From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – My husband is a storyteller, largely because he has had so many different roles, adventures, and experiences in his lifetime. In 1968, at the age of 15, he found himself on the north shore of Lake Superior in a construction camp; he likes to brag that this was the day after he quit school for good.
Just the other day he was telling me stories of that time, and said that a man took a taxi for over 100 miles to get to the camp to apply for a job. The foreman asked what he could do, and the long-travelled applicant very confidently replied: “I can run the best machine you have.” To which the weathered foreman replied that the man had better get back in his taxi because what they needed was someone able to drive the worst machinery they had.
First, in the labour shortage that is currently around us I found this an incredulous story, but times were clearly different. What I can appreciate is the idea that it is not the best equipment that needs the extra skill, it’s the quirky, old, held-together-with-duct-tape, difficult equipment that requires patience, talent, and skill.
When the day goes smoothly or all the technology works, we still need to be great at what we do. But when the copier keeps jamming, the day is derailed by a van breakdown, illness or crisis, this is when our “worst machinery driving” skills must kick in. We suddenly must adjust, make different decisions in the moment, resist the urge to kick the copier. We have to dig deep for the skills that we need when the day or project is breaking down, belching smoke and leaking diesel. This is where we can confidently say – I can do this, I got this.
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