Huddle up

“There were once two races of Penguins who huddled together during windstorms— one who stood still and another who constantly moved around. The race of Penguins who just stood there died. Only the race of Penguins who moved around survived.

The wind was cold, causing those on the outer rim of the huddle to freeze to death within minutes. In the race of Penguins that didn’t move, every time there was a storm they died from the outside in.

But the tribe of Penguins who moved around, who all shared their moments on the rim, then moved to the inside of the huddle to warm up, survived even the most extreme weather.”
—National Geographic, March 1996

Over the years I have concluded that most jobs are similar to these two groups of flightless birds. There is the job where one person is in total control and not open to outside influences/suggestions. This would be the “frozen” job, the one where everyone else is but a tool to the boss. Ideas and ambition die agonizing deaths on this job, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly. It has been my experience that eventually there is one man standing who has no idea what just happened on this job. I have been that man and I have learned from that experience.

Then there is the “active” job, where everyone has an opportunity to give ideas, when their experience and talent can help the group meet the desired goal. As workers move back and forth from areas of responsibility to areas of production a wonderful change takes place in the group dynamic— people feel empowered and appreciated. At this point my experience has been that a job is no longer a means to “get more money” but a means to be “of service to others.”

In 43+ years in the Electrical Trade I have had my share of good jobs, bad jobs and fulfilling jobs. The saving grace in the bad ones and the highlights of the good ones have been the same as the gift of the fulfilling jobs: my co-workers.

I have had the privilege of working with some very talented people and  in the future I will share some of those stories in my memoir, Fingerprints.

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