Meanwhile, back at the day job


What my position/title says I do

I am the acting regional training coordinator for my business line.

The two main duties I perform in the course of my job are to maintain the training plan, and manage the training budget.  These two aspects of my job have been occupying me for most of the past two months.

Challenges:

  • The current year’s training plan has been constantly changing, mostly due to the ongoing business transformation process.  This is the busiest year the training team has ever seen, and the team is losing members. While these losses are due to promotions, deployments, or acting assignments (and are therefore good things to have happened), it still means doing more with fewer resources.
  • We have five functional trainers.  That means we don’t have enough trainers to facilitate the training we are already committed to deliver.
  • Since our plan is based on the fiscal year, which runs April to March, we’re in the home stretch, and I sincerely hope that no further changes come to light.  Then again …
  • Planning next year’s training schedule is already underway. Since this is my first time going through the process, I’m understandably nervous.
  • Our business line is over budget, once more due to the non-negotiable and afore-mentioned business transformation.  I’ve been assured that we’ll be okay, but like the planning, I’m in new territory with budget management.  Further, my position is an acting one and failure could cost me.  Once again, I’ve been reassured, but one thing the last year has taught me is that no one is safe.

In addition to my two main challenges, my job also entails soliciting nominations for training, establishing participant lists, inputting those lists into the learning management system, and a slew of weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports, some of which I’m still not certain about (there’s one quarterly report in particular for which I don’t have access to the information I’m asked to report on = boggle).

Because of my proficiency with SharePoint, the setting up of training rooms has become

The SharePoint wheel

The SharePoint wheel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

one of my duties as well.  Though it doesn’t take massive amounts of time, it’s nonetheless time that I could be devoting to other tasks.  Should I be fortunate enough to become indeterminate as training coordinator, this will have to change.  For now, if I don’t do it, it won’t get done.

The training team would like me to send out the invitations to training too.  This is another task that is not difficult, but it can be time consuming.  Thus, I am extremely grateful to the team for taking on this responsibility for me.

Big shout out to my lovely ladies!  The training team rocks/is fabulous/is awesome-sauce!

What I’ve chosen to take on

I want to become a certified trainer.  So I have been delivering training, meeting with my mentor, and the lead of the certification program.  I also meet with my co-facilitators to plan our delivery, prepare for each training, and complete many of the coordination duties that I assume for other training in the business line.

Though it’s only taken one short paragraph to cover this self-imposed responsibility, it currently eats up more of my work-week than my main duties do.

I’m not complaining (since this is something I’ve elected to do, I really can’t), merely stating a fact.  You already know from my past posts how much I love training, so this isn’t a burden.  It is additional work, though.

Other stuff

These are the things that I do for professional development, sitting on working groups and the like.

My manager is very concerned with the career mobility of his staff, and I am grateful for the attention he pays to this aspect of his duties, but sometimes, I think it’s a bit much.

I have no interest in climbing the career ladder further.  Doing so would mean, in most cases, moving, which I’m not interested in, or becoming functionally bilingual, which I don’t think I’m capable of at this point in my life.

I’ve never had the least interest in managing others, even though my current position means I work closely with managers and some of my duties require what I’ll call para-managerial skills.

So I sit in on conference calls on projects that I have little or no influence over and little subject matter expertise to share.  When I do come across a topic on which I have a strong opinion, I do opine, but often it’s not something that’s acted upon.

Ultimately, many of these working groups result in further training for staff, which strains an already overburdened training team and an already overtaxed budget.

I might figure out how to get blood from a stone (without smacking someone in the head), but short of a miracle, I’m not sure how to do this.

I began the year with the mantra, “I am a leaf in the wind.”  It’s a two-fold touchstone.  First, it’s all about going with the flow, and letting go.  In Managing Transitions, I learned that you have to focus on the things that you have control over and the actions you can take in that context to improve your situation.  For those things over which you do not have control, you have to let go, stop fighting the losing battle.  This is what I’ve strived to do.

The second meaning, for you Whedonesque geeks out there, is that this is a line from the film Serenity.  Hobediah Washburn (Wash) is piloting the titular Firefly class spaceship through a raging battle zone.  He’s dodging the Alliance and the Reavers at once, and it looks like he’s just about to make it through the collisions, explosions, and hurtling debris.  In a zen moment, he says, “I am a leaf in the wind: watch me—” and then he’s impaled by a rather narsty-looking piece of debris.

This might give you some insight into my character, but when I thought of adopting that mantra, I couldn’t stop laughing.  I simply find it hilarious, and I’m striving to pilot my version of Serenity through its battle zone, all the while watching for that deadly metal spar.

Complicating factors

What, you say, there’s more?

Why yes.  There’s always more 🙂

The device pictured is a 128MiB PNY Attaché US...

The device pictured is a 128MiB PNY Attaché USB flash drive. Like many such drives, this model features a removable cap (which protects the type-a male USB connector) and a hole or loop through which a string or wire loop can be attached (barely visible in this photo, on the flash drive’s lower right corner). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A couple of recent security breaches have eliminated the use of USB storage devices throughout the organization, as well as external hard drives, and even CDs and DVDs created to back up important information.

This has the potential to affect the use of lap tops (VPN), faxing, and even scanning.  This last is particularly concerning as my employer has established a centralized imaging program in an effort to reduce hard-copy storage and maintain a green workplace.

I had to return three USB devices even though the information contained on them could never have compromised the security or privacy of anyone.  I have a lap top and a VPN account, though I’ve only ever used it on site, with a network cable, within our secured network.  I don’t even know if I remember my VPN login (!) because I’ve never had need to use it.

I have had need to transport my laptop to a training location, however, and while I make every effort to ensure that the lap top is never out of my sight unless locked up or away, I could be heading for some serious curtailing of my privileges.

My team also recently reviewed our employer’s code of conduct, values, and ethics.  As a result, I had to submit a conflict of interest declaration because my writing is considered self-employment.  As part of that submission, my manager gets to, and in fact must, review my blog.

I’ve read our employer’s policy, and so far as I know, I’m adhering to it.  I’m sure I’ll hear about it, otherwise.

So that, in a nutshell, is my life at work these days.  It’s complicated and I strive for complexity in the midst of the chaos, but there are so many things beyond my control.  I do what I can.  It’s all any of us can do.

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How is your work world shaping up in the New Year?  Is the pace of change complicating Writerly Goodnessmatters? How is your workplace dealing with the growing spectre of security breaches?  Have you chosen to do something beyond your job description?  Anyone undergoing a business transformation process?  What do you do to stay positive?

The learning mutt is circling three times before curling up to nap.

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