Slow and steady wins the race, as the saying goes. But really, when did a tortoise ever have an advantage over a fast and efficient hare? When did slow triumph over quick and capable? In a society where time is currency, where in order to succeed you have to be minutes ahead of the competition, the tortoises don’t stand a chance in the job market. Having worked five jobs over the past few months, I have come to realize the problems that arise when the world spins too fast for you. Here are five of the main struggles of the slow learner on the job:
1. You have to lie—and then be found out
How else do you expect to get a job in the first place? No one wants to hire someone who can’t learn “simple” instructions (no, it’s not rocket science, but it might as well be to us slow folk) upon hearing them, and who screws up more than they succeed. The sad thing is, once you ace the interview part of the equation by promising that yes, you are a good worker, and smart and good with people and etc. etc., you pretty much let everyone down by proving that you’re just the opposite when the real work actually starts.
2. People think you’re dumb
Working in fast paced jobs like the food industry, you’re expected to know and understand what to do after being told just once (because, come on, it’s so easy, right? Wrong). But when your mind works at the rate of internet explorer, you can’t help but stall. You need to be told, two, three times, and even then you need a few days to process that information, let it sink in. Unfortunately, people have no patience. As a slow learner, you can’t help but look like an absolute idiot your first week of work, because everything is just moving too fast for you to handle.
3. You get yelled at
Your coworkers will chide you for being too slow. But when you try to work faster because, you know, your job depends on it, and then you freak out because you just realized that, oh-my-gosh, YOUR JOB DEPENDS ON IT, you just screw yourself over. Not only will your manager be spewing with rage, but so will the impatient customers, who don’t care that you’re basically having a panic attack from all the stress of trying to be fast and efficient like the rest of the world.
4. You can’t think rationally
In other words, you go ballistic. When there’s a line of busy people waiting on their food, and a frustrated manager breathing down your neck, you just can’t think strait. Suddenly, you can’t even do simple math to dole out change, and the espresso machine becomes as foreign to you as modern technology is to a baby boomer.
5. You get fired—a lot
Sadly, the world has no patience for slow learners, no matter how truly awesome and intelligent you may be. There are just so many people out there who can work faster than you, and your boss won’t hesitate to replace you with one of them. So don’t get settled into any job, and always be prepared for the worst.
After my many trials and failures and screw ups on the job, I have come to know the problems of being a slow learner intimately. But I’m not giving up, and neither should you. Keep searching and trying your best, and something will work out. Because, maybe just once, the speedy hare will burn out—and the slow and steady tortoise will have its glory.