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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Making Lemonade

Work the last couple of weeks, well, it hasn't been all that. Lots of annoyances and disappointments. Nothing to be done about it besides keep moving forward.

Saturday, I'm at home testing the new release of Zimbra, playing around with a bunch of stuff on a copy of my calendar. I notice that there's this training session I'm supposed to teach for a project where I'd been told they'd hired a trainer to do the full training, so my piece of the puzzle would be handled by that person. That's why there was the random journey to Redwood City. It was ostensibly to hand off my portion to that person, though still, I have to wonder why I had to go to that emergency meeting where no one else showed up til 20 minutes after the meeting start time. Anyhoo, two training sessions on my calendar. I decide to email the project manager (the one who showed up 30 minutes late to the aforementioned (30 minute) meeting). I asked, "Is this still happening?" She replied on Sunday and said, "Yes! Definitely!" and promptly sent out a reminder to everyone invited to the meeting saying that I'd agreed to present this to them. I read this chain of email in horror and frustration. I do not have help desk and order processing training prepared for this project, it's Sunday, the training is scheduled for Monday at 1pm, and I've got meetings in the morning til 11am. This project manager has some major sucking up to do and she doesn't even know it.

So I arrive a few minutes early on Monday, get through my morning chores, go to my morning meetings, and get back to my desk. I heat up some lunch and start putting together a training outline. The project manager stops by and answers a few questions. I keep tinkering.

Then Kevin calls. He's on campus for a UI Test but he doesn't really need to be there hovering. Ordinarily, I'd drop everything and go have a bite of lunch, but y'know, training in T-65 minutes. Not good. But he stops by and we chat for a half an hour (which is totally awesome). With the half hour remaining, I finish typing and formatting my teaching notes and head to the conference room.

The phones aren't set up at 2 minutes to start time. I look to the project manager and she says, "I'll call." I'm thinking, "Um, yeah, good, because... Hello!" Can't teach people how to use their nifty new VOIP phone system if they can't even see what looks like. I'm just not that cool.

But I get through the training content in 40 minutes, and then reach deep into my teaching tools bag and say, "So what I'd like you to do for the last 20 minutes is to familiarize yourself with the phone and the documentation by playing around a bit. Call each other, use the intercom, transfer calls. Feel free to ask if you come up with any questions." And, as if I'd planned it all along, they fell to testing out the phones and worked happily for the remaining 20 minutes, asking me questions, asking the project manager questions, and asking the technician questions.

None of the participants had a clue that 2 hours earlier, I hadn't been remotely prepared.

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