Monday, March 06, 2006

Getting it off my chest

I’ve spent the last few days on a training course. Normally I love these things. I love the “Who are you & Where do you come from” introductions. I love the “contracting” with the trainer on our expectations of the course. I even love filling out the course review forms at the end. But I love these training courses because I am away from my office, and hence my e-mail and my telephone. No interruptions and a lot of time for reflection allow me to think. (And should, if I’m lucky, help me work through the creativity problem that I’m currently wrestling.)

This particular course however also brought up the one thing that I hate about training courses – the smug, arrogant and ignorant trainer. In my experience, most trainers are absolutely awe-inspiring. Alas, there tends to be a small number of quite offensive individuals also. And at the risk of sounding sexist, they are always male!

During our second day, each of the participants had to “report back” from our working groups on the main “learnings”. Standing up in front of a group of strangers and translating a rambling conversation into a series of flip chart bullet points isn’t easy. It is not easy for those of us not comfortable with public speaking. The trainer’s ease at talking off the cuff on any subject, only added to our sense of gauche. As he introduced the last reportee, he announced “…Last but by no means least, we have Sharon who takes it up the rear … oops … sorry about that Sharon”. Needless to say, the room that was hitherto full of mature adults, rapidly transformed into a group of puerile young men. A casual slip of the tongue that perhaps was more revealing about the tutor than the now red-faced reportee. Well I happen to have previous experience of this trainer and on the basis of two similar “deliberate gaffs” realise that he is now an ignorant pig. We’ve had the “I don’t smoke, back women or ride horses”, gratuitous picture of Scarlet Johansson and the random slide of the female nude accompanied by the “oops, one of the holiday snaps”. This lowlife even deliberately mishears a comment by one of the female that gets a round of applause and then makes reference to the “woman who got the clap”. The “George Bush as a monkey” and the “George Bush reading a book upside down are regular features of their presentations.
It’s just as well that we get to do a course assessment, so that I can tell him that his racist, misogynistic, homophobic and xenophobic gags are offensive. Now I can blog about him too!


Blogger Fence said...

Sounds like ana rse of the very worst variety

11:54 a.m., March 07, 2006  
Blogger Fence said...

or even an arse.

11:55 a.m., March 07, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

"...racist, misogynistic, homophobic and xenophobic gags..."
You know I used to take comfort from your spelling mistakes: I didn't ever notice them, so I knew that I'd finally found someone who might be as bad as me.
So when I tune into your blog from Lisbon, before 0730 and after a week of participant observation study of sleep deprivation, I feel I've lost a fellow traveller.
I don't even have the heart to check the spelling of those 4 & 5 syllabled words. Anyone who uses them must be a much better speller than me.

I wanted you to name the name, or at least give a sufficiently good description for me to know him. I run training courses. I might meet him in the lobby of a hotel some day. How will I know him?
I might be offered a job by the company that employs him. I might find myself being judged by the same standards or neglected by the same quality assurance bods.

I bet you know all about 'slips of the tongue'. You're a Freudian aren't you? You know all about the analysis of joking.

Of course it is male trainers that are the ones that get under your skin. They're the ones most likely to push your buttons, aren't they?

You must give me his name. I won't pass it on to anyone who knows you. I promise.

I'll even train him if you think that might not be a waste of time.

Isn't there a pattern here: trouble with mechanics, more trouble with trainers...

It's so good to be back reading you. Well done for not going to the Awards. That was brave.

Let them stew for a bit longer before you let them see your face. I've already started joining up the dots.

10:09 p.m., March 13, 2006  
Blogger Paige A Harrison said...

Paul, my spelling isn't the best, I know, but my typing is even worse! Still, saying you didn't ever notice my spelling mistakes and in the next sentence saying you take comfort from them is so.....aggghhh!!

I will not name or shame. My male training fiend (not spelling mistake) shamed himself.

I am sure from your sensitive understanding of women, and your role as a father, you are well able to suppress those hormonally-charged ego-driven male temptations to show off how brilliant you are!

Would have loved to have been at the Awards night but had an overseas guest over for the weekend.

I am worried about the dot-joining. Please explain. Or maybe don't!

9:56 a.m., March 14, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

"I am sure from your sensitive understanding of women, and your role as a father, you are well able to suppress those hormonally-charged ego-driven male temptations to show off how brilliant you are!"

Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
I deserved that. I've played your words over in my head for about 7 days now, and every time I listen to them I feel the words reach inside me and touch something rotten that I've been trying to keep hidden.

I apologise for being like that. I'm still working on myself.

1:43 p.m., March 20, 2006  

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