I briefly mentioned my new mandatory trainings from Anonymous Software Company. Here’s a bit more information about why once a week I feel like blowing my brains out.

Anonymous Software Company is in a niche market – small and very specialized. There’s a group of business people who put together a certification program for our market. Basically you take a number of tests and if you pass you’re certified for five years. Anonymous Software Company gives a $1,500 bonus to employees who earn this certification while working here, it can be placed on your resume, LinkedIn, tattooed onto your face and you get a pretty certificate.

In a new initiative, the Company wants to certify as many employees as possible so that they can tell prospective clients “XX% of our employees are certified”. My department has been selected as the guinea pigs for this experiment. We all have weekly trainings for the next six months together – those that pass the exams get cash, those that fail get public humiliation. Not only would you fail the test, the class and fail to get the money, but you’d fail our new program. If another wave of layoffs happens early next year, which people do you think they’ll consider first – they may keep people in key jobs but uncertified people may go to the chopping block first.

I’m all for passing, I’m just really concerned about failing. I took a similar class in college, it was a requirement for my major, and I just barely passed. Like, I almost failed. I studied daily, went to office hours and cried. Sobbed. Begged my professor to help me.

“Well, Zoogie2,” my professor said, “how do you study?”

“I have flash cards. When I read the word I say – out loud – everything I can think of associated with that word. Any formulas, definitions, sub categories, associated words and their definitions.” I said, dabbing my eyes with a tissue.

“Yes, you should study that way. That will help you pass my class.” I stared at the professor in disbelief.

“No professor, that’s not my plan on how to study, that’s how I currently study.” His face fell.

“Uhhh…then I have no advice for you.”

My example of why I didn’t understand the class goes like this. The professor taught us that 5 + 5 = 10. This concept I can accept. But it’s completely different to go to the store with $10 and try to buy enough food for dinner. You have to use addition, subtraction, multiplication (for tax) and logic about what you need to make a meal. That’s not covered in this simple equation of 5 + 5 = 10. You’re trying to apply a concept to real life without teaching us how to make that leap.

So I was completely nervous for the first class – as I should have been. My job in this company doesn’t rely on knowing about the niche market at all. What I do is day to day operations and not involved with making our software. Most of the other people in my department are the same. So suddenly throwing us into this class? It’s been a challenge. Added to that is the fact that the certification program is almost exclusively for people in the industry. I mean, who else would want to certify except people who do this every day? So they assume in the learning materials that you know and understand concepts and definitions. So when I study, I have to go look up these concepts and learn them on top of the other material. This is a disaster.