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This is a question Training courses, seminars and conferences

Inspirational or a waste of precious slacking-off time? I once went on a buzzword bingo-laden training course which ended up with my being held at gunpoint in public. Could have gone better, to be honest. Tell us your tales from either side of the lectern

(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:01)
Pages: Popular, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Was on a course last week
we were in an auditorium, about 90 of us. The place was packed. we had been in the session (about fire drills) for about 25 mins, when the door opened and someone walked in (obviously late, panting, clasping a few documents from previous overrunning meeting) everyone is aware of him, stands at the front looking up to find a seat.... walks along the side... notices a seat right in the middle.

"Excuse me" he says to the man on the end of the row to let him past.... everyone is aware of him, he is making lots of noise. People having to stand up to let him past.

"Excuse me....pardon.... sorry...excuse me..." to each person he passes.

working his way clumsily across the row....People with bags are having to gather their things so they can stand up to let him past...

Finally he reaches his seat, takes his coat off, sits down.

And within the same second, the video ends, and everyone gets up and leaves.
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 16:25, 4 replies)
Not me but a former colleague.
As an equal opportunity employer my managment implemented a mandatory course on "Equality And Diversity In The Workplace".
Now, the office that I was working in at the time was due to close so we were seriously short-staffed as people got moved to other postings. By short-staffed I mean that nearly everyone left was working 70 hour weeks as standard, good overtime when you're only rostered for 42 hours a week, but no real time off to enjoy it. The manager was on the forecasting bench full-time too, so he wasn't best pleased when he took a call from HR at our headquarters complaining that none of us had signed up for this course.
HR: "Look, this course is mandatory, but not ONE member of your staff has come forward to sign up for it."
Boss: "That'll be because none of the poor sods is getting more than one day off a week, how do you expect us to fill the roster here AND release staff for a 2 day talking-shop?"
HR: "Well you're going to have to release SOMEONE to do it."
Boss "Well, I suppose there is ONE person that I can release for two days."
That one person was Steph, our Admin girl. Who happens to be black. Who then got the course co-ordinator a bollocking for her racist attitude. The event went something like this:
Course Co-ordinator: "Now then, how would you like to be addressed? do you want me to call you Black British, British Of Afro-Caribean Heritage, British Ethnic, or something else?"
Steph: "I'd like you to call me Steph actually, because that's my name. See, it's even on this stupid nametag that you made me wear. And the only people I've ever heard using the words British Ethnic are those BNP idiots, you're not one of their members are you?"
This was what we were told after she got back a day early, and it earned her a standing ovation and a cake from the sandwich van that lunchtime.
I miss Steph, she was good fun to work with.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 13:21, 7 replies)

Went to an Anger Management workshop. It was going fine until the cunt up the front looked at me funny.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 10:27, Reply)
The professional…

This is quite the coincidence I think - it might be a slightly tenuous link but I think it still applies, even if just for it's timing.

I have only just finished sending this message as a gaz to a fellow B3tard before I even saw what the present QotW was…

(There are only very mild tweaks from the original gaz to protect the innocent)

"You asked for advance warning of the next Pooflake calamity before I posted about it..well, This has just happened to me...

I have just experienced a quite genuinely proper 'twitchy arse moment’ – As usual, I was overstaying my lunch hour at the pub with Todj (Captain Placid, the big gay bear, blew me out again) and I received a text from my boss...

Now, that would've been weird enough (he normally either phones me or emails), but weirder still, he is currently IN GERMANY. Slightly worrying. He asked me: 'Where are you? and what are you doing right now?'

I knew I was rumbled - but I gambled and replied 'I'm in the office, and I'm available...'

He texts back immediately: 'Ok, can you go to my desk and sit in my seat?'

Ohhhhhh fucksocks.

Like the true drinking professional and royal hardnut I am, I promptly shat my pants.

Todj & I collectively decide to abandon our drinks and heroically bollock our way back to work as I desperately attempt to nullify my boss via text.

A couple of minutes pass by...and as I leg it through the doors of the building I respond again: 'Ok, I'm there, what now?'

He replies: 'Well I can't see you on the webcam?'

Oooh buggery fuckflaps I hadn't got there yet...erm…

‘Just be one more min' I text back, now in a seriously massive flappy panic.

His first reply: '???'

His second: ‘I want to introduce you to the CEO and higher board'


Jesus-fucking-H-bastard-cunting-christ-on-a-hoverboard!! 12 seconds later, there I was, plopped into his chair, slightly squiffy, red-faced, out of breath, the spillage involved in my last hurried attempts to quaff my cider still dripping from my tie, catastrophically late, and now waving like a particularly deranged mongoloid to a blank screen whilst my image was being projected 30 foot high in a conference hall in Stuttgart as part of my (now slightly embarrassed) Boss's presentation to my bosses' bosses' bosses' bosses' bosses.

Crikey, I am a massive twat. Well, you asked and there you have it. I haven't even written the bugger yet as a post...that's exactly how it happened.

I want to go back to the pub now".
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:50, 10 replies)
My Cat
Years ago I was a recluse,

not trusting of others

basically an introvert...

I like apeloverage story,

Mine took 17 years:

I was about 13 years old, I just came from my friends place for the weekend, it was a Sunday morning, it was also my sister's 21st that day...
When I arrived at my home (21st January 1994), I was immediatly acousted by my sister and my mother, to see what was in my sister's room...
And there she was, Lucretia... or Lucy... or simply "Kitty Kat"...
A Bi-Colour Kitten who was about 6 weeks old, and she stared straight into my eyes and gave (she had a distinct meow) her greeting, "grrrROW?".

My sister got it as a 21st present from her boyfriend. We never had pets in the family, my father hated animals (but he hypocritically like watch nature and animal shows on TV), but she was part of our family!

when she was growing up, she use go through the bushes in the garden and climb the branches on the trees, I was always watching her, teaching her other places to climb around... used to call her "Adventure Cat!" when she was on these missions.

One day she was able to climb from the outside into the bedroom window, much to the suprise of my sister, she liked the cat, but never really paid attention to her, the cat however noticed that I paid attention, and always gave the response,"GrrrRow!" (I did it!)

My sister left for London when she was not even over a year old... she still says it was her cat, but Kitty Kat decided otherwise!

I taught her to be wary of cars, and she learnt very well... to the point of daring: When the car was at a certain distance, she shot across the road right in front of the car going at 35mph... got to admit, she had balls!

The thing she like most of all was boxes...
If you put and empty box on the ground in front of her, she would jump inside... and she would attack you if you tried to get her out!
btw. I taught her how to attack, it involved a string at first, then a yo-yo, then a golf club (she really enjoyed this activity!)

She was bullied by other cats when she was young, but as she got older, she turned hardcore and started to fight and maul other cats, lots of complaints from the neighbours... haha! screw them!

The most unique thing about my cat, she learnt to talk to me:

BrrrMeow! : Hello
Meow Meow : Food!
Brrrr(soft): Excuse me?
Brrrr(Loud): Piss off! (she usually gave a nasty look too!)
Grrr! : I Like that!
Mmmm(quiet): Are you looking at me?

Two years ago she got arthritus... soon she could not even jump over 1 foot. Still I cared for her, made a makeshift staircase of potplants outside my bedroom window so she could climb up to visit me, climb down when she needed the toilet. Because of her arthritus, She really suffered when she need to do "nature's call"... Still disturbed by her cries of pain...

The last sad part is when I had to put her down, she knew what was going to happen to her... she was absolutely silent... she knew (and most likely thankful) what was going to happen... gave her one last hug... then the injection... gave one last Grrr...
All I remember afterwards is my mom catching me, pissed as hell,in the garden cleaning her litter tray and putting food in her bowl...

As I said, I was a reccluse, anit-social, shy, scared, basically an introvert... but I grew up with my cat...
Best Training Course in my life
(, Wed 21 Mar 2012, 23:36, 14 replies)
The time I got dragged out and shot on a training course
I work in a business where they sometimes send you to nasty places. I've been to some nasty places, and came back with a bump on the head and a tale of (now pleasingly dead) Congolese militias that would allow me to dine out for years. To this end, my employers sent anyone who was going to visit a hazardous environment to the Hazardous Environments Course, in which you are sent to a large country estate for a week, and taught how to avoid getting killed TO DEATH by former members of Her Majesty's Special Forces.

We were taught first aid, map reading, how to avoid getting killed TO DEATH (Essentially: Don't be there in the first place; or if you are there, run away), and what happens when things get blown up. They demonstrated what happens when things get blown up an awful lot, mostly by gleefully blowing things up.

On the last day, the course climaxed with a field exercise, where we would pose as hapless field journalists and run around a field in Hampshire, trying not to get killed by bands of heavily-armed Special Forces posing as bandits.

So, there were were minutes later, captured by a band of heavily-armed Special Forces posing as bandits. I found myself kneeling, hands behind my head, as a man with a sub-Aleksandr Orlov accent pointed an AK47 at my vitals. It was at that exact moment that the 0945 Virgin Crosscountry train from Reading to Bournemouth should come to a halt at the red signal not twenty yards away.

A man in first class looked up from his Daily Telegraph. We made eye contact. He looked away. The police did not come.

Then we were dragged out and shot.

Best training course ever.

Full 12-inch version of this tale of mirth and woe HERE
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:35, 12 replies)
Rumbled by our Ginger Fuhrer

Hi Rob

On Wednesday lunchtime I paid £20 towards B3ta, but 48 hours later it occurred to me, belatedly, that you would have no way of knowing that...

The payment was from XXXXXXX and my user name is scarpe. Anything you need me to do to get an icon so people stop telling me to...well..get an icon...




done! thanks for the cash - much appreciated - we'll throw a few more kittens on the server bonfire



That was quick.




I'm more amused to get your autoreply saying "I'm now in training" when you're obviously pissing around playing on the internet


(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:07, 4 replies)
The most enjoyable
was an underwater demolitions course. Glorious summer days thrashing around the Devon coast in fast boats blowing stuff up.

On one of the final assessments, a few seconds after the bang, a couple of divers popped up clutching their heads and shouting. Judging from the number of mon Dieus they where French. But Gallic retardation was no excuse for diving with no marker buoy in a restricted area in a harbour.

The instructor was furious with me. "You get a once in a life time opportunity to legally kill a couple of Frenchies and you fucked it up"
(, Mon 19 Mar 2012, 6:59, 7 replies)
This comes via by brother.
My brother is, as I've mentioned before, in the RAF. Part of his initial training covered what to expect and do if he ever happened to be shot down and captured. (The short answer is this: nuts to the name, rank and number lark - it'll just get you tortured. Tell them everything you know. You aren't told anything more than you absolutely need, and all the plans will change as soon as anyone notices you've not come back, so it really doesn't matter what you say. And you stand a fighting chance of keeping your fingernails.)

One of the exercises involved being held in a stress position for as long as is allowed by the law: not all that long in comparison with what Doctor Evil might do, but plenty long enough if it's happening to you. Trainees were told to try to come up with some mental exercise that would keep their mind off how long they'd been in the position, and how uncomfortable it was.

All kinds of strategies were adopted. One person mentally designed his dream house including calculating exactly how many bricks it'd take.

At the debrief, my brother was asked what he'd done.
"I counted," he said. "I started at one, and just kept going."
"Christ, Flight Officer Enzyme'sbrother," replied the tutor. "You're the most boring bastard we've ever had on this course."
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 14:45, 3 replies)
Assertiveness Courses
It's easy to decide who should attend.
Tell everyone they're going.
Those who object don't need to.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 10:09, Reply)
Jacuzzi fun
One of my first ever corporate jollies was at the Spider's Web Hotel somewhere near Watford in about 1990. I was a recently failed college non-graduate in the throes of failing as a commission-only insurance salesman for a cowboy outfit (long defunct) called General Portfolio. It was some kind of sales conference thingy - lots of by-the-numbers sales spiel and supposedly motivational guff like Ask Closing Questions, Always Be Closing, and so on.

I hated it, mostly because I was shit at it, in turn because I had the remnants of a conscience about flogging unsuitable policies to people who didn't really need them, but that's by-the-by.

The thing was, after a hard days' trying not to doze off, we were all given a slap-up feed and left to our own devices. Most of us were young - early 20s - so we were pretty uniformly keen on getting pissed and leching at the few women on the course (several of whom were pretty fit).

There was a gym/sauna type of thing at the hotel, which four of five of us were in, mainly because two of the foxiest women the late-Thatcherite insurance industry had to offer were also there. Our clumsy efforts (ok, my clumsy efforts) to chat them up included following them into a big communal jacuzzi, my first time in such a contraption.

It was a big circular thing, with room for about 8 people. One of the two women was clearly a bit pissed off by the attention of five cock-driven spotty herberts, but the other seemed to be enjoying it (more likely, she enjoyed the power of winding us up). So she was doing lots of stretching and back-arching to show off her impressive decolletage. This was even more impressive in t'jacuzzi, as her swimsuit became somewhat translucent. I hadn't had any since I dropped out of uni, so my old chap decided he wanted to have a look too, which just made me lean right forward.

This positioned my school-bathers-clad chocolate starfish directly over one of the water jets, which made matters worse from a stimulatory perspective, but I had few options to move as the jacuzzi was full, so I just stayed there hunched forward trying desperately to think of unpleasant mental images so I'd lose my erection and could get out and change without frightening passers-by with it. (Ok, without becoming a laughing stock.)

Once the girls got bored of their teasing, they left, followed shortly after by my mates, and were replaced by some fat Hertfordshire businessmen. Astonishingly enough, this resulted in the decrease in stimulation required and I, too, was able to get to the changing rooms.

After a few moments, though, I felt the urgent nudging of the turtle's head and dashed off to the lav. Sitting down, I proceeded to jet at least half a gallon of rust-coloured chlorinated jacuzzi water into the pan like I had a fire hydrant somewhere in my lower intestine that had just been switched on.

Yes, I gave myself a prodigious enema in public in a hotel in Watford. I'm not proud. At least not at the time. I was relieved, though, that the girls had got bored when they did - another five minutes, and all eight of us would have been sitting in my diluted bowel-washings.

Given that GP was one of the worst companies for pensions mis-selling, that's probably all we deserved...
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 16:25, Reply)
Ran a seminar with a fantastic bunch of people engaged in scientific research, and they were discussing international teamwork.

Swiss lady: "Your team works really well doesn't it, even though it's a mix of Italians and Germans?"

Italian chap: "I'm not sure it's always a good thing when Italians and Germans work well together"

I had to laugh out loud... Possibly unprofessionally.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:09, 1 reply)
Dress Code
Some time ago a colleague told me that he was once sent on a course at work. The difference with this one was that the new style of 'Management Speak' bollocks had just been introduced and this meant that this was not a course but a 'Workshop.'

The Tutor therefore asked him on the first day why he was sitting there in a boiler suit, when everyone else was formally dressed. His reply was - I wasn't wanting to get my good suit messed up in some dirty workshop.

The course was about 'Changes to accountancy procedures' so he thought that his stance on his manner of dress was a pisstake towards management with their new style of terminology.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 9:58, 2 replies)
Arboreal Ants of the Peruvian Highlands
Back when I was the 'Director of Biomedical Engineering' I had to teach a safety class called "Electrical Safety in Hospitals". I had about 15 minutes of information to share, and half-an-hour to kill, so I used to try and spin up each class before getting into the subject at hand; thusly:

"Ok, today we're here to learn about the Arboreal Ants of the Peruvian Highlands. Anybody here ever been to Peru? Any Myrmocologists? No? That's Ok. We're going to be covering 3 different species of arboreal ants, the leaf-cutter, the aphid-farming, and the bird-eating sub-genuses of the common army ant."

At this point people would begin looking around, wondering if they were in the wrong class. They might be remembering my 10-minute spiel from last year about blue being the next big color for roadside lemonade stands, or the year before's lecture on zebra mussel invasion of the Great Lakes. Some of them looked like they wanted to say something, but invariably NO ONE questioned my authority or the topic.

"Identified mainly by the distance between antennae stubs, the various types of arboreal ants will generally stake out a single tree as their terrritory. It goes to the diversity of these wet steppes that the ants are able to surfive wit hthis limit on travel."

Eventually I'd wind down, and ask the m "How long do you want me to go on about ants? Because we're here to talk about Electrical Safety in Hospitals".
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 18:03, 6 replies)
Twitter feeds at conferences.
I'm not on Twitter, but I do like registering a Twitter account if I'm at a conference with a hashtag and a live Twitter feed. The game is "Can you get people in the room tweeting about something unrelated, on this hashtag?".

I successfully managed to hijack the Twitter feed at a social media conference/awards night into people talking about owls.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 15:13, 8 replies)
Leadership and Penis
During my time serving in the RAF, I was selected from a cast of several to attend a leadership course. This appeared to consist of a series of retarded team-building exercises. One of these exercises involved a large amount of small foam cylinders and an empty floor. The idea was that these cylinders would be placed on the floor in a random pattern and each person would attempt to guide their blindfolded team-mate through the foam minefield. Because obviously matters of national security require the same leadership qualities as an episode of the Crystal Maze.

The instructor, a naturally boring man with a small, untidy moustache and a savage overbite, decided that it would be a good idea to leave his students in charge of placing these cylinders in a fiendishly complicated pattern on the floor while he nipped downstairs for a coffee. He exited the room, along with the people who were to be blindfolded (obviously so they couldn't instantly memorise whatever intricate configuration we came up with). As soon as he left the room, I put my leadership skills to work in organising these cylinders. I outlined my proposal for the pattern, considered advice from my fellow planners, and set my team to work.

After around five minutes or so, the instructor re-entered the room. He could only applaud as he was faced with six giggling adults and a crudely drawn foam penis, complete with scrotum, spanning the entire length of the particularly large classroom.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 1:51, 4 replies)
Nutter by proxy
Having worked in the alternative energy sector for 10 years I have been privileged to meet a whole rainbow of charlatans and whack jobs.

At a conference in San Francisco hosted by one of the USA's national laboratories where start up companies with renewable energy based business plans pitched their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists to compete for funding. It was essentially like a Dragon's Den type affair, except the venture capitalists were very polite and actually gave words of encouragement to some of the most ill-conceived business plans and technologies I've ever seen.

Myself and two colleagues got invited to a 70 year old philanthropist's hotel room to witness the ground breaking technology a physicist had brought to him. He thought we might be the very guys he was looking for to take it from a protoype to the earth shattering energy revolution it would undoubtedly become.

He unpacked it. Plugged it in. Air crackled. The smell of ozone was getting stronger as the air became ionised. We stepped back as he flung his arms enthusiastically around bare wires carrying some terrifying voltages.

To the untrained eye it might have looked like a large plastic vitamin jar lined with sticky backed aluminium tape, on a spindle in a perspex bracket, with a bent copper rail hovering over it. With the force of 10,000V from the stepper circuit attached to its jacksie it begin to rotate.

According to the inventor on the phone what we were actually witnessing was in fact a rotating gravitational wave and the solution to all our energy needs.

After switching of the lights and seeing the voltage breakdown through the perspex we informed him what in fact he had created was a DC motor. A really shit DC motor.

Two things made me thankful that day. 1) the rabid physicist had hung up after a passionate speech about how people like me needed to open our minds to over-unity devices (perpetual motion machines) and zero point energy (star trek). 2) The old guy still had all his clothes on when we turned the lights back on.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 17:14, 13 replies)
PEAROAST. But more appropriate to this question than the one I originally wheeled it out for.
A good friend of mine used to work for a high street bank, which meant that, every so often, they'd put a sign in the door which read "Branch closed for Staff Training," and take their employees into one of the meeting rooms to regurgitate marketing platitudes and corporate horse-shit at them for anywhere up to eight hours.

On one such day, the management-type running the training session introduced himself and began by encouraging dialogue between the trainees and their trainer.
"If there's anything you don't understand," he told them, "please don't hesitate to ask. Remember: there's no such thing as a stupid question."

What he should have realised is that saying "there's no such thing as a stupid question" to someone with a slightly mischevious sense of humour has an effect analogous to waving a crimson handkerchief at a male bovine. My friend is just one such person and immediately found himself having to suppress a swelling urge to fling his hand in the air and demand to know what colour the sky was, whether it was possible to buy stripy paint or elbow grease or whether Prince Harry was really Prince Charles' son.

And so the session trotted on, producing the aforementioned corporate horse-shit at the same sort of pace that horses achieve whereby they can walk and defecate at the same time. Some of the employees lapped it up, others fell asleep. My friend grew increasingly bored. Between each section of the course, the manager would ask whether there were any questions. When he, predictably, got little to no response, he reiterated the schoolteacher's adage,
"There's no such thing as a stupid question."

Later in the day, one section of the course did actually prompt a question. My friend spotted something which, he felt, should have been quite elementary, but seemed a little confusing. At an appropriate pause in the proceedings, he raised his hand.
"Ok, this might be a daft question, but --," and he was swiftly interrupted
"Now now, remember, there's no such thing as a stupid question."

At this point, he decided he had restrained himself long enough, deferred his original question and rose to the challenge:
"Are these my trousers?"

The manager had to concede that actually, yes, that was a stupid question.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 11:12, 3 replies)
I was on "diversity training" as part of the preamble for a job with Arriva Trains
The bloke made it clear that he couldn't abide any sort of diversity-unfriendly behaviour. He explained that one of his children had some sort of mental deficiency (possibly a spaz or maybe a mong, I forget the details).

Anyway, we then had to come up with as many derogatory words for spackers as we could think of. Wanting to be seen to take part, I volunteered a couple of minor slurs, but held back somewhat.

I think it was the trainer who then told us about one term he'd heard, one that made him utterly incandescent with vicarious spaz-rage. It was, he told us whilst getting visibly irate, “window-licker”.

I'm not sure how I managed to keep a straight face.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 21:08, 8 replies)
We had an in-house training course on ASP.NET
It was ok.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 16:15, 12 replies)
Deaf awareness course.
For some reason, I was sent on a day long deaf awareness course. The chap running the course was both completely deaf and very, very hot.I am very, very nervous around hot men and so started rambling about various crap at him, including how naff my Black Country accent is...

His translator kindly pointed out that as he had been born deaf he had never heard a Black Country accent. Or indeed any accent.

I burst in to flames.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 23:34, 15 replies)
"I can, and I will."
Or, the tale of an inspirational seminar (of sorts) and the man who gave it.

Some teachers are good at their job to the point that it shows. Whatever the foul, odious little turds they have to teach might think of them personally, said turds have to concede that they're good at their job. This is true both of the ones who relate well to their students and are popular, and those who are loathed and feared - as long as they deliver the material well, you can't criticise their ability to teach.

I had an old headmaster was one of these. It was hard to tell whether the students liked him or loathed him on the whole, but it was generally recognised that he was effective. Had I been a bit older and more cynical, however, I probably would have noticed the whiff of management training about him - once a week we'd the lot of us would be shepherded into the school's largest hall, where he'd talk at us for half an hour or so in an attempt to motivate us. One such lecture that stuck in my mind was the one on positive attitude.
"You achieve nothing," he told us, "by being defeatist. Time and again, I ask pupils why they're not achieving their full potential, and they tell me, 'I can't do it.'

"This attitude will get you nowhere. It shouldn't be 'I can't, so I won't,' it should be 'I can, and I will.'"

There it was. "I can, and I will" became his little mantra for positive attitude and self-motivation. I wouldn't have dared admit it to any my classmates at the time, but it even stuck with me - I have caught myself thinking it when struggling on with stuff.

A few years later, he left rather abruptly. This came as a shock, and the whole school took a turn for the worse, as the people who tried to replace him struggled to measure up to the job. To be fair, it wasn't for want of trying: it can be difficult to fill someone else's boots like that when they're that big a pair of boots.

Eventually, we found out why he'd left so suddenly. Turns out he'd caught with his hand in the till and his dick in one of the secretaries*. It was a shame that someone that well respected should have left under such a cloud, but then I guess he was true to his word: he could, so he did...

*Not literally. I can imagine that being quite a tricky position to maintain.
(, Sat 17 Mar 2012, 12:32, 2 replies)
Mrs Airman Gabber is a Training consultant.
One time she went to train a Potato farmer in how to use her companys computer system. After a successful training session the farmer asked whether my wife liked potatoes.

"Err yes?"

"Great. I'll get one of the lads to bring you some"

Expecting to be presented with a small bag of potatoes as she walked back to the car my Mrs was bemused as some burly farmhand rocked up dragging one of the biggest sacks of spuds she'd ever seen and filled up the back of her car. Took two of us to get the damned thing out of her boot when she got home.

Took us months to eat those bastards, even after giving a everyone in the company I work for a free bag. The remaining ones ended up sprouting.

The Jacuzzi manufacturer she saw the week after never offered anything similar, the miserable bastard.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 15:00, 5 replies)
I once had to make a presentation
To a venture capital firm with intention of getting money to expand to new premises. At least that's what we told them, in reality we were well behind on the lease for our existing office and badly needed their money to avoid going bankrupt. Obviously we couldn't tell the truth so the boss and I had concocted a thoroughly-fictitious but (or so we thought) entirely convincing business plan for the new premises.

Half an hour into the meeting and one of the panel (think Duncan Bannatyne with a hangover) was really starting to pull our figures apart, and we could see that the whole panel was starting to get suspicious. We were getting increasingly worried and probably sweating quite visibly. The cash flow charts were being analysed in the minutest detail, and it got to the point that my boss made an excuse about needing to check some figures that he'd left in the car. So we managed to get out of the meeting and tried frantically to come up with some bullshit that would cover us. It soon became clear that we were in over our heads and that continuing the meeting would be catastrophic.

We were both in a blind panic out in the car park when I suggested that we fake a medical emergency. This would, we hoped, allow us to leave the meeting and buy us some time to rejig the figures. It was either that or my boss would lose his business and I would lose my job.

So we racked our brains for what medical problem we could fake, and my boss told me that once a family member had suffered a brain aneurysm that had caused blood and white brain matter to leak from the victim's ear. It was extreme, but we were desperate.

Obviously I would have to play the “victim”, as the boss being taken ill would have been commercial suicide. Unfortunately I have a phobia of blood so I wasn't about to cut myself. We decided that just white brain matter should be convincing enough.

So this is how I ended up in the toilets, frantically taking Captain Picard to warp speed in order to get some convincing white fluid as my boss went back into the meeting saying that I seemed unwell.

With the man-spaff applied and glooping down my face, I stumbled back into the meeting doing my best impression of a new-born horse.

And that was my semen ear and con-for-rents.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 9:17, 3 replies)
Our group seminar speech on paradigms, as freshers:
Went like this:

"Hello. I'm L and this is V. And we're going to be talking to you about paradigms. Actually, I don't really know that much about it. But I do know a lot about cake..." *produces cake* "Now, paradigmatic analysis involves breaking down the whole thing into many parts. Like so." *cuts cake*

..."Now, would you like to hear the rest, or have some delicious cake? Yeah, that's what we figured. Thank you for listening!" *hands out cake and sits down*
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 23:33, 3 replies)
Years ago, I took a computer based confidence building course.
Among many design flaws, the one that stood out was when I got to the end and got the message 'You have failed to achieve the required score to pass this course'.

Who the fuck designs a confidence building course based on a pass/fail test?
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 17:18, 4 replies)
I have been on far too many courses in my working life.
It's almost compulsory to play 'Buzzword bingo' to alleviate the boredom. However, some colleagues and I have often played a game called 'Personal space invaders'. When you're on a course or at a seminar with staff from other organisations and there's the obligatory 'socialising/getting to know your fellow attendees' bollocks try this.
A specific target or goal (doorway, particular table/piece of carpet/whatever) is agreed upon by the players. Each player must pick a fellow attendee to use as a 'puck'. You then engage your 'puck' in conversation whist subtly invading their personal space in order for them to be manouvered into the 'goal'.
This is harder than it sounds as some people will find an excuse to leave the conversation as they are feeling uncomfortable (due to the 'invasion') some won't go where you want them to etc etc. The real skill is to keep up a conversation with someone who is slightly uncomfortable. Once the goal is reached the winning player must leap into the air yelling 'GOOOOOALL', pull their sweater/shirt over their face and run around waving his/her arms about in a Brazilian commentator styleee.
The most difficult 'pucks' in my experience have been women* (they think you're coming on to them) and gay men (same again).
Like I said - I've been on too many courses to take any of them seriously.

*However I have 'ahem' been propositioned by more than one lady due to this game,
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 18:05, 4 replies)
We don't value experience anymore...
My dad having worked in horticulture for well over 45 years retired this year. When discussing what he could do in his old age, I suggested he contact the local college and offer his services (for free) to see if he could help teach the youngsters something.

After speaking to someone he knew at the college (who sympathised with him) he found that he'd need to do shed loads of training and get a whole raft of certificates before they'd let him near a student. To add insult to injury his expertise in his subject would have to be assessed by someone who was barely old enough to vote.

No wonder we're slowly getting more crap at everything, when people with a wealth of knowledge aren't allowed to go anywhere to pass that on....

It's not funny and slighty OT, I'm not sorry.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 20:01, 7 replies)
I could have been on the telly, you know.
A few years ago I had to attend a two day training course in Bristol, something to do with learning how to use the new projects database, if I recall correctly. The company put me and a couple of colleagues up in a hotel next to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and, on arrival, we checked into our respective rooms and agreed to meet in the lobby at a specified time.

I was first to arrive, and noticed that there was a large contingent of young people milling around the place, each proudly displaying a number pinned to their clothing. They kept going in and coming out of one of the function rooms. After about five minutes, some young bloke with a clipboard wandered up to me and asked "Excuse me, are you here for the Big Brother auditions?"

This is a question that is not easily anticipated; when someone approaches you with a clipboard you tend to think 'customer research person' or 'trying to sell me something person' or 'health and safety twat.' Not to be asked if you're wanting to try and get on the telly and bring shame to yourself, your family and anyone you've ever bought a pint for by acting in a ludicrously accentuated manner in order to get offered panto for a couple of years before dying an excruciating career death in full view of the tabloids. Or even an actual death, come to that, complete with Princess Di style hysteria and several thousand Facebook tribute pages that you'll never ever actually see.

The slightly off-guard bemused expression I was evidently wearing caused clip board guy to prompt me with "You know, Big Brother, off the telly," to which I replied "Yeah, I know what it is, but no, I'm not here to audition. I'm just waiting for some colleagues and then we're going to dinner."


"Oh. Oh well, do you want to audition anyway?"

Fame. Fortune. Glamour. Ruthless tabloid exposure. None of these things entered my head as I responded with a firm but polite "No. Thank you, but no. I'd rather not."

And that's how I didn't get my cock out on national TV.
(, Tue 20 Mar 2012, 23:49, 1 reply)
First Aid.
I did a one afternoon first aid course, as part of an Off Shore Survival certificate. The medic training us, ex military, brought in the Resussi-Ann doll, one of those shop dummy type things you can practice CPR on. He ardered one guy to waltz with it, and one guy to bend it over the desk, and doggy it. The two guys, bemused did as they were told.
He then explained that if he had to leave the room, he could guarantee that at least one of these activities would take place, so we may as well get it out of our systems.
The whole course was fun, we got to play with burning petrol, go in a cool lifeboat, evacuate a mocked up rig by jumping from a fair height and evacuate a mocked up helicopter. Also to go on the piss with a bunch of psycho ex-marines. Excellent week.
(, Sun 18 Mar 2012, 11:47, Reply)

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