Are You Dispensing Useless Pills?
post # 144 — July 28, 2006 — a Careers, Client Relations post
Brendan Gaynor, a trainer based in Ireland, wrote in to agree with my article Why (Most) Training is Useless . He said:
I totally agree with the content of this article. However if we as trainers insisted on only proceeding with courses where the appropriate senior commitment was given we would find ourselves a lot poorer and very shortly out of a job.
I was genuinely impressed by the candid comments. It’s refreshing to know that someone in the business does have the courage of his convictions and insists on delivering only effective training. Well done and keep up the good work. It’s good to hear that somebody out there is baulking at the wastage.
And I am. If a client comes to me asking for a pill, I’m going to ask to discuss the symptoms, the ailment and the best means of recovery before I agree to dispense the pill. And, yes, that often means that (some) clients walk away and go to the person who’ll provide the pill.
I have a hard time selling colored water and patent medicines, even if my clients have faith in the efficacy of those things. I may not know completely how to cure them, but I don’t want to treat them with things that we know don’t work. When you’re younger and less established, it’s tempting to just do what the client asks for. I’ve reached the stage of my life when I want to help my clients more than that.
Many of us need to address this issue in our work lives. Brendan is telling nothing but the truth (and he speaks for a lot of people) when he points out that if we refuse to participate in meaninglessness things (or fight to make them otherwise) we would likely be poorer or out of a job.
But how cynical can we allow ourselves to get? How much are we continuing to participate in things that we (ourselves) believe have no impact, that (in our own estimation) contribute no value and accomplish little?
I do have more of a shot at having the “courage of my convictions” than most people do. I’m 59, I have an established business and reputation, and I’m not at the “have to put kids through school and pay off the mortgage” stage of life.
But I hope I’m not alone in struggling to engage in meaningful things, even if it means I lose work (and I do.) I just want my work life to have meaning.
How about you?