During one of the hottest weeks of the year so far, my friend has just spent two days in a sticky office a motorway drive away genning up on health and safety legislation. She has done this many times before. She is an experienced manager and knows what’s what in business. The outcome of these two days of training can be summed up thus: don’t do anything stupid; advise your colleagues not to do anything stupid; if despite this they still touch an electrical cable to see if it’s live or walk into an oven to see if it’s cool enough to clean they only have themselves to blame when they get injured.
I work for myself but I still have to keep my skills and knowledge up to date, though I can choose what courses I do and when. All that limits me is time and, of course, money. It’s amazing how much more attention I pay now that I’m funding my own training.
You might find this hard to believe, but I quite like going on courses. One thing I’ve noticed is that whatever the subject, those attending fall into some rather neat stereotypes.
There are generally a couple of blokey-blokes who are going through the motions of the day, but actually have their eyes firmly on the expenses allowance and are keen to spend it all. They have little trouble with the course content and stay relaxed about the whole dreary business of being there.
There will be a couple who are keen to earn promotion, or, just as likely these days, doing all they can to keep their jobs. They will hang on the presenter’s every word, ask incisive questions and take copious notes even where handouts are provided. During breaks, instead of going outside for a breath of fresh air and a KitKat, they will read over what they’ve learned so far and look ahead to the next session.
Then there’s the worrier with a permanent frown, who keeps up a running commentary under her breath to ensure she processes everything thoroughly; and the sensible woman who wants to keep her head down and get through the day without upsetting anyone, but also to learn sufficient to justify her being sent there in the first place.
Most annoying of all, though, is the twerp who knows it all and wants us all to know that he knows it all, but who deploys feigned ignorance by asking lots of questions prefaced with: ‘I have heard…’ or, worse, ‘Isn’t it true to say that…?’ Makes my blood boil just to think about it.
So – which one are you?