June 29, 2004

UberTraining, My Droogs

A few years ago, when the Dot-Com bubble burst, Training budgets were the first things to go in IT shops, followed closely by the Christmas Party. My job was no exception. Even training for a new job entirely (from Business Analyst to Software Developer), I hardly received any training. When I asked about it, I got those three letters that make IT people cringe: CBT.

Essentially, CBT's (Computer-Based Training) are just like watching a PowerPoint slideshow, only twice as dull and not nearly as cool. And that's saying a lot. They are made to give the rudimentary understanding of a topic in a purely scribble-down-and-regurgitate-in-five-minutes fashion.

Anyway, while you're "on the bench", waiting for an assignment, these CBT's are the only company-approved method of spending your time, so you have no choice but watch the lot of them. After a week of nothing but CBT's, I typed up a request for a new chair. I included a picture of the chair used in "A Clockwork Orange", specifically pointing out the gadgets that forcefully kept your eyelids open. Since my manager at the time had the sense of humor of room-temperature cole slaw, I decided not to send the e-mail.

Now I'm dealing with the flip side of that: I'm being over-trained. I'm learning Java from 4-6 PM two nights a week, and I'm taking a class during regular hours this week on the new hyper-technical (XML/XSL/HTML/ASP/JSP/JavaScript/Servlet) software platform that my company bought last year. In addition, I'm on-call for a client's "Go-Live" conversion, without having dealt with this client at all before. No customer knowledge, they just handed me a phone, told me to answer it if it rang over the weekend. Lovely.

Should I retain anything from this month of UberTraining, those memories will have to be strong, for the amount of cheap beer that I'm going to attempt to kill them with. Survival of the fittest, I say.

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