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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.

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)
Fire Safety Training
Had to sit through a whole fucking day of some overpaid ex fireman telling us (working in a super clean creative office) how we shouldn't leave big piles of cardboard 'stacked up' and we should look for the exits 'any time we walk into a room'.

The highlight was him telling us that he was going to 'put us in a burning building to see how we'd cope!!11'. This was a (real) video of a band playing in a club and some shitty pyrotechnics setting the place on fire.

Us: Through the fire exits you could see in the video"
Him ".....No, not the way you came IN like EVERYONE does, but THROUGH THE FIRE EXITS!!"
Us: "Can we go back to work on the catalogue which desperately needs to go to the printers this evening please?"
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 10:58, 3 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)
Primary school 'Outwards bounds training'
Pitched at our parents as some team building and character development excersise it was clearly some cunning plan for the teachers to get a few days away from their spouses and get up to some extra curricular shennanigans. We were just their alibi.

This was back in the day before health and safety or any teacher fear of being sued so they pretty much let our 10+11 year old asses get up to whatever we wanted. They didn't even bat an eyelid when a group of us returned from a local fishing shop armed with Black widow catapults & hunting knives and proceeded to stab, carve and shoot anything that didn't move.

One memorable prank was that one of our group had brought his fishing rod with him and noticing some trainers being left out to dry on the window ledge of one of the lower stories of the hotel decided to use to fishing rod to steal them. This resulted in one very distressed 11 year old who's lovely new trainers had gone missing, with no alternatives and no clue as to how the hell they had gone missing. I *think* we may have finally owned up after watching him forlornly padding around in his bare feet at the evening meal.

The weirdest thing was one evening there was a terrified shriek from one of the rooms down the corridor. As we all rushed to see what was going on there were 3 girls all white as a sheet insistent that there had been some man staring in through the window at them. Particularly weird as we were all on the 6th storey. Even at the tender age of 10 we still took the opportunity to 'comfort' the poor distressed things until they had calmed down. Still freaks me out to think what they actually saw though.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 10:18, Reply)
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)
I'm on a 'training course' today
two and half hours to learn how to correctly use a ladder, which includes a knee high step ladder. Utter bullshit. The only thing i'm likely going to do is admire the bloke who is probably charging about a hundred pounds an hour running it, for completely wasting my time
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 9:42, 16 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)
One of my Dad's rare croissant moments
My Dad is pretty much a teddy bear in his family life, and as he gets closer to retirement he is looking ever-increasingly like Santa Claus, but he does tell the odd tale about his working life that reveals a different side of him.

Back in the...probably early nineties, he was sent on a training course run by some young and dynamic consultants freshly graduated from the School of Shiny Wankery, who were very in-your-face and fake-cheerful in the manner that was subsequently to be adopted by chuggers, and were laid on at great expense by the company.

The theme of the training course was "how can we improve [some internal process here]?", and the girl giving the training for my Dad's group started off by asking "So, does anyone have any ideas on how we can improve this process?". My Dad replied "Yes; my fees are £750 a day."
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 9:16, Reply)
She played her part.
I used to work as a carer, working with people who had intellectual disabilities. Often some of our clients could be aggressive, violent & abusive.

To deal with that we had to take part in a "defence strategy course" once a year called P.A.R.T. - Professional Assault Response Training.

The instructors for this course were my coordinator and manager. She was an absolute bitch and he was a wanker.
They emphasised that they would be role-playing to highlight situations and how we might deal with them, and that they would be making it as real as possible to show the scenarios as accurately as possible.

We finished early on the 2nd day because my coordinator broke my managers thumb whilst they were showing us a grabbing/grappling situation and how to evade or avoid it.

We ALL signed his "Get Well" card & I made sure I congratulated her on her "acting skills"
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 8:17, Reply)
Wellington, 2008 ...
Cartooning for Peace, a hugely pointless and self-important UN-affiliated group decided to have its conference in NZ. Almost all that Mudskipper can remember is the food: Swiss Embassy buffet: Delicious. French Embassy buffet: Unreal. Final banquet at national museum with Austrian chef and imported unpasteurised cheeses: Beyond description.
Also got to display our most filthy and unpublishable cartoons on overhead projectors for the benefit of the diners. Belgian Nick Vadot did one of a man attempting to receive oral sex from a hippopotamus.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 2:10, 12 replies)
I work in research and development for a large UK-based cosmetics/toiletries manufacturer.
To make up our formulas, we buy chemicals from assorted suppliers. Sometimes, these suppliers' sales staff like to visit and talk about how wonderful some of their particular products are in a bid to try and get us buying from their promoted range; not so long ago, one particular supplier had many products to present and a number of them had applications beyond cosmetics and toiletries, so members of several R&D teams were gathered together for a group-wide presentation at one of our central sites. Since the site I work at normally sends two people to such events and one of the usual attendees was off on long term sick leave, I stood in for them.

The presentation itself was nothing out of the ordinary. What made it worthwhile in my mind was the opportunity to meet from other sites, in particular a specialist I knew by name and had briefly spoken to on the phone many moons ago but had never before met in person. I certainly had no idea she was about the same age as me and quite as bonny a lass as she turned out to be.

On several separate occasions, she made clear, direct eye contact and held it for several seconds, sometimes even looking over the shoulder of the person she was talking to to do so. This made me take an interest because, well, stuff like that doesn't happen every day. Once I got talking to her, I found out she was not only attractive but (apparently) compassionate, funny and intelligent too. Somehow I managed to stay coherent and fairly suave, but my face felt like it could have served as a busy restaurant's hot plate.

The presentation was over by 1.30, and I returned to site for a few hours of work on that unusually sunny Friday afternoon. When I got home, I found that the memory of her wide expressive eyes, perfect cheekbones and sweet smiling mouth had lingered and imprinted itself into my unconscious mind and was now going round and round and round it like a stuck record. Before I knew what was happening, I had regressed from my usual cynical-old-bastard self into the love-stricken youth I never was.

Yeah I know, gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy etc. There's no conclusion or punchline to this story by the way, I'll go back to spouting senseless bab tomorrow.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 2:09, 17 replies)
The job seekers training fortnight
Well I was unemployed and was forced into this 'we'll ruin your life for two weeks in a sterile environment course' with 15 other people.- Highlights of the event include being told how to wash and cook, how to canoe down a subzero temperature Welsh creek* and how to type a letter and send it to four completely random businesses in the yellow pages (amongst other things).
Please bare in mind this was in sunny Runcorn upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c2/Runcorn_Bridges.jpg
(for those not in the know, Runcorn was a shelved social experiment that split the housing situation in post-industrial Liverpool)and in a very cold autumn.

Anyhoo, to spur us on at the very end of the fortnight - the demotivational speaker encouraged us to 'think for ourselves' by bringing forth a challenging dialogue between the jobless and the government funded department. The staff were brought into the room (all three of them) and we were then requested to talk about anything 'edgy' - and he mentioned previous talks included 9/11 , domestic violence and such.

The final vote ended up on the subject of cannabis and it's legality. To cut a long and dismal story short, the dialogue went like this:

Demotivator (DM) - 'Well cannabis is a drug, this means it's illegal and bad. If you made it legal then everyone would be turning up to work stoned, this is against company policy and bad, I'm assuming this is why many of you are going to defend this - any questions'

Random guy ' Yeah but wouldn't it cut crime?'

DM: Well yes and no. It would be against company policy, you can't turn up for work stoned'

A different guy: ' Bob Marley was stoned'

DM: 'Yes but Bob Marley was a musician it's different'

Same guy: 'Yes but I'm a musician'

DM: 'But it's against company policy'

Same guy: 'I'm unemployed'

(Then I piped up) Me: 'It's against company policy to be drunk whilst at work, are you drunk?'

DM: 'No'

Me: 'So you can acknowledge the fact that there's a certain notion of self control involved between private life and work life?'

Dm: 'Well..Yes'

Me: 'Well... Why can't the same apply for cannabis? If it's fine for creative people, then why not let everyone use it'

Dm: 'Because it's against company policy'


By this point the conversation died in jeering and laughter and voices, nobody took the guy seriously anymore, the staff were anxious about the turn of events and the DM guy told us we could all go home and absolutely nothing about that course made any real sense.

What waste of frigging time. But still I accidently got paid for my dinners twice, so it wasn't all doom and gloom.

* Yeah canoeing in Wales in a very cold autumn, They originally wanted to take us climbing, but everything was frozen, and I assume the whole point of this exercise was to kill off a few of the unemployed.

Edit: I'm drunk, this probably doesn't make much sense.
(, Fri 16 Mar 2012, 2:03, 4 replies)
He didn't walk home....I expect.
Many years ago I was on a two week training course in London. One of the other contestants was a chinese gent who'd been flown over by his company especially to take the course.

At the end of the first day he asked the lecturer where he could find women. After some persistence on his part it was eventually gleaned that he was after intimate female company. So he was directed to the nearest phone box and instructed to examine the cards he would find there.

By the end of the first week of the course, he was limping in with a hollow look in his eyes. At the start of the second week after a whole weekend to amuse himself in, he was starting to look seriously ill. He never made it in for the last day of the course and I never saw him again......I hope he died happy.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 23:39, 1 reply)
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)
Big budget
A friend worked in events management. She got a new job heading up that particular department in an investment bank - just in time to organise the celebtration of their latest deal. One department had advised some multinational on a very big transaction and had received a whopping fee.

She was told to organise a long weekend for the whole department (dozens of people; precise numbers I dont know). What was the budget you ask? Bear in mind this was a few years before their was any suggestion of belt tightening?
Was it £20,000? £100,000 No.

The budget for this long weekend bender was £10million.

That is all.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 22:25, 1 reply)
I remember...
...when this forum used to be populated by erudite wit.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 22:08, 9 replies)
A few years ago we were making a film in the west of Ireland, and there was a scene that was more or less a send up of Black Beauty.
We were transporting the horse by rail, but when we collected it at Heuston Station we realised it was a pale brown colour, so on the way to Galway we stained it a darker tone.
That was my train ink horse and so forth.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 22:08, 2 replies)
I once advertised and taught a course to my professional peers called "Trends In Time Series" Not only did it have a superb acronym it featured a slide with the geometric mean of two beards.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 21:39, 7 replies)
Anti Drugs Play
Suppose this sort of counts.For an open night at school they had a room for each subject and unfortunately me and my
friends had been roped into talking about what we learn in the PSE class(Personal & Social Education)and doing a little anti drugs play as well.

I was the kid who got beaten up for not accepting drugs from my friend who was playing the dealer. I think we misled a few potential first years into
believing that secondary school drug dealers just ram tic tacs down your throat while your mate stands there aggressively shouting:
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 21:38, 2 replies)
Roasted Peas in a 'fucked if I can think of anything so have this from the moronic colleague QOTW' jus.....
A colleague of mine was sent to attend a conference about some new cancer drug trial...
We asked him who the Keynote speaker was and he replied 'Some African guy'. It turns out that he had read the name 'John Charles MBioChem' and assumed that MBioChem was his surname, as it sounded 'kind of Nigerian' All this despite the fact that he was himself a 'Master' of BioChemistry and had exactly the same letters after his own name. He has since gone on to achieve a PhD and no one knows how.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 21:36, Reply)
Training course with a firm
This is all true:

I put goldfish in the water cooler.

Broke the mallet on the croquet lawn.

Was charged £3.00 for one paracetemol.

Was called an IRA bomber for throwing halloween crackers under the snooker table.

The main lecturer on the "course" arrived with "hickeys" that would beat the band on the second day.

Died from the worst hangover from Budweiser.

That was in 4 days.

Aside from this, and back to reality, my bad moments were seeing a suicide in Victoria Tube Station on day five.

And on that same day my car dying in the same day we were to drive for holidays in Ireland.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 21:16, 7 replies)
Years and years ago, I was working for a large company
that might have been responsible for pumping into your house that stuff that isn't electricity that you can use to cook food or heat your house.

However, when I say "working for" I mean that in the loosest sense of having to be there between certain times, and I didn't say "employed by" as I and the motley bunch of first-job-since-Uni people I was with were temps, not employees.

Some clever firm of "corporate lifestyle gurus" or whatever they call themselves had obviously given someone in procurement the bung of a lifetime, because it was decided from on high that at the same time as making thousands of staff redundant, there would be a Culture Change.

Posters went up full of meaningless bullshit, and then the edict came round - everyone, including for some particularly stupid reason the temps, was getting sent away for a 2 night, 3 day course in groups for "re-orienteering", i.e. days spent doing the standard trust exercises, group collaborations, getting in touch with our emotions etc.

That last element was particularly ill-advised; not only did I not want to listen to "The cat's in the cradle" (a song I don't advise you to Google) but hearing one of the senior managers descend into hysterics, and not of the happy kind, during it was possibly an over-reaction on his part, but bloody uncomfortable for the rest of us.

The important bit however was the 2 night's accommodation. We'd heard rumours that there was a "free bar" but were told by management before hand not to "take the piss".

Yes. A bunch of 22-24 year olds who had achieved after Uni the heights of entering meter readings all day were likely to be the responsible sort of adults who would take that to heart.

You can only imagine the carnage; and you'll have to imagine it, as I'm damned if I can remember it. The hangovers were so crippling that the "training" itself was an exercise in not vomiting or falling asleep. On the second night, we managed to drink the bar dry.

At the end of the course, we all got something resembling a casino token; this we were to treasure, to keep in our pockets and remind us of what we had learnt, and how from now on we were part of a happy family. I was certainly at one with the team, as I could virtually hear the collective "WTF" being thought by one and all as this largesse was handed around.

So, next time you open a utility bill, and curse at how much it is, be happy in the knowledge of how well the company in question manages its money.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 21:13, Reply)
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)
I prepared an assessment seminar for a local teacher training college. I prepared everything on my Macbook, Powerpoint, slides, Word docs the lot. Practised like hell to get it right, as I don't work there, but wouldn't mind doing so.

I get there early, get the IT guy, set up the laptop ready to start and..........nothing! The college IT setup is not Mac compatible. I downloaded everything onto a stick, and cobbled the presentation together in a (for my liking) very unprofessional Windows manner. It worked, but I was pretty hacked off to say the least.

So I started the seminar by holding up my laptop, saying "I'm a Mac. This is a PC....."
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 20:12, 49 replies)
Schoolyard behaviour from snidey little suck-up ...
... on a training course on how to undergo an appraisal, which was now compulsory for everyone. The external trainer was over-ingratiating, like a hippy teacher trying to be mates with the class. He kept referring to 'your company', so I politely interrupted and said that we were a regulatory body and not really a company in the traditional sense, since we had nothing to sell and our purpose wasn't to make money.

Everyone nodded except for one little twat who had introduced himself as our "Head of Learning Development" or some such wankery. "It may interest you to know we are a company, actually!" he sneered. "We do have a profit and loss account". I replied that I understood that we did file accounts, thanks very much, but that wasn't really my point.

He continued to snipe for the rest of the (pointless) session, calling another bloke a '1970s union man' for arguing that the 3 page-long appraisal form with sections like "Working with Change" was overkill for his routine security guard job. It transpired that the (increasingly flustered) trainer was his mate and he wanted to defend him. When things eventually dragged to a close, I wandered over to Human Resources to pick up a form or something, and was promptly ambushed by the furious head of department and pulled into her office for a bollocking.

It transpired that the little shit had sneaked round the corner in coffee break time and told tales on all of us. Luckily she was eight months pregnant, had a mood swing in the middle of our conversation, and started berating herself for shouting at me.

I was going to take him behind the bike sheds and beat him up, but he left suddenly a week later to 'pursue his dream of writing a novel'. Shame.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 20:02, Reply)
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)
Health and safety lolz.
I was attending a compulsory electrical safety meeting after someone destroyed a forklift and some of his toes in a high voltage incident.

The safety guy was somewhat less than interesting, having that special droning voice that only H&S guys can possess and while most were dozing quietly I had to sit right at the front under his nose so instead of listening to the old bugger I took an interest in the stuff he'd written. And then I spot it.

He, pointing at the board, "...and I don't think there's anyone here who would disagree with that statement is there?"

At this point I sit up and say, "yes, I would"

"Oh really" returns Mr Interesting "and perhaps you'd like to tell us all why then?"

"Certainly", I'm grinning now at his glaring face and the room is awake and all ears, "Although I am very wary of electric shocks, I'm absolutely not afraid of elocution"

There's always one, and it's usually me.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 19:50, 1 reply)
Same drugs seminar as below
during a powerpoint from a mumsy middle aged woman

"OOoo, what's next? KETAMINE*!"

*said in a somewhat delighted tone
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 19:44, 1 reply)
From an A4 handout about the dangers of nitrous oxide found in whipped cream refills. The only bit in bold:
"used correctly, whipped cream can be a delicious addition to a dessert."

gee thanks.
(, Thu 15 Mar 2012, 19:40, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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