My previous canine family members have included working breeds – Shepard, Border Collie – but none of them actually had to work. I required that each sit for a cookie. That maneuver was more about earning a treat – a kind of doggie ‘please’ – than about drawing on their skills. I did teach one dog to lie down and roll over when I pointed a trigger finger at him, a game many guests enjoyed.
I’m learning that a working dog – such as a service dog – doesn’t do tricks. A working dog does a job. And when that working dog is Sir Thomas, he look to me as his boss.
When I think back on past jobs, my best bosses were the ones who made clear what was expected of me, let me know how well I performed, and offered guidance for new tasks.The least effective bosses played games, and often silently held onto expectations only to verbalize their disappointment when I didn’t meet unspoken goals.
The more I think about it, the more the analogy holds. When the boss grasped what we were doing and why, my role made sense. I could perform to the best of my abilities, maybe even exceed expectations on some projects. And at day’s end, a sense if satisfaction settled in. A boss with a loose grasp, or none at all, usually meant I overcompensated, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. Or, I’d spend the day sitting for cookies, not truly satisfied.
Sir Thomas has important duties, which he continues to learn through his on-the-job training. I’d best hone my managerial skills. Because not only will our combined skills complement each other, when I look back, there’s another plus to a good boss. When the workday ended, our relationship didn’t. We became friends.