In January of 2002, I went to the army. It is mandatory for us Finns, so there I was. The first garrison-wide wave of influenza hit us in March, and I got is as well.
I felt sick but did my job every day until fever struck me down. The antibiotics did not affect, and the doctor decided to transfer me to the City hospital after a week. Acute pneumonia told the doctor. Nice!
I spent two whole weeks bedridden and a month at home recovering afterward.
During my stay at the city hospital, I had a privilege to meet an older gentleman. His name was Seppo. We shared a room when he moved back from the intensive care unit. He had had a hemorrhage and lost his the ability to speak.
Day by day the man’s frustration built up because he was not able to tell the nurses what he needed.
It’s not a very pleasant sight when a big man cries.
We had no Netflix or iPads back then. Since the both of us were stuck there sharing a room we had nothing else to do but to practice.
We tried to communicate, and after a week I suddenly noticed that we actually could. Seppo understood what I talked about and then he learned to gesture some basic needs. We even shared some laughs.
I’ve noticed that people get similarly frustrated in their professional life.
Most of my colleagues in software testing, for example, know well, how the work should be done. Remarkably few know how to convey their thoughts to their colleagues and up the organization.
Too few have found the words to their thoughts or deliberately practiced the necessary communication skills.
In the end, many just accept their role as testing monkeys and vent their feelings at the company Christmas party.
It makes no difference how spectacular your ideas are. Most of it is useless if you don’t build the toolset to realize them.
Seppo had to learn even the basics from scratch, and eventually, he got better. He worked his way back to life.
And if he could do it, I bet you can too.