Week 0

March 23, 2009 at 6:04 pm (Pre-Apprenticeship) (, , , )

I’m not really trying to be clever by numbering the first week the same way we index arrays: my first official day as an apprentice is Monday (March 23, 2009), and Micah invited me to come in the Friday before to observe the beginning of 8th Light’s annual employee reviews. So Week 1 will be the first real week. This “week” should be the shortest since I was only in the office for a couple of hours.

I was a bit apprehensive that people wouldn’t feel comfortable giving and having reviews with me around, but the craftsmen – Micah Martin, Paul Pagel, Jim Suchy, Eric Smith, Doug Bradbury, and Eric Meyer – were gracious enough to allow me to sit in (and were very friendly and accomodating). There were two reviews over lunch. Everyone gathered around the conference table, and starting with the person being reviewed, talked about the person’s performance over the past year. It became immediately obvious that the guys really respect and trust one another – people were a lot more verbose when talking about strengths than when going through the “things to work on”, and the negatives were couched in sympathetic but honest terms. Constructive criticism was the rule: when people needed to say something negative, they also gave advice on a solution. Another commonality was that people being reviewed really already knew most of their strengths and weaknesses, which says to me (and I believe someone else mentioned this during the reviews) that they’re also thoughtful and self-aware.

I’d like to see this kind of trust and respect in any team I’m going to be a part of, so it was great to see this kind of cooperation. I’ve been in other teams (mostly chamber music groups I’ve played trumpet in), where any suggestion that someone could improve some aspect of their performance would have resulted in a great deal of anger and tension. I really didn’t sense that kind of atmosphere here, which is both encouraging and exciting.

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