Its human nature to become comfortable with things as they settle into the field of familiarity. We feel comfortable at home because it is where we reside day in and out. The same goes for our jobs. Familiarity can even make the most dangerous workplaces feel like nothing out of the ordinary for us.
A reputable mechanic mulls over an issue in his shop for hours on end, well into the night. He isn’t quite sure whats going wrong with the machine that’s been plopped before him even though he’s worked on the same piece of machinery probably hundreds of times now. Its been an entire week now and he’s reached his tipping point. The client is calling by the morning, as soon as the shop’s phone lines are open, wondering what the issue is and he’s threatened to come in person to retrieve his property. He’s surely going to leave a bad review upon leaving.
The prideful mechanic continues to pull his hair out over the problem as other work orders begin to pile up in the background as his repeat business leaves their property in disrepair for him to fix. A few more days go by and the patient client finally shows up at his door only to find the mechanic sitting on a bucket laughing hysterically in his shop. “That’s it, you’ve done it. Where’s my gizmo? I’ll have the local news reporter hear of this one.” It turns out the problem wasn’t as complicated as it seemed.
The old prideful mechanic had finally gave way to asking a buddy of his for advice, which he was known to never do. The pal came over and in two minutes identified the problem. It was a simple one and of the most basic sort, one even a young man with no experience could have spotted from a mile away. Familiarity with his work had gotten the best of him and put his reputation in disrepute with his long time client.
It’s important that from time to time we check what blinders familiarity may be putting on us in all aspects of ourselves. Our work, relationships, home life, and more can suffer from neglect in ways unbeknownst to us if left unchecked. By simply recalling the basics when given the opportunity to do so, we can do wonders for ourselves and our work.
“To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not do is really not to know.”Stephen R. Covey