There are about 16 different online or in person “training modules,” I’m required to take annually. Most take an hour or two of endurance. A few take a bit longer, particularly if you get a live host who likes the sound of their own voice.
This is the time of year when I’m working against the clock to get all of them finished… not because I think I’m going to gain any benefit from them, but because it’s just easier than fighting city hall on why this sort of thing is mandatory in the first place.
I registered for one of the last two modules I need to knock off for fiscal year 2021 this morning. The registration guide for this particular class noted in bold red text that “the content for FY21 is the same as the content for FY19 and FY20.”
If the content is exactly the same this year as it has been for the last two years, it begs the question of why anyone is expected to cover that ground again – since they presumably passed the training on both previous occasions. I’m not saying it’s all perfectly wasted time, but you’re free to draw your own conclusions.
It’s the kind of thing that will drive you to madness if you dwell on it too long.
If I’ve learned nothing else from almost trips through most of these training opportunities, it’s that sometimes it’s just better to turn your brain off and check the box.
One of the many perks of working from home is that it gives you a predictable block of time that’s uninterrupted by people wandering past your desk wanting to talk about their weekend or some project they’re working on. It’s the perfect time to accomplish one of two kinds of work. The first is the difficult to do items that require a lot of focus and limited interruptions. The second is the laundry list of mundane online annual training courses we’re required to click through… er… I mean “take” by echelons higher than reality. I spent some time today dutifully getting my clicks in. I was trying to actually get in the last of my clicks done for the year until I was rudely interrupted by one of Uncle’s vaunted websites that just wouldn’t open. That’s fine. I mean who really needs cyber awareness anyway. I think by now we’re all fully aware of the cyber.
The bigger problem I find is that in about 45 days the clock starts running again and all the previous year’s clicks are reset to zero. You might be tempted to think that you’d then be presented with new information or updated training requirements. You would, of course, be wrong. The preponderance of next year’s requirements will replicate this year’s classes with almost 100% fidelity. If you ever wonder why someone might be tempted to take this ration of training less than seriously, the fact that they’ve taken the same class every year for the better part of a decade could be a leading indicator.
The end really is just the beginning… and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to take the exact same class another 15 times.
I got to spend an entire day this week in class. You can imagine my unrestrained joy at being given this “opportunity.” Still, there’s an old saying that goes something like “Early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable.” Of course sometimes life happens and even the most obsessive of us can arrive a few minutes late to our destination. On any given day when how long it takes you to get back from lunch doesn’t really matter to anyone, extending your meal a bit doesn’t hurt at all. Since this was one of those moments that we were all in it together and nothing was going to happen until all the butts were back in all the seats, what possessed one car full of you to decide it was a good day to take a two hour lunch? I mean, I don’t like this class any better than you do, but somehow I managed to wander back it at something approximating on time, even if that was mostly driven by the desire to get things over with as soon as possible. You tools, on the other hand, seemed dead set on dragging a long day out even further.
I thought the lip smacking and crinkling of paper wrappers when you got back was an exceptionally well planned touch, by the way. I mean how on earth could you have spent two hours out wandering around and not managed to spend at least some of that time jamming half a sandwich into the filthy stinking sewer that you call a mouth? Your incompetence, lack of interest in anything other than yourself, and dare I say apathy, has reset the bar for the rest of us. Look, I may be an apathetic fuck, but I somehow manage not to let my own proclivities bleed over and cause problems for other people. All I’d ask is for the same courtesy of not screwing the rest of us because you’re having a bad day or can’t be bothered to do two things simultaneously.
The crowning irony of our little drama today was that we were all part of a new mandatory-for-the-universe class on improving professional conduct in the workplace. Maybe this was part of the class – A living example of how not to do things.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.
So, for the rest of the week I’m trapped in the most boring class ever. I so don’t care how many “cool” tables I can pull out of the database “using these simple commands.” If anyone wants to sneak in and pull the fire alarm tomorrow or Friday let me know.