You don’t know what you know until you come across someone who doesn’t know what you know.  Wow, that’s a tongue twister.  What I mean to say is we go through the days, weeks and years doing what we know how to do and growing in our expertise and knowledge while we continually underestimate the value of it.

As a tow truck driver and a business owner I must train men to operate a tow truck and respond to automobile accidents, thank God I don’t have to do it very often because I’ve got a great bunch of guys.  But, I must occasionally train someone from another industry or profession to drive a tow truck.

Now to the layman driving a tow truck may seem easy, just get in and shift and go.  What matters isn’t when you get in the truck it’s what happens when you get out of the truck.

Operating a tow truck’s controls does take training, you must push this lever to get the wheel lift to go down, pull it this way to bring it up. For backing while hooked to another vehicle there is a learning curve but usually a guy will come from a trucking background so it doesn’t take much to get the gist.

What I take for granted are the millions of variables that a new tow truck operator can run into while responding to an accident.  He could have trained for 6 months and been to many accidents but be stumped by something new.  Of course in this business you never know what you are going to run into.  A truck that ran over a 10 foot high retaining wall and its rear end is being supported by a building, no damage has occurred “Yet”.  It can get kind of hairy.

Part of the training for a new tow truck operator besides sending them away for formal training is to make them aware of as many variables as possible and reinforce that there will be instances where the situation they come across will be something never seen before.  New to all.

Most drivers will stop and think about the situation and be able to make a phone call to a senior operator and ask for assistance or just figure it out on their own, some will not and those are the drivers we weed out quickly.

I must admit that sometimes I am not as gracious a trainer as I should be and get frustrated when someone doesn’t catch on as quickly as I would like but after attempting to optimize my web site this week I have gained a new found tolerance for ignorance of my industry and the job we do.

While emailing back and forth with a man who obviously knows more than I about SEO and website stuff he shot me a line that said he didn’t have that much experience in the area we had been discussing for hours.  I was taken aback because here was a man who had a wealth of knowledge but valued it very little.

This guy could have hooked me with a book or a pay newsletter because he knew much more than I about these topics.  His knowledge was valuable to me because I had been searching for 3 days attempting to find out as much as I could to get my website up and running properly.  He wasn’t unique in that he undervalued what he knew, we all do it because “it’s just what we do”.

This realization has made me slow down a lot and think about what I actually do know when training someone new.  Training is never really complete just like life, we are always learning.