This trainer is not what I needed this week!

Thanks to all my friends who read my post Monday and let me know that you have faith in me. I appreciate it!

Yesterday and today were better days, for the most part. In addition to the post I did write Monday, I had planned to complain about one of my training cohort members, but then I learned something about her that explained her behavior and made me very glad I had not publicly posted my thoughts. It reminded me that all too often I make snap judgments about people and contrary to my popular belief, I am not always right.

Something I am going to post about is the trainer we have for this section of training. Our training is broken into several sections and for each section we typically have two trainers. Each section usually has two different trainers than the section before it. Up to this point I have liked all the trainers we’ve had. Then we began this week of training.

Now, I am going to preface this with the fact that I only know this trainer as a trainer. I have no idea how she is as a person outside of the training. But perhaps training is not her forte. Here are the things that are getting under my skin this week:

  • She did not read our ground rules. On day one of our training we were asked to develop ground rules and each trainer was supposed to get a copy and read it. Contained in these ground rules are the fact that we have a cohort member that is allergic to citrus fruit, so of course we prohibit citrus. Also in the ground rules is that we need to limit (not eliminate) sidebar conversations. More on that later.
  • She is way too authoritative. She may have been with the agency a long time, I think she said something like 16 years, but that does not mean we are not adults and don’t deserve the respect of an adult class. Some of her methods are more in line with teaching middle or high schoolers.
  • She shushes us. Yes, we can get a little loud at times. We are a group of 26 people and the stuff we are discussing is not stuff you just sit back and say, “hmmm, that was interesting.” These are topics that require some processing and discussion. Being the adults we are, we realized on day one that we would need this processing and discussion and we decided a ground rule would be to limit the sidebars because eliminating was not realistic. This trainer is notorious for saying, in a derogatory tone, “Come on guys,” or just “Guuuuys” when she feels we are too loud. I don’t think I could even attempt to tell you how many times she says it in one day or how many eye rolls she gets because of it. One of our cohort members even tried to explain the ground rule to her (since she didn’t bother to read them), and she pretty much ignored her.
  • She repeats things. Half an hour ago she may have gone over the physical signs you need to look for in sexually abused children. Guess what, it’s 30 minutes later and we’re going to go over the physical signs of sexual abuse again. Pretty much verbatim to what she previously said. It’s not for emphasis or making sure we get the point because she does it with little things too.
  • She doesn’t attempt to find answers. In every other training we’ve had the trainers all told us to ask any question we might have. If they did not know an answer, they would find out for us. If this trainer doesn’t know an answer, she will just tell us she doesn’t know and then gloss over the fact you asked her anything.
  • She hides behind a higher power. Today we needed to bring our laptops to the classroom to begin learning the state’s electronic system for data entry. This part of the training was to take place in the afternoon. Most of us got our computers out in the morning so we could figure out spacing on our tables and cord alignment. After watching a video, the trainer says to us, “What did SoSo say about computers during class?” (SoSo is one of the big dogs in the department.) She gives us all a look you would give to a 3 year old you were admonishing for stealing a cookie before dinner. “She said absolutely not,” the trainer goes on in her ‘you did a no-no’ voice. “I’ve seen people fired for it. If SoSo came in here, she would look over your shoulder, pat you on the shoulder, and take you out of here. I’ve see it done.” Um, okay whatever. I’ve seen SoSo twice since we started training and while she is a top dog who knows she is a top dog, I don’t see her firing someone for having their work-issued laptop out during a work-related training. If trainer lady didn’t want us having our laptops out during the first part of training, she simply could have said that rather than trying to threaten us with SoSo firing us.
  • She says one thing and then does another. Going back to the authoritative thing, she insists on everyone raising their hands to speak. Fine, but it’s not always going to happen when you have a large group of people passionate about their work and what they are learning. So on Tuesday, we are discussing something and she is enforcing the hand raising. She says to us, “Some of you who are not speaking up need to start talking.” She tells one of the training observers that they need to watch the class and let her know who isn’t speaking up. Well, I had not said much of anything up to this point, so on the next discussion point, I enthusiastically raised my hand. I was prepared to comment. She didn’t call on me. No big deal, I thought, I will comment on the next point. Again, my hand goes up. Again, trainer lady calls on the same select group of people who were previously doing all the talking. Well, okay, next time, I think. One more attempt and one more denial and I was done. Forget it, if she is only going to call on the people who already do all the talking, then she can’t ask for other people to speak up.
  • She lied to us. We had a little competition yesterday at the beginning of our discussion on sex abuse. We were separated into groups and had to come up with words people might use for different body parts, for example, breasts. The point of the activity is to show that there are many terms we could hear while working in the field and we have to be prepared for them and be able to use the terms when talking with children and not be shocked or laugh. Anyway, my group scored the most terms and trainer lady said she would bring us a prize that afternoon or the next day (which would have been today). No prizes were had. This is not really a big deal, but combined with all the other stuff, she is just grating on my nerves. Treat us like children and we may act like children. I want my prize, dammit!

Needless to say, this has not been the easiest week of training. I am getting sick of being away from home and now I have lousy trainer to top it all off. Boo!

August

July was a crazy month for me. I began my job as a child protective services assessor for my state. The first 12 weeks of the job are strictly training and shadowing other workers. Plus, a majority of the training is in our state capital in an effort to centralize everything. On the whole the centralization of the training is a good thing, but it means a 3.5 our commute for me and it is becoming harder and harder to remember where I have been and where I am supposed to be!

Of course, this job came at a point where I had made the decision to put social work behind me and move into librarianship, but things seem to be working out the way they should. I am a big believer in things will always work out the way they are supposed to, but the path to get to that point may be hard, frustrating and confusing. That has certainly been true for me in my employment quest since being laid off last October!

I don’t have a lot to blog about since I sit in a classroom for training most of the time, but I thought I better do a check-in for the 3 faithful readers I have. 😉  I started with the easiest section to update: Book Bag and found out I’ve read a total of 39 books already this year! Go me! Here’s what my August looks like:

August 3-7: Training in state capital ALL WEEK

August 3: Started a new class at JessicaSprague.com on using Photoshop brushes. I will be posting my work on my art page.

August 5: Niece’s 4 year birthday. Ahh!

August 6: My parent’s anniversary- they have been married for 32 years and have been great role models for me. It is also my sister-in-law’s birthday.

August 7: Julie & Julia the movie starts! RR – we need to make plans!

August 8-9: Our library is having a book sale M. and I plan to attend. M. is hoping to scope out some cheap war books that he will probably never read. I will just look for some interesting books at a good price.

August 10-14: I get to work in my home county ALL WEEK and sleep in my own bed!

August 17-21: Back up to the state capital <SIGH>

August 17: New season of Flipping Out on Bravo!

August 23: Nephew’s 7th birthday

August 24-28: A mixed week of in county and at state capital

August 31: My little brother’s birthday. Happy Birthday J. Back up in the state capital…
And, just for fun, here’s a photo I took recently. What do you think it is?

Can you guess what this is?

Can you guess what this is?

The first day

I had my first day of training for my new job today. Yesterday I made the almost 4 hour drive up to our state capital, found my hotel, hauled all my junk up to the 3rd floor, did some Zumba and then crashed early since I had to get up early (4:30 am home time) to make it downtown in time.

I made it downtown with no problems, but then had a bit of trouble finding the parking garage I was supposed to use. After some stressful circling in downtown big-city traffic, I found the garage, but pulled into the wrong entrance lane. The lane I pulled into needed a government-issued badge. I ended up backing out onto a very busy street – and I’m not all that great at backing up in the first place.

After the driving/parking debacle, the day went fairly well, although it was LONG. And not all that exciting. It was all the first day, general HR stuff – forms, benefit review, sexual harassment training. The highlight was the swearing-in as a state employee.

In the job offer letter I received it  was stated that we’d have this swearing-in the first day and we were to wear “professional business attire” because we’d also have our picture taken with a judge. So I wore my cream colored suit which is pretty professional and put-together looking. Apparently, the interpretation of “professional business attire” varies greatly. We got a chance to check out each person’s outfit as they received their certificate and had their photo taken. Of the 30 or so state employees being trained, only a handful wore suits. Most wore what I would call “business casual” – khakis, polos, nice blouses, etc.  Then there was the handful that wore some interesting “business attire.”

One lady was wearing some denim outfit. All stonewashed and elastic-waisted. Oh, there was also a lot of flowery embroidery. Another lady appeared to have done nothing with her hair this morning (perhaps she had to get up even earlier than I to make it on time). Her outfit was made up of clothing that was too big for her and made her look decidedly slouchy. And the best “business attire” was the bright pink sweats and yellow polka dotted shirt. All the guys looked pretty put-together, even the ones not in suits.

After the day was over, I followed the herd back out to the parking garage, and then had some more downtown driving confusion before finally making it back to my hotel. Exhausted!

The rest of the week we’re training in a facility closer to the hotel, so hopefully the driving stress will be eliminated. We are also going to start focusing on the actual job of a family case manager. Now my social worker education needs to be reactivated…

Time for some tea and then early bedtime!

10-year anniversary

Yesterday was my 10th wedding anniversary. Ten years might seem a long time to be married when you’re only 30 years old, but it hasn’t felt all that long at all. And most of it has been very, very good. M. and I met over a thousand miles and the internet back in 1997. If you’re a newer reader to my blog and haven’t had a chance to prowl through the archives, you can find our story here. And last year I wrote a post about our being married 9 years, complete with photos and a slideshow. Check that out here.

So, last week I made these big plans for our special day. M. had taken the day off and I had my last day of work before the new job starts, so we had no obligations other than to celebrate. I scheduled us fusion massages and made reservations at a fusion restaurant a friend recommended. I decided on Monday (another day off for both of us) that we needed to get more painting on the yard shed we’ve had for months now and not managed to finish. I dug out my old clothes, my paint brushes, paint, a ladder and went to work. I ended up getting the shed close to done after 3 hours of work, but then ran out of masking tape to tape off the detail work around the trim.  I went back inside and cleaned up. Later that day my back was feeling pretty hot. I checked it out and found I had severely burnt my entire upper back and shoulders. When I prepared to go outside and paint sunscreen didn’t even enter my mind, so I had no protection at all. And while it doesn’t hurt too much, it itches like crazy and getting it rubbed and deep massaged didn’t seem like a good plan. I moved the massage to next Saturday. The shed is still not finished and I have a crispy critter living on my back.

Some time ago one of M.’s crowned teeth decided to fall out of his mouth. It left behind a bit of tooth in the decrepit hole. On Wednesday he had the remaining bit of tooth cut out. Now the decrepit hole is a bleeding mass of ouch and M. has to be very cautious when he eats so not to jab food into the hole causing even more pain. So I moved our fusion restaurant meal to next Saturday. It was looking like we’d have no special plans the day of our milestone anniversary.

The day of arrived and we took a trip to the library to see if any new movies were on the shelf. We ended up walking away with an armful of movies we wanted to see. We then went to the zoo and spent some time walking and enjoying the animals – most of which cooperated and were more active than I had ever seen them. We then had a buy one get one free lunch at our favorite Mexican place – soft food all around, burritos and soft tacos. Back at home we took a nice nap and then watched three of the movies we picked up: Revolutionary Road (neither of us particularly liked this one, although I enjoyed all the 50’s fashion and decor), Bride Wars (a nice change after Rev. Rd., although a bit silly), and Gran Torino (the best of the three). Today we will be watching The Reader (hopefully better than the book), and probably some others, but that is the last 3-day rental we have. We ordered some pizza for dinner and had a nice time, just being together and doing things we enjoy.
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Tomorrow I drive up to our state capital to begin a 9-week long training for my new job. The first full week is in the capital (about 3 hours away from home), and the remaining 8 weeks will fluctuate between the capital and my home county. I hate not knowing when I’ll be at the capital and when I will be home. I also made the decision to defer my enrollment into library school. I heard back from my adviser and the Dean’s Fellowship I was awarded can be deferred as well. I will decide later if I want to go for the Master of Library Science since it will not be beneficial in any way to the job I am starting on Monday.

What I won’t miss

Tomorrow is my final day at my temporary job. For those who do not know, I was laid off from my job of 5 years last October and then was called back to help out temporarily in May. Bossman was going to allow me to stay on, but at a measly 15 hours per week. Then I got offered a job working for the state, so I’m all done, again, tomorrow.

There are many things I will miss about this place, especially the people, but in the spirit of a snarky blog, here are some things I will not miss:

  • The perfumy front bathroom. There are two different kinds of air fresheners in there plus a bottle of perfume. Do people just spray this perfume randomly? The air in there is so saturated with scent that you can taste it. And then when the bathroom smells mingle with the perfuminess – watch out! This is the bathroom our clients have access to when they come to the office. Good thing they don’t judge our merit on bathrooms.
  • Spur of the moment, in process, emergency projects from the Bossman. In my previous position with the agency I got a lot of these. Bossman would come into my office and drop projects on me that he needed done right away. Projects that often times had nothing to do with what I was supposed to do at the agency, and at times, had been in process by another employee who had no idea Bossman was now passing the project on to me. Since coming back temporarily, I only received one of these kinds of projects since Bossman mostly resides abroad now. But I won’t miss these one iota!
  • All the throat clearing. There is one person in the office who constantly and loudly clears her throat. What the hell is in there?! I made the mistake of moving to an office right next to hers and I have to cringe each time I hear the throat clearing. I do a lot of cringing now.
  • Loud Russian. We have an office member who is Russian, so she speaks Russian. Which is great for the line of work we do. However, the Russian language is one of those angry-sounding languages and so I hear a lot of angry-sounding, very loud Russian several times throughout a workday.
  • The weird trashy kitchen smells and dishwasher full of only dining utensils. Several coworkers, and myself included, bring in pre-packaged microwaveable meals for lunch. Because these little conveniences are already in a plastic dish, there is no need to get out a plate or bowl but you will need utensils, mostly forks. So the work dishwasher gets full of utensils, the drawer gets empty of utensils, and no one wants to run the dishwasher for just utensils, yet no one wants to hand-wash either. I don’t know if it’s these pre-packaged meals or something else, but we often get a trashy funk in the kitchen too. Then it is a decision of whether to let it linger or take out a mostly empty trashcan. Usually someone is close to dying of trash stink before the decision comes down to taking it out. Yum, right?
  • The building’s inability to be climate controlled.

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