It got me thinking - every role we take on teaches us something about the world, ourselves - well, mine have certainly taught me a lesson or two! Then I forgot about it for a while. But when I wrote my recent post on what I learned from being a special constable, I returned to the question.
So I thought I'd share a list of what I've learned from where I've worked.
- From the bank I learned my alphabet. I knew it already, of course, but years of filing cheques and statements into name order made it more instinctive, innate.
- From my secondment to a help desk in another area, I learned never to assume anything – especially the level of intelligence of the average person. I also learned that a lone young woman living in a hotel is rarely in want of company.
- From the kibbutz I learnt many things: In the baby house there I learned just how fierce and protective a mother's instinct is... I mean, I drop one baby* and they go crazy! In the kitchen, the art of cutting. In the communal dining room, that nothing ever stays clean.
- From working on a local newspaper I learned that not everything is gospel, that being in print makes mad people's words assume a gravitas they don't deserve.
- From self-employment? That my mum was right about that ‘you are a hat in a shop window’ thing and that I am inclined to put too low a price on myself. Also, that people take advantage of that – even nice people. Maybe they don't even know they're doing it.
- From the voluntary sector? That one person can move mountains, but it's bloody hard work and there'll be lots of people standing around saying ‘Great idea to move mountains! They should be moved!’ but then don't help and are merely critical of how you're moving them and where to. Also, that some mountains just might as well stay where they are.
- From running training courses for tenants groups, that people, even quite unpromising ones, sometimes have the capacity to go and move their own mountains when someone finally gives them a bit of encouragement and a few tools.
- From giving grants? That, depending on who you're giving it to – the same sum of money is one person's peanuts and another's pool winnings.
- From public sector? That everyone's too busy covering their backs and following (or writing) the rules to ever, ever do something merely because it would make the world a better place.
- And from the library? Erm, that'd be the alphabet... again.
- What have I learned from writing? That you don't always measure or understand what you've learned, what you know and how you feel about it all until you put it into words.
So what have YOU learned from what you have done?
* No babies were permanently hurt and there were mitigating circumstances.