Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Training to be human and making fat girls cry

A friend emails:
My secretary has just arrived in the office after spending the day on a course. The title was “sustaining and managing relationships in the workplace”. The day was spent undertaking personality tests and role-playing. 
What has gone wrong with the world, when employers are training their staff to act as humans?
I am afraid to shut my office door. I fear that I will be accused of mismanaging my workplace relationships.

I'm not sure I could ever do a big corporate job again. The ratio of stupid bollocks to productive work is just way too high.

But not everyone is treading as carefully as my friend. Overheard in an office, an anonymous hero of post-feminism:
Better to make a fat girl cry than a pregnant woman stand. 


Gadjo Dilo said...

It goes for acedemia too: one of my PhD supervisors was such an arse that they had to send him on a course on "How to Respect People". They should have thrown him out into the real world and made a documentary about how he got the shit kicked out of him.

Barendina Smedley said...

Given my personal experience of PhD supervisors, I'd pay good money to see that documentary. More than once, actually.

dearieme said...

Someone who saw his PhD supervisor often enough to form a judgement about him was lucky.

Anonymous said...

It's not so much training to be human as uploading specific programmes onto an office cyborg. Employers don't want human beings, because human beings aren't as smart and reliable and unerring and predictable as machines. However, they realise that the cyborgs they employ have certain failings, so send them off on training courses to have specific programmes installed, e.g. "not being an asshole". They would be horrified if the cyborg actually became human.

Brit said...

Has anyone ever been on one of these courses - not just the obvious bollocks ones but even the more reasonable ones - and not immediately forgotten everything about it the next day?

Gaw said...

Gadjo, Barendina and Dearieme: Thesis supervision makes me want to adapt the Lear quotation: As flies to wanton boys, are we to [supervisors], — They [make us redraft - and worse -] for their sport. I've come across some real horror stories, as I'm sure have you. The politics of it all are mind-blowing.

Elb: I think a lot of training is used by employers to reassure employees that they're cared for. They don't expect anything back other than an employee who misleading thinks they're getting 'career progression'.

Brit: I was a graduate trainee at Cadbury's and the most useful course I went on was optional: touch-typing. I'm serious when I say it's probably the most productive handful of half-days I've ever spent.

worm said...

Thank god they don't make me go on those courses at work, I think I'd kill myself

Gadjo Dilo said...

I reckon in hindsight I was lucky as my other two supervisors were very good :-) Funny you should mention that as, having some time on my hands and having weighed up all the options, I suspect I may (i.e. should but probably won't) also take a course in touch-typing.

Sophie King said...

A good friend of mine is an art teacher in a private school in London. A new head was brought in a couple of years ago who was well versed in the art of management speak. Apparently the employees no longer have line managers. They now have 'critical friends'. I treasure this new definition and am trying to introduce it into my workplace.

Gaw said...

Worm: Say no to everything apart from touch typing and shorthand.

Gadjo: Go for it!

Sophie: Whatever happened to these people's sense of the ridiculous? Weird when you think about it. Do they not watch comedy programmes?