Adult children

Think about your boss if you have one.

How does your boss treat you? Like a professional? A respected colleague? An adult? Or like a problem, a liability, or a kid?

One of our students is working as a carpenter this summer. He’s part of a crew upgrading a vast campus of buildings. And the hierarchy of bosses includes two types: one who sees students as competent adults, worthy of trust and respect, and one who thinks they’re children.

Who would you rather work for?

Sometimes the stories are funny. “Oh great, you guys are assigned to my team today? Well, let’s see. How about you move this pile of rags over to Building XYZ. After that you can sweep out behind the dumpsters.”

Sometimes the stories make you wince. “Boy, that molding is really messed up. Probably installed by one of you students, heh, heh . . .”

Meanwhile, the other boss has them building rooms, installing climate control systems, operating machinery, and using the kind of power tools that can whack your arm off if you’re not careful. If you’re not using them like an adult.

And you know what? The students do a really good job for that guy. It’s amazing what gets done when you treat a student with respect and dignity.

Then again, they’re not doing such a good job for the babysitting boss. He didn’t like the way they stacked his rags.