I was having a hard time in coming up with a topic to bloviate about when I suddenly (or inadvertently) remembered about an involuntary class that I had to take last week. Presto! Instant subject to bloviate about!
For the second time in my storied and illustrious state career...I should say for the second time during the second phase of my storied and illustrious state career....I had to take a class on professionalism with 22 of my co-workers. The first time I had this bad boy by the gonads was back in 2007, when I got fed up with an 1199 union member asking me the same question over and over, so I RESPONDED TO HIS E-MAIL IN CAPS AND FINISHED WITH THE TAG LINE "DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR, CRYSTAL OR OTHERWISE?"
Suffice to say that behavior learned in the chat rooms does not necessarily go over well in the business world.
Anywho, the idea behind this latest incarnation (I think) is that we (as in my whole dept.) should treat the people we are in contact with on a daily basis with professionalism, regardless of the fact that it doesn't flow both ways. Are we treated with professionalism by others?
We get dumped on, jumped on, grumped on, thumped on, disrespected, criticized, marginalized, ostracized and cannibalized. And yet we all take this abuse with a grain of salt, a pinch of saltpeter and a glop of cynicism.
I think what bothers me the most about having to take this class is that we have to take this class. Having us take this class, to me, is tantamount to saying that we're not taking all of the excrement that's being shoveled our way with the proper Stepford wife mentality.
Suffice to say no one is happy about going to a training class for seven hours to learn how to suck up to idiots who are incapable of behaving in an intelligent and rational manner.There is no way on God's green hectare that you can make a class on professionalism interesting, especially since people would rather spend the day getting a jump on their work load for the next week then sit around listening to someone lecture them on professionalism.
Anywho, that's how I spent the day before Columbus day at work, listening to three very nice people talk about professionalism in the work place. The usual topics were covered: e-mail etiquette, phone etiquette, people etiquette (aka respect) and an hour lecture on proper attire and fashion.
Yup, you read correctly, I said "fashion". Now for the other two guys that were in the class with me, it was pure hell on earth for them to listen to someone talking about what you can or can't wear in an office setting, a field setting, or even a courtroom setting (gotta remember, my agency is about 85% female to 15% men). As for me, I tried to make the best of a very sleep inducing lecture. Considering that I'm a writer and a blogger in my spare time, I spent that hour approaching the subject from that point of view.
And for about twenty minutes, I was able to pick up some useful tips on clothing and accessories, and I was even able to contribute to the conversation by explaining why I was asking certain questions in the first place (I write my stories with a lot of female characters and I need to make them as accurate as possible with the confines of the story). However, the remaining forty-five minutes were spent doodling and coming up with song titles/t.v. titles that would match up with either what the lecture was all about (Fashion, Sharp Dressed Man), or how I was feeling (Why Me?, Mr. Bill) at the time.
When all was said and done, I came away not with a refreshed purpose of self, but with a feeling of deja vu. By deja vu, I mean that all the warm fuzzies that we got would all disappear in a day, simply because the class never really addressed the underlying issues that are collectively felt by our unit each and every day.
So the question for you the reader is: Ever had to take a mandatory class on something that either really didn't pertain to you or glossed over the underlying issues that caused you to have to take the class in the first place?