To really get the effect of the title of this post, allow me to coax you back to the classic Ren & Stimpy episode, Space Madness. If you’ve never seen it before, take a few minutes and watch. I’ll wait.
Ok, now that you’ve had a taste, you have to say “work madness” the way Commander Hoek says “space madness” in the ep. Seriously. You have to say it the same way or this won’t work half as well.
I think the last time I blogged about work was at the beginning of October, when my self-funded leave started. Though a fifteen-month stint as a regional training coordinator (consultant) was, strictly speaking, the reason I needed that leave, I am grateful to my employer that such options are available.
When I feel the spectre of burnout or depression, I know I have the means to fend them off.
My leave was five weeks of heaven spent focusing on the art and craft of my writing. I attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference, and participated in my first National Novel Writing Month, which I won 🙂
I returned to work November 19, which was a Tuesday, and before I’d even settled in, learned that I was to start delivering training the following Monday, training that I hadn’t delivered in about two and a half years (!) It was in Sudbury at least, so I wouldn’t have to travel.
I did spend the rest of the week prepping and revising the training material, though, and somewhere in there found the time to complete my travel request for something else coming up (more on that in a few paragraphs).
Say it with me now: work madness.
This was something that had come up in the five weeks I’d been off. Though I’d only heard the rumours before I left on my leave, I knew the powers that be were interested in “stabilizing” one of the processing positions. This meant hiring, and a lot of it.
The November 25th to December 3rd training was the result of hiring from an established internal pool of candidates.
After the training, the last two days of which I completed solo, I had to work some overtime to get the marking done and summary reports prepared. Four and a half hours added onto my seven and a half hour day. It was a loooong day. The rest of that week was devoted to further revisions—a lot of errors emerged during the delivery—and facilitating a conference call as a follow up to a self-study module.
While I was off, I was recruited to participate in a “training for trainers” session in team dynamics. The idea was to develop some regional expertise so that operational teams could assume delivery of the course. As only of a few certified trainers in the province, I was invited.
It’s nice to be needed.
This would be from December 9th to 13th in Toronto (yes, I know a couple of people who may be displeased to learn that I was in Toronto and didn’t tell them, but really, I was so busy, I wouldn’t have had time—still, my apologies).
Then the next sessions of stabilization training in Mississauga and London were to begin December 16th through to Christmas Eve. I was tentatively scheduled for London. These would all be new hires.
This training would require me cancelling some leave that had already been approved, and missing out on my family’s Christmas celebration, which we hold on Christmas Eve. Further, it would require the approval of some hefty overtime so that I could travel home on Christmas Day.
Still, I was prepared to do it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to.
While I delivered training and stood on tenterhooks waiting for plans to solidify—they weren’t even finished with the hiring process yet!—another person was given the acting assignment so she could do the training.
Plus, there were so many people being given acting assignments to cover the training and monitoring for the fifty or so new hires coming into the organization, that I might have to resume my consulting duties as regional training coordinator.
This may require some ‘splaining.
My substantive, or permanent position, is with the operational training team for Ontario. We’d been told for years that our positions were “overstaffed.” This meant that as team members retired or moved into other positions, that there would be no back-filling of staff. We’d have to make do with less.
Prior to my joining the team in 2009, there had been fifteen or sixteen trainers. By the time I joined, we were twelve. Then ten. When I accepted the regional training coordinator position, there were eight trainers left. Then two more received assignments and another was affected by business transformation, leaving five.
Shortly after I returned to the team in September, another of our number received an acting assignment elsewhere. Now that I’m departing again, the number of permanent staff on the team is down to four. That’s to serve all of the training needs of staff in our business line in the whole province. Really?
Though being regional training coordinator wore me out, I was nonetheless disappointed when my assignment ended and I returned to the training team, especially when I learned that the reason I’d likely never get a consultant-level position again was geographic rather than merit-based.
Though the consultant pool I’m in has been extended through to December 31, 2013, this may be my only chance at a consultancy again, ever.
On the team that houses the regional training coordinators, there have been changes as well. The manager has received an acting position as a director and the person taking his place is also acting.
Two other team members have received assignments off the team, and now, due to the number of acting trainers and monitors in this stabilization exercise, another of them will become a second acting manager for the training team.
Though they too had been told that no positions would be back-filled, there won’t be anyone left on the team who’s done the regional training coordinator gig who doesn’t already have a full plate.
And so I’m heading back.
Altogether now: WORK MADNESS!
I’m going to adjust my expectations of the position. I know now the kind of chaos I’m going to be parachuted into the middle of. And the planning process I worked at so dilligently last year? It hasn’t even started yet.
I think I’m going to start every day with the Serenity Prayer.
Are there other projects I’m going to be involved in, work-wise? Yes. I’m going to be observing and potentially delivering the Business Expertise Curriculum (though I never received the training myself—this may be my only opportunity to take it in) in January and (possibly) February.
I may be training the team dynamics workshop too, though there are currently no plans on the table for it. Things shouldn’t be as insane as they were last year, however. I’ve already been certified. I won’t be going back there again.
In other news, the training certification program has departed our internal college for another training provider. So, no next steps for Mellie. No assessment, no mentoring, and no training. Unless I get some kind of in with that other training provider. I become eligible to apply to them in March. We’ll see how that works out…
So that’s my work madness.