I was reading a blog post of a friend of mine’s named John Dilbeck as he was talking about the topic of learning curves and how they can hinder people in their quest to make money. I thought about it because something many of us have difficulty with at times is respecting just how long it might take the uninitiated to learn what it is that we do as independents, and just how long it might take an employee to learn their job if they’ve had no history with that industry before.

I’ve had a computer of some kind since 1986. Unlike many people, I wasn’t scared to start trying to do things, mainly because I’d had time with another friend’s computer here and there and understood the basics already. Not only that but where I worked we did computerized medical billing. So, the learning curve was very short when it came to using software specifically built for the computer I had, as well as its 2 floppy drives.

Therefore, I find it incredible that here we are, 25 years later, and there are still people that have no computer skills. Sometimes I forget that not everyone has access to a computer on a regular basis, and thus it’s not a part of their history. Without that, I have to recognize that it will take those people beats longer to learn how to do something on a computer and get comfortable with it. Goodness, closer to home, both my mother and my wife can’t claim to be experts on the computer, and almost daily I’m being asked by one or the other to explain something that’s very easy to me, and something that I’ve already told them multiple times. If you don’t do it often enough, sometimes it just won’t stick with you.

In a work situation, things are both the same and different. In some instances one can’t wait too long for a new employee to understand how to do something; time is money. At the same time it’s illogical to think that everyone is going to learn at the same pace you learned at, if you were a quick learner. If you weren’t a quick learner, it’s even more hypocritical to expect someone else to learn quicker than you did.

Once again, this is a case where managers need to balance the concepts of treating everyone the same and treating everyone equally, as this example once again proves that they’re not quite the same thing.

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