For the last two days I think I lived a professional life-changing event. I spent it at a facility teaching an introduction to distribution class at a boot camp for learners re-entering the workforce.
I did not know until I got there and was into the class, that the majority of the participants are exiting the prison system trying to rebuild their life, most are three-quarters of the way to homelessness, and half came to class and hadn't had a meal in 24 hours. I have to confess, teaching about receiving, picking, packing, and shipping is small compared to what these folks are going through. It's hard to see them struggle with focusing on the sessions when they have challenges cropping up during the course of the class and need to step out and figure out where they're going to stay that night, do they have daycare for their child while in the program, and how they're going to get from place to place. All are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives and just find a job.
At the beginning of every class I've ever taught, I always give the learners my cell and email contact information and open myself up to answer any questions or help them professionally any way I did. I did the same at the beginning of this class, not knowing yet, their situation. At the end of the day, I found myself sitting at dinner reflecting on what the day had been. I found myself wondering what I would teach in August on Supply Chain Management when mostly they are concerned with shelter, food, security, and finding a job so they can start over. I found myself wondering as well what I had committed to when I said at the beginning that I was open to mentoring and helping any way I can. I was thinking professionally and now it means so much more I have committed to. It scares me a bit but I've made the commitment and I will see it through. It also has me wondering if companies in general, really know what it means to hire and mentor new employees? These students will need people who will walk with them on their journey where they have to learn all the basic social and business skills that come naturally already to you and I?
They are going to have to learn how to talk to people, listen, take direction, even how to act in a meeting! I worry not if these folks get jobs, but can they keep them and if their employee is REALLY willing to walk with these folks along the way and help them land on their feet successfully. Yes corporations are there to make money, but now they have the opportunity to make a REAL difference. The life changing part for me is to realize even more, how important it is that I teach well and teach successfully, because I can contribute to breaking a person's life if I'm not careful. It also has me thinking about what to do with the next part of my life now that I'm 60. I'm still going to teach, I love that, but now the idea of mentoring in a more profound way is taking root as I realize that mentoring is really so much more than just sharing my professional opinion on supply chain management and such.
Not sure where this all will go and I'm not sure where the story goes next but I'm excited and troubled...... but in a good way
CSCP, CPIM, CLTD, CHSCA, CSSC, CPIA
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WE HELP SUPPLY CHAIN PROFESSIONALS MAKE MONEY, SAVE MONEY, AND FIX PROBLEMS WITHOUT PAYING BIG FEES
Chuck Nemer is a trainer/consultant with 40 years of experience in Supply Chain Management, Lean, Leadership, and APICS. He currently works with approximately 50 universities and 3000 students annually in supporting the use and play of the simulations in the classroom. Within those 40 years, he has taught, and continues to teach, professional certification classes for APICS, professional development seminars and programs on his own, and on behalf of colleges in their outreach programs to local and regional manufacturing firms.
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