No matter how highly we think of ourselves, and how motivated or skilled we are as subject matter experts, when it comes down to business the customers needs, rather than our idealistic fantasy, dictate reality.
This morning an impressionable young man called me very boldly looking for a job as a firearms instructor. I like motivated, bold individuals. I grabbed a pen and paper and we had an interview on the spot, yet after a few minutes he hung up rudely, offended and discouraged. This upset me, because I can’t stand to watch people give up, and even though he may not have been a great fit as my next employee, he could have made that conversation a positive and encouraging one, but instead, only 15 minutes into his new career, he quit.
From a business owner and hiring perspective, it is easy for me to write off this applicant as lacking in maturity. He did not have realistic expectations for the job at hand. Nonetheless, I think there is something that we can all gain from it, not matter what your line of work is.
We’ll call the applicant average Joe pistol instructor. He was full of good intentions, and had some work experience in the industry. I asked questions and listened politely. When it came time for me to describe what I was looking for in an applicant, and realistic expectations for my staff, he became offended when I explained the realities of the business:
In order to be a teacher, you need to be an entertainer. Students are looking to learn something, yes, but they are looking to have fun! Three years in the Marine Corps infantry are less impressive as a credential compared to 2 years behind the counter at a yogurt shop in high school, because of the critical importance of customer service. NRA Basic Pistol is a good starting point for teaching credentials, but just as no one would go to a dentist who has only 16 hours of training, a real professional firearms instructor needs to invest time, energy, and ammunition into developing himself as an expert on the instructor level.
Finally, as any one who who has seen the world, we need to deal with adversity. The test that he failed most miserably was that he hung up on me. I called him back and he refused to continue the conversation. He gave up because he wasn’t hearing what he wanted to hear. How could someone with an ego that sensitive, ever be humble enough to learn from his students? I’m sorry Joe, I tried to give you a chance. Perhaps one day you’ll come back and we can talk again.
Brian Wang is a full time firearms and self-defense instructor who resides in the San Francisco bay area. He is trained under the Massad Ayoob Group to guide everyday students like yourself through the complex legal, moral, and social ramifications of the use of Deadly Force in self-defense. He and his fellow instructors offer group and private classes for civilians every day of the week in and around the Bay area. You can find more information about upcoming classes here.