Thursday, April 4, 2013

"Training - HUH! What Is It Good For? Absolutely NOTHING, Say It Again!"

My apologies to Edwin Starr for that terrible rip-off of ‘War’ in the subject line.  Now that that’s out of the way, onto the entry!
It is always nice when your job can manage to surprise you.  It’s very easy to become skeptical when you’ve been with the same company for several years or so, and sometimes this leads you to think that you’ve seen and heard it all when it comes to your company or, at the very least, your position within the company.  This is especially true for me when it comes to all the trainings I have been apart of with my current job.
Let me begin by saying that I appreciate a job that’ll train their employees so they know what they’re talking about.  There are places where you go in and you feel like you might as well just look up the info on your smartphone instead of ask the employees for help.  That’s not the fault of the employees, but the employers.  So, it is cool that my job decides to actually try to train us in the stuff we’re selling.
However, there’s a fine line between being well trained and training harder than a surgeon would be trained.  Sometimes my job goes a bit overboard with all the trainings.  Between the computer-based training, the one-on-one trainings with managers, the department trainings every other month, the larger corporate trainings we get sent to, and the one-on-one vendor trainings, it’s all a bit much and it often feels like everyone’s tripping over each other’s feet.  You get all the information drilled into your head again and again and it’s hard to resist the urge to just tell the trainer, “I GOT IT THE FIRST TEN TIMES I WAS TAUGHT THIS!”
I mean, really, it’s not like we’re training to go deep undercover to infiltrate the mafia.
Everything becomes very repetitive and it’s amazing how certain trainings might change ever so slightly, but the managers – who must be used to working with some truly dumb as hell people – feel the need to go over the same things again and again in excruciating detail.  They always have this worried look on their face like, “Oh, dear lord, I hope this is sinking in for him.  He looks so lost as I’m explaining this to him!”  When, in reality, I’m not lost – just amused at their ridiculous repetition.  I’m not the world’s smartest guy but I can grasp simple facts and instructions.  If I don’t have a sarcastic smile on my face when somebody tries to ‘train’ me on something, then in my mind I’m going into autopilot and I only hear a “wah-wah-wah-wah” sound.
That’s why, when I get sent to a training and I’m not bored and the trainer is cool, funny, and laidback, I’m genuinely pleasantly surprised.  This was the case earlier in the year when I was sent to one such training for a week.  I’ve been to one or two similar trainings and it’s always torture.  The only bright spot is that I get away from customers for a few days.  This training, however, was fast-paced and totally laidback.  The trainer still seemed to spout the company line and praised everything our company did, which I somehow refrained from rolling my eyes, but she was easy-going and funny.  Sure, I didn’t learn anything new, per say, during the entire week that I hadn’t already known, but it was still enjoyable.
Not since when I was first hired was I as impressed with anything this company had to show me in the way of training.  I just hope we don’t go backward and revert to the old style of training within a year.
So, nameless trainer, thank you!  You’ll never know how much you alleviated my apprehension about that week.  If I had to be stuck relearning everything I already knew, I’m glad it was with your class.
More soon from the frontlines...

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Time Off For Good Behavior

There’s nothing quite like having two days off in a row from your job, is there?  Sure, most normal jobs might always give you two days off in a row, especially if you’re working a Monday to Friday job, but in retail, finding yourself with two days off in a row is an exciting event.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself with three days off in a row.  It was almost as good as hitting the lottery.  It’s an amazing feeling to walk out of your job’s front doors and know that you won’t have to be back until the fourth days.  At that moment, you have the greatest amount of free time you’ll ever have for the next three days before you have to walk back through those same doors.  The possibilities for your future are wide open!  You could do anything you want!  The sky is the limit (or at least, so you tell yourself)!
Need to clean the entire house (or, if you are a lowly hourly drone, an apartment)?
Have to finish editing all seven hundred pictures from that vacation you took a year ago - the one that everyone is still hounding you about putting up pictures for?

Have to make several shopping trips to buy things you hate wasting your time shopping for?
Want to go to the movies and watch six new releases??
Want to finally do a real nice detailing of your car?
Well, now you can!  And if you can’t get to something the first day, YOU STILL HAVE TWO DAYS LEFT!

That’s how the thinking goes when you first leave the office, or the store, or whatever jail happens to be your workspace.  You’re going to work on that story you’ve wanted to do justice in those three days instead of churn out one mediocre blog entry.  Hell YEAH, you are!
But, oh, how quickly that feeling of invincibility fades!

That first day might feel pretty damn good, no doubt about it!  You’re still getting lots done.  You’re relaxing, not even thinking about work.  And hey, the weather is perfect!  It was as if Mother Nature was giving you this perfect day to go out and get things done.  It’s okay if you haven’t started that story.  You still have two days left!!!
That second day is still enjoyable because you still have that last day off.  This is still a day where anything can happen!  Perhaps you’ll mix some real housework during the day with a quiet stroll around the neighborhood with your spouse and dog(s).  Besides, it’s still okay if you haven’t started that story.  You still have that last day to stay up all night working on!  You don’t need sleep that first day back.  It’s a short shift, anyway!
Then that last day hits.  You wake up, and despite not drinking the previous night, you have a heavy feeling in your gut.  It’s that, “Oh, god, why did I do what I did last night?” feeling.  That feeling of completely wasting your previous two days and realizing you don’t have enough time to do all the things you wanted to do in the remaining time you have left.  That dread of having to deal with customers whose life stories you have long stopped caring about.  That dread of having to fix issues your superiors hand to you because shit rolls downhill and they put it all off for three days.  Soon, it becomes all you can think about and now, instead of enjoying that beautiful day Mother Nature is giving you on your last day off, you silently curse her because it’s as if Mother Nature’s mocking you.

“Have to go back to work?  What a bummer!  I plan on giving everyone else sunshine and 75 degrees for another day.  And then when you have your next day off, I’m planning on unleashing a typhoon all day long, SUCKER!!”
So, instead of writing that story and getting something done (and feeling pretty good about it until you start to question the writing quality of it), you just churn out that mediocre blog entry.
I hope this has been more than mediocre for you all.  I really need to focus and push myself to write.  I’ve been slacking way too long on this shit.
I seriously don’t know where the three days went.  I just know that it doesn’t make going back to work any easier knowing I had three days away.  Here’s hoping my next day off arrives quickly!
More soon from the frontlines...