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Second Chances: Gut Instinct

Joined: 4/28/2014
Posts: 18
I do believe in second chances, but sometimes you have to go with your gut instinct. I was a Girl Scout and Brownie leader and a liaison for our troops to the Service Unit.
One year I also volunteered to be the Cookie Chairman.

I was a stay-at-home mom and this was my first job supervising adults. I recruited one of mothers in the Scout Troop to help me out. I was giving her a second chance. She had helped me out previously and it hadn’t turned out well. I don’t remember my thought process. Maybe I partly blamed myself for not giving her adequate instructions. At any rate, even though I had reservations, I gave her second task.

She again let me down. I don’t remember what I asked her to do, but do I remember thinking to myself afterwards. “lesson learned”. However, at the next meeting the Service Unit Leader called me out on the problem that this mother had presented for her.

I still remember the pained expression on her face, the tone of disparagement in her voice and my humiliation as I stood in a living room filled with women, with all their eyes turned on me. Thank goodness I had gotten over the blushing that plagued me as a very young woman. My humiliation eventually turned to anger. I thought it was inappropriate that she had called me out in front of everyone. I didn’t feel her dismay was justified, but if she needed to critique me, it wasn’t at all kind to do it in a public forum.

I later I found out she was going through a break up that ended in a messy divorce. I then realized it was probably more about her than about me. After that I wasn’t angry anymore and I began to feel sorry for her. Sadly, her humiliation was far worse than mine.

In retrospect, as with many experiences, this was a learning moment for me. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t be afraid to go over the first failure with my volunteer. I might have figured out where both of us had gone wrong and decided then and there whether she would have been up to another assignment.

My initial gut instinct was that she wasn’t up to snuff, but I’ll never know what the real problem was. Since that was my first and last job supervising adults my advice would be to use your gut instinct and then verify!

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