Updated on May 8, 2015
On The Job
You have to be kidding me.
My cousin owns a pretty successful roofing business and as you can imagine they have quite a few of hispanic workers. And my cousin does not speak a word of Spanish.
So he was sitting complaining about how he has no idea what his workers are doing and talking about. So my wife spoke up and volunteered me (with pay of course) to act as a supervisor and communicate with them. Of course I was nervous and can be.
I did take 2 years of Spanish in high school but I happened to sit next to some really smart people but I did pick up some words here and there. I also traveled to deep Mexico with my wife to visit the family she stayed with for a semester who happened to speak no English at all and a lot of guys that used to work for me in a warehouse spoke a lot of Spanish also. So I actually picked up a lot of Spanish without me even knowing it.
So I swallowed the bullet and took the job.
As you can imagine I was nervous as hell because:
- I knew very little Spanish
- I knew very little about roofing except for the trusses which is what I used to work with
- I hadn’t had a job in a long while
So I showed up and stumbled my way to my position.
As I stood there and tried to supervise I was actually really surprised. I ended up know ing a lot about roofing than I thought through my work with trusses which also happen to be on the roof.
And I was able to pick up on Spanish words here and there to my surprise. At first it was only a few words at first but as the days passed I was picking up on more and more.
Wow. It was amazing. Being immersed in the language and being exposed to it in the past made me able to understand it in bits and pieces. I turned into a valuable asset. I was communicating with all the hispanic workers and that made everyone happier and more productive. It was amazing that once the communication barriers were open the work place turned into an amazing place and everyone loved working there. Woo hoo! I was the hero.
But I still need to be fluent and able to write. Granted I was working as a roofer at my cousins company but I didn’t want to be doing that very long especially since their really is no work in the winter and the work in the hot summer sun was miserable. So I still need to go back to school to learn more. I’m not on board with my cousins company anymore since he is slowly downsizing and going to retire soon.
So I am still at home with the kids needing to learn Spanish. I know it but I just need to make a real run at learning it for good and it will happen.
Have you ever had an experience where you knew a lot more than you thought you did like me?