Tag Archives: corporate bullshit

New School Textbooks

8 Sep

September 7, 2017

It’s a new school year and that means new textbooks. I’m glad to see that schools are finally replacing the old and out of date books they’ve used for years, but I’m not sold on the new, corporate-sponsored texts. Do I really want Elmo and Big Bird explaining the My Lai Massacre? 

Big Bird had to be airlifted to a MASH unit




Training Day

1 Feb

February 1, 2012

My experiences as a high school teacher have amply prepared me for life in corporate America. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Take today for example. My team was assigned to an all-day training session. Those of you who follow me on Twitter may recall a series of tweets about this last week. I was bored. What were we being trained for? The job we have been doing for the last four months.

Also in the session as a newer team doing the same job. How well did we know that other team? Very well. We had trained them.

The trainer was the same person who had taken me and most of my team through our first two weeks of initial training at this company and also a further week a little later on. It is therefore safe to say that all of us in that room knew each other very well.

So as you might expect this meeting of professionals began with a “let’s get to know each other” exercise.


I hated those when I was teaching and I hate them now. Yes, they have some value in certain situations but this wasn’t one of them. And it had no value as an ice-breaker because if you had heard the noise level in that room you’d know the ice had been broken.

As I found out later, there was actually a very good reason for this activity: the trainer was trying vainly to stretch less than two hours of subject matter into an eight-hour day. This also explains our one hour and forty-five minute lunch and three breaks of forty minutes each.

We started off with what our trainer called “The Four C’s.” She gave us sheets of paper and asked us to write a list:

Favorite color
Favorite character
Favorite career
Favorite car

You may recall from some past blogs that I now work for a major Company In America in a security-minded position. I don’t blame you for thinking that this story comes from my days teaching in a troubled inner-city school.

I did not take the training seriously. How could I? I have sat though too many lousy training sessions (and truth be told, led too may of them) to not see right through it.

I was sitting in the last row between my direct supervisor and her direct supervisor. (The power row.) In total there were eighteen of us in the session and I was next to last.

The trainer started going around the room asking for the 4C responses and as it progressed two things became clear. One, a lot of people like the color blue. Two, a lot of people want to own BMW’s. Clearly I had already learned one thing from this training session: I should open up a BMW dealership focusing on blue Beamers.

Another thing that became clear was that in an effort to remain perky and involved our trainer was feigning fascination at people’s pronunciation of the word blue. She imitated everyone’s pronunciation and tried out some foreign accents, finally settling on what she thought was Cockney.

It went on, it seemed, for all of eternity, until it got to me. All throughout some people were more engaged than others. Some just read the list, some gave detailed explanations, others asked questions, but I was in just a bit of a mischievous mood. If I didn’t entertain myself I would go nuts. It was only less than an hour into the session but I could clearly predict where and how it was going. After I introduced myself to the roomful of people I worked with every day, I gave my answers as follows:

“My favorite color is blue and I’ll pronounce it anyway you like”
Trainer: “Bleauuu.”
Me: “Bleauuu.”

“I don’t really have a favorite character but I picked Superman because everyone expects me to.” (And as a blog reader you probably do too.)

“My dream career is anything where I can be my own boss.” (Laughter.) “And preferably yours.”

“My perfect car hasn’t been invented yet. I want some sort of flying super car.”
Trainer: “A BMW super car?”
Me: “A flying BMW super car. From space.”

Click on this picture for a surprise!

The rest of the session consisted of other stimulating activities, like taking turns reading aloud pages from our training manual.

At some point the supervisors on either side of me got pulled out of the meeting by their supervisor, leaving me all alone in the back row. It was the high point of the day not only because I was able to spread out and stretch but I could go on the instant communicator and talk to my friend on another floor with no one watching.

At the end of the session we had to take a 20 question online assessment. It was ridiculously easy because not only had the trainer told us as we went along what we needed to know for the test and I wrote all the answers down, but because even if she had not told us the answers, it was about the job we do all day every day. It took me three minutes and 20 seconds to get every answer correct and I am shocked that it took me that long.

However, I am more shocked (and concerned) that someone on my team needed three attempts and thirty minutes to reach the minimum passing score of 90%.

As a former educator working in the private sector, I hope that other aspects of my old career make their way into this job, like snack time and nap time, because after that training I needed a stiff drink and a snooze.

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