I’ve been reading your numerous posts and I’ve come to a conclusion.
If this looks like it’s going to be a long and boring post, please
skip to the very last line with my blessing.
Let me assure you in advance of my advice that you have my complete
sympathy. I don’t think your recent employer handled the situation
well at all. That said, I believe you have the right to obsess about
it, but that you will need to put this under your belt and move on as
soon as possible. Don’t try and figure this out, you will not be
working with all the facts. It’s my opinion that this was a position
with no future for you in any case. Here’s my advice:
Get back on the horse. Get another position. Your previous employer
must know that he had culpability in this situation, but don’t try
and convince him. And by the way, I think you’ve already convinced
us. Tell him that you greatly appreciate his attempts at fitting you
in, and that you regret that the situation didn’t work out, but would
he be so kind as to write a brief letter of recommendation, albeit
one that doesn’t go into excess detail, so that you can go on
perusing your interest in becoming a jeweler. I can’t believe he
could do anything less, given the circumstances.
The rest of my posting here is not so much for you, Daniel, as it is
for those prospective employers who might read this.
In my business, my apprentices have been paid a fair wage from day
one, even when they didn’t know anything about the job. I lost money
for months training them. This was what I expected. For months after
that, I broke even. Again, expected. Now I make a little money from
their work, but who knows what it costs me to take time out to train
them. Whatever they can do is more that I don’t have to do myself.
They are continually in training. I have over 35 years of experience
to impart to them. That is apprenticeship. Sometimes they want to do
things their way and I let them. If it doesn’t present too great a
risk, and it works out, they can do it that way from there on. If it
fails, I try to help them gain the insights they can get from the
experience. They make mistakes and so do I. I believe it’s as
challenging for them to get along with me as it is for me to get
along with them.
But here’s the bottom line. I continually return to the conclusion
that I am grateful for my workers. And I must take complete
responsibility for everything my business is and isn’t.
It takes great patience to have any employee. But a good employer
always sees the benefit that an employee brings to his business, and
understands that people are not perfect, and they are individuals
with their own personalities. That said, if someone isn’t working
out, you owe it to them and to yourself to tactfully terminate the
relationship. And the best way to minimize the damage is to do it
It is the employer’s responsibility to change, believe it or not. He
has to adapt to what his employees need in terms of supervision. It’s
not the other way around. Sound radical? Let me tell you now that the
success of my business is built on the knowledge I gained from the
failings of all the businesses I worked for. I may be radical, but I
don’t think so. Everyone on my team must be at ease with the aspects
of the work I can control, in order to offset all the given elements
that are naturally difficult about the job. I find that if I am
confident in my people, they will be confident in themselves, and
more able to meet the demands of this profession.
I don’t think I am that rare as an employer. You can count on
getting bounced around, used and abused and confused before you find
a good position, but you can find one. And you will never find the
perfect job. You are not just learning about jewelry here. If there
is only one lesson I can impart to you it is this, and I am convinced
it is life’s most important rule:
We learn from failure, and failure alone.
David L. Huffman