But I Am Le Broken

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This post has nothing to do with sewing, quilting, knitting or crafting of any sort. It’s work stuff that’s knocking around my brain, looking for an outlook and so here we are. Things that poke around in my head end up in written form, one way or the other. In Babylon 5 terms, this is not an arc episode.

This morning, I woke up with an enormous spasm in my left trapezius muscle, the likes of which I’ve never had. Between trying to get the alarm turned off and having dogs excitedly jumping all over my head, it was a huge temptation just to curl back into bed, let the alarm continue going off and the dogs wait until I could move. There is assorted other personal stress I could just as easily do without thinking about for a few more hours.

To boot, Mondays are generally brutal onslaughts at work; customers come back in from the weekend, finds piles of whatever was broken or neglected for two or three days, or decide they are really going to tackle one thing or another, and The World sends in trouble tickets. Due to scheduling issues, I am alone on my team on most Monday mornings, which is pretty awful. Thus, Monday mornings when I wake up, I am largely filled with dread, having a pretty good idea what awaits me.

However, calling in sick (or immobilized) is only something I do as a last resort, because that’s one less person to handle the workload; all of the tickets and calls I would handle would get passed to one or two unfortunate souls, dragging them away from their own work and so on and so forth. In a company of our size, anytime someone calls in sick, it puts the hurt on other people, and I think most of us avoid doing it if at all possible.

Additionally, I’m applying for this training position at work. At least sixteen other people have applied, a few of whom dropped out for various reasons – but the competition is fierce. All of the people I know who have applied are outstanding candidates, and it’s entirely likely I won’t be selected from this throng of awesomeness. That’s ok.

As part of the application process, we are to put together a one-hour training session on a random topic of the training manager’s choosing. Mine is certainly not the most difficult, but it’s not precisely a walk in the park, either. I won’t bore you with details, but if any of you are familiar with Postgresql, that’s the beast. This training session will be given to a group of our peers, however many decide to show up for our topic.

The pressure is on. ๐Ÿ™‚

I love teaching and explaining things, and this gamut we’re being put through is somewhat ingenius. There have been gradual increases in the pressure:

  1. Respond to an email with your interest in the position by X date
  2. Receive notification ofย  two-part interview process. Part one, the usual Q&A. Part two, a presentation on a topic of random selection for “the staff,” which most of us mistakenly took to mean, “the training staff.”
  3. Receive notification of date and time of first interview, and the topic. And the presentation must be one hour long (which is representative of most training sessions.)
  4. Have first interview
  5. Be notified of date and time of presentation
  6. See an email sent to all staff about the presentation
  7. Blink
  8. Chuckle with appreciation – what better way to a.) see the applicant in action, b.) get feedback from more people, c.) weed out the final waffling folks?

To be completely honest, I’m incredibly uncertain about my topic. I literally never looked at or touched it before I started working on this presentation, and it’s not among my areas of interest. This makes it an excellent litmus test for how I might fare in various situations on the training team, naturally. A few times, I’ve questioned “is this really worth it? Will it have been worth the trouble if I don’t get the job?”

Well yes, yes it will.

I’ll have learned a new topic, pushed my boundaries and tried for something I really wanted. There are only two places I’d want to go from where I am currently – training, or supervising. Either of those positions would make better use of my stronger skill sets and either one would be worth some hoop-jumping.

While I would miss certain aspects of direct customer support, I am more excited about helping to teach others, getting them excited about all the potential they as individuals have to make this company a better place, give the customers better experiences and generally Make A Difference. I love “AHA!”/lightbulb moments when someone gets it, especially if what they’re getting is difficult or has given them trouble. That is awesome. Having the opportunity to do that as a regular part of my job description is worth spending a bunch of time on a one-hour presentation, even if I’m not really a serious contender for the position.

The training manager made a Twitter post the other day about how he spends a lot of time “undoing the harmful expectations past employers set for my new hires.” I think of it as Reverse Indoctrination; there are very few Hard & Fast Rules here. Be an adult. Don’t be a dick. Wear pants and shoes. Those sorts of things.

It’s a whole new world for many folks who have done hard time in other corporate environments. Some get a little shell-shocked for awhile, most thrive, very few take advantage. By and large, they bloom. It’s nifty.

Thus, when I have my infrequent “oh fuck it” moments, I remember the goal here. It’s worth the effort.

At the end of the day, to celebrate a new product launch, we had a big, giant delicious cake. Not a bad way to end Monday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometimes, there is cake at the end of the tunnel, and sometimes, the cake is not a lie.

Gaiam.com, Inc

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2 responses to But I Am Le Broken


  1. Sorry you had such a Mondayish Monday!

    I hope your training session goes well! Not only do I know what Postgresql is my hubby is friends with a guy who it a technical expert in it. Plus he lives down the street. So if you have any questions that aren’t too dumb you could email him and tell him you know BSE’s wife. Do I get bonus points?

    • Erin

      Wow, how cool to have an ace in the hole! Thanks for the offer of help, I really appreciate it. Sadly, none of my questions would be not-dumb to someone who actually knows what he’s talking about. ๐Ÿ˜€ I think I’ve got a fairly good handle on it, just need to polish it up and make sure I can take up an hour. Whee!! Thanks again, total bonus points. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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