Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Natural

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Is there something you're good at that you haven't ever practiced ... you're just a "natural?" Considering that you're one of my highly intelligent and discerning readers, the answer is probably yes.

A long, long time ago I took a job in Detroit, Michigan, writing entries for reference books. This was the era when quality was more important than quantity, and fair market value was prized. Therefore the reference book company trained large staffs of people to write really, really good entries.

The training process was long. Some of the people I worked with had been there for over a year, and they were still trainees. As for me, I found the training process to be a little bit slow. Especially where the prose writing was concerned. So one day, when I was choosing entries to update, I took one that needed a good prose essay. I wrote it. I turned it in with my "beginner" batch.

A day later, my supervisor asked me into the office. I thought, "Uh oh. Overstepped the boundaries."

She asked me to sit down. Then she told me I was being given a raise and a promotion. "You are a natural at this," she said. "We'll save a lot of money on your training, so we're giving some of it to you."

(To all readers under 30 -- yes, you just have to trust me, this sort of thing actually did happen in the business world in the early 1980s. It was a quick downhill ride for all of us after that.)

I am remembering that day on this one, 25 years later, because now I'm in a new profession. I am not a "natural" at this profession.

My supervisors in this new endeavor have decided that I need to be trained more in order to do this job. I'm grateful that they even want to give me the chance.

It's wonderful if life paves the way for you to be a "natural" at something and make a living at it. But that doesn't always happen. I believe that my current employment is serving the higher purpose of pricking my inflated ego and showing me that there are some things I can't do very well.

There are two ways to deal with doing something for which you have no real natural talent:

1. Suck it up, learn what you need to learn, and try your best, being aware that your best may not be good enough.

2. Weep and moan that life isn't fair because you can't do what you love.

OH, WOE IS ME! OH, PITY POOR ANNE! WHY DID MY LIFE TAKE THIS HORRIBLE TURN? I'M DROWNING IN A SEA OF BROKEN DREAMS, SHATTERED ILLUSIONS, AND DESPAIR! I'M SO MISUNDERSTOOD! WHY CAN'T I DO WHAT COMES NATURAL TO ME?????

Naah. Whining is for losers. Back to the drawing board I go.

7 comments:

THE Michael said...

You just HAD to be honest with Mr. Windbag, didn't you? Sigh.....welcome to politics.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Things mean even more when you work harder for them. Boy, that sounds like something out of Ol' Possum's Book of Aphorisms, doesn't it?

Terraluna said...

My wise old Mom used to say to me, "When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout". (I think she stole that from Ogden Nash, perhaps.)

That would be option three, and the one I usually choose. It works wonderfully at helping me to pull my head out of my arse and get on with it.

Give it a try. At the very least, you will get to enjoy the look of puzzled amazement on peoples' faces.

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Pom said...

My position is that you are a natural at what you're doing. What you're not a natural at is conforming to their idea of how you should be doing what you do. Of course that's just me and I'm the type who finds more value in the way you do things because I'm all too familiar with how they do them.

amritarosa said...

After a coupe of years of frequenting your blog and not commenting, I just have to say thank you for this one, and thank you for everything else here!

I'm having a week of "why can't this be easier?!?! waaah!", myself. This entry (and remembering that things like apple blossoms, violets, and crows exist) help.

Now it's time for taxes -shudder-.

Davo said...

Ah, muses me, pondering
as i
shift the shards
of broken dreams
with the toe
of my steelcapped boot

Why is my boot made in China?.