The following is a guest post from Elsie Brown. Elsie is a college student and phlebotomist who writes about frugality and personal finance at her blog, Gundo Money. Check it out!
If you don’t know me personally I’m a professional blood sucker. I work at a hospital and basically my job is to walk around with needles and draw blood all day. Lately at the hospital we’ve been training new phlebotomists and man do they suck. They don’t know how to order the tests correctly, they can’t figure out our computer program, and they miss like every other patient. It’s frustrating to deal with and it’s got me wondering was I ever this bad? The answer is yeah, I really was.
When I started my phlebotomy career I was 18 with all the confidence of a baby sheep. I was a good student and aced all my tests, but somehow when the job started it was a completely different world. The medical terminology didn’t make sense, none of the doctors’ writing was legible, and I just generally felt like I wasn’t doing a good job. I’d call a patient back and not be able to get their blood. Some patients were understanding but others told me I needed better training or “where’s the other lady I want her to draw my blood.” I would go in the back and cry and feel like I was no good, that I really wasn’t cut out for this job. But something happened over time. The more I failed the better I got and eventually I didn’t feel out of place. I actually liked the job.
All this has me thinking about focused effort vs. natural skill and how our beliefs about what we can and cannot achieve leak into every area of our lives including our financial situation. No one is born with the natural ability to draw blood, sure some are better than others, but it’s a skill that everyone has to practice to master. In the same way, no one is born knowing how to handle money. We all learn it the same way, one blog post or school lecture at a time. I think we can agree that there are gifted people in the world and when a gifted person works hard to develop a skill they may out-achieve a person with average abilities. However, there is no replacement for hard work. Whitney Houston didn’t just know how to sing well, Bobby Fischer didn’t just exit the womb with a chess piece in his hand–they had to practice like we all do. [click to continue…]