Teaching the Smart vs. the Stupid LO13440

Gerald Burch (gdburch@netdoor.com)
Fri, 02 May 1997 14:14:58 -0700

Replying to LO13384 --

>Replying to: Benjamin B. Compton who wrote:

> I could expound on each one of these, but that's not the point. The bottom
> line is that the people I Mentor for don't care about learning. They
> simply want me, as a mentor, to feed them the answers to every question.
> They have no desire to dig for an answer. I don't know if it's that
> they're stupid and/or lazy, but I do know that when I lead them in a
> direction that requires learning they get pissed off, send a nasty message
> to their manager, who then stops by my office and craps all over me.

> Working with people like this is a very draining experience. I give myself
> to them all day, and go home empty. And I do it day in and day out. I
> really hate my job. It's a chore to get up and go to work in the morning.
> It's not worth the money. I want to work with people who want to learn,
> who want to make a difference, who want to achieve something meaningful.
> Hence my question. . .

WOW Ben, lots of frustration seems to be pent up in your post. I hope you
find a way to resolve this soon because this is no way to live your life.
Anyway, seeing your response and having been in a similar position for
several years, I wanted you and this group to know what I am doing about
it (after many years of struggling with the problems).

First of all - THANKS to Rick and everyone else who is actively involved
in LO. This list has been a much needed sanctum of sanity for some time
now and listening to the many wonderful philosophies and stimulating ideas
you all bring to the table has kept me energetic and fresh and alive.

Anyway - having been a management practitoner in chemical plants for
nearly 18 years now (the last six as a plant manager), I know the
frustrations of teaching and encouraging people to learn who appear to
have no desire to do so. This attitude is prevalent above and below me in
the organization, and it is very difficult to change something that has so
much inertia, even when some individuals within really want to change. It
is a very draining experience as Ben describes it, and after a while you
either give in or get bloody beating your ehad against the wall.

After 18 years of "security" and "consistency" and "predictability" (and
perhaps a little touch of mid-life crisis after turning 40?), I have
decided to move on and step into an arena where innovation and creativity
and cutting edge ideas are appreciated and encouraged instead of scorned.
I believe I have found such a place and I will soon be joining the
Philpott Manufacturing Center in Harrisonburg, VA. This is an extension of
the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Manufacturing
Extension Program, and I will be housed at James Madison University's
College of Integrated Science and Technology. (for all those in government
and academia who are used to such acronyms - these are the PMC, the NIST,
the MEP, JMU, and CISAT)

Anyway, the support and encouragement I have received from the LO
(directly and indirectly) has helped make it possible for me to take this
step. I doubt it would have been possible if I weren't sure that there are
others out there who share my thirst for new knowledge and my certainty
that life and learning are one and the same. You have helped me understand
myself and you have given me the self confidence I lacked to act on this
knowledge. I hope to become a more active participant instead of primarily
a "listener" as time goes on, but I will most certainly continue to listen
to you all with open mind and ears.

I wish you all well, and I selfishly ask for your support, guidance, and
prayers in my new adventure. Thanks.


Gerald Burch <gdburch@netdoor.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>