The Daily Draw: Three of Pentacles

pents03.jpgI know I haven’t been around much through October. Let’s just say life was complicated, most of my time went to others, and I ended up feeling drained and run down.  There’s no point thinking the demands won’t continue, because they will, but I’m getting a better handle on retaining a bit of that energy for myself, focusing on what charges my batteries, which includes writing this blog for all of you.

And so we get to today’s card, which is the Three of Pentacles, a card about planning and and teamwork.  This might seem a bit ironic after that first paragraph about focusing more on what I want, as opposed to contributing more to the group of people that depend on me, but let’s look at that.

Being part of a team means contributing your time and energy to work towards a common goal. The assumption is that everyone on the team is also making a contribution. Of course, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and we all bring different talents to the table, but overall there should be a balance—if I do more of this, then somebody else should be able to do more than that, resulting in a fair distribution.  And in that fair distribution some people may seem to do more than others, but everyone is working to the best of their ability.

On the other hand, there are some teams where some members are quite happy to let other’s carry their weight. The imbalance isn’t because they can’t contribute more, it’s because they don’t want to. Now, the knee jerk reaction here is that they are lazy gits and need to be kicked to the curb, and that may well be true in some cases. But there is also a possibility they may feel overshadowed by other people on the team.

When you’re younger or less experienced for example, you may be the recipient of a lot of, shall we say, constructive feedback (criticism). When this feedback becomes a constant, which surely it will be when working with more experienced people, it can become tiresome for the recipient even if the feedback is given in soothing tones with the best intentions. And when it’s given more harshly it can downright piss a person off and cause them to feel bad about themselves. “What is the point of even trying? Johnny Super-Team-Member is going to come along and do it all again better and faster just to make sure it’s perfect, and Joey Blowhard is going to go on about how experienced he is and how much he knows in great, painful detail.”

Meanwhile Johnny S.T.M. is wondering why he has to do everything around here, and Joey Blowhole is thinking “Why don’t people listen to me more when I’m always right?”  OK, Joey needs to get over himself. But Johnny needs to take a step back and remember a time when he wasn’t quite so capable, and how he became that way. He learned by doing, like we all do. No matter how much you read or are taught, you still need the practical experience to develop your skill.

Not everything has to be perfect all the time. Most jobs just need to be done well enough.  If Johnny and Joey can live with that, the new guy will have the space to do work that won’t be redone and over criticised, something they can stand by, self-evaluate and learn from. That way they feel like they’re making a real contribution. Chances are they will like that feeling and want to keep building on it. Then Johnny might start to believe that he can trust someone else to do the job and Joey…well, while we respect your knowledge and experience,  just take it down a notch Joey, alright?

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