You know he is on vacation, I am covering for him so let me do some more research and I´ll get back to you." After cracking my head open thinking of how to figure out this system I had never used before, I found out that there was a system error and I presented my evidence to my boss. Her response was "Come see me later today and I´ll tell you why I have let this go. This is a great learning opportunity." You can only imagine how angry I got... there was no amount of deep breathing that could put down the fire that had just been ignited. In my head, I was thinking "She knew I was wrong and she still let me do everything and look like a moron. She knew from the very beginning and instead of training me, she just let me fail. When I was a boss, I would never let my people fail if I knew what their thoughts about a situation were." It took a while for me to get back to my Queenly cool being and be able to see that I did my best with the tools I was given. I tried. I failed but I did not look away. It was one of those cases where you are damn if you do and damn if you don´t.

When I talked to my boss in the afternoon, she told me that the key word in her question was "absolutely sure" and she knew that I could not be sure because I had not enough training to be able to know for sure. I told her that I saw what she meant and that from now on, I will never answer yes to any absolute question because there is never enough evidence to be absolute. She also said that her expectation was that I would not cover that part of my coworker´s job and let it sit... oh well... wouldn´t it have been nice if she said that before?

Failure can be a good tool but it has to be used wisely. Letting people fail when you are aware they need help seems a bit too extreme for me. After being very upset for half of the day, I was able to make peace with myself and know that I did my best and that I would not take it personally. Failure was used as a lesson but that´s not the way I would teach. That´s not my style.

Many blessings,
Presiding Priestess of Circulo de Isis

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