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Enough.

Yesterday I posted on Facebook how Microsoft is further convincing IT they don't need people for education and that over a million Americans like myself aren't even looking for work anymore. I slept poorly, was short with my husband, and the next day am

Calm down, Jeanne. It's just Microsoft trying to be clever, Jeanne.

Except that it's not. Do you know who designed, wrote, and produced those classes for Microsoft? It wasn't a sys admin. It was an Education Professional. A magical Instructional Design gnome. It was a person who has spent a large portion of their career figuring out how to best get complex information into your brain. Have you ever seen training classes written by sys admins? I have and you probably have too. People complain, money is wasted, and no one learns anything.

The *last* thing IT, or any other industry for that matter, needs at this point is support in the idea that they don't need education professionals. Always the red-headed stepchild, first to be blamed (desired change not seen: the training didn't work), first to be cut (the training doesn't work: don't invest anything else in it), and eternally underused (what does education have to do with organizational change?), I am in such awe as to how quickly adults forget the necessity of Teachers.

Someone taught you to walk, talk, add, subtract, speak Spanish, and make toast. You aren't born knowing everything you need to know. So why as Adults is it assumed that they suddenly know enough? That reading a book is an acceptable substitute for someone who can actually *teach* instead of having you *memorize*? Remember memorizing stuff as a kid for school? Remember any of it today? Don't tell me it's because it's not important. You have no idea how important it may be because you are unable to apply information you don't remember. We call that Retention. Retention is the foundation of behavioral change.

But it's not just about performance, it's about Money. Can the executive or manager or employee "trainer" give you an actual dollar amount of ROI that your training will give? An Education Professional can, mostly because 3/4 of our job is making the case for training as even in the best of times convincing businesses to invest in their human capital is like talking Jesus with an Athiest. In fact, the idea of ROI in most established on-the-fly training programs is complete rubbish; they don't (can't) measure it because the assessment of how resources are used is never established. It is, for the record, a simple 5 step process and a short equation. Employees don't know how to establish educational ROI any more than I know how to build a complete Java application. The difference is that an educator uses SME's for what we don't know; we collaborate and make efficient use of resources to produce the best possible product. Employers think they can do what we do because someone know the product/service. Stop mowing my lawn. For the record, I do know how to build a complete Java application. I learned a lot of high level coding, telephony, database admin, security, and pure hacking to be able to communicate with my stakeholders. This does not make me a Java architect, security guru, or network admin as my stakeholders so often reminded me.

Have we talked about loyalty yet, the single greatest life support of a business? Every business reports on how many customers/employees they gain but not many report on how many they lost. That's a hint, BTW. That's a hint on how you can find your educational ROI. That's all you get tho. Any more and we need to talk payment, another ROI conversation. See how important it is to all aspects of business? So why let Learning and Development be any different? Oh right, because you don't know how to show ROI in those fields. I do. But you don't want me.

And let me tell you, after over 2 years of unemployment it's damn near impossible to not take that personally. At this point, I'd be happy with a simple trainer position. I don't even need the Director/Junior VP position that my tenure, experience, successes, education, vision, and drive demand. What happened to all that? What happened to all my hard work? Didn't that used to mean something? Since when is being better than the competition the problem? One begins to wonder why they bother after a time.

If you ask someone who they are, they will tell you they're an architect, or a waiter, or a cabbie, or whathaveyou. As unwise as it is we absolutely define ourselves by what we *do*. So what happens when you don't *do* anything? It is the single question I dread the most because what I *do* is sit in my house all day wondering what the hell happened and how to get out of it. I used to send out over 70 resumes a week, 10 a day for over a year. Then it went down to 50 a week, then 20. The number of jobs dwindled. I've applied for the same jobs 7 and 8 times, never even hearing a response. Over 2 years of that will make you ask yourself: What's wrong with me? And that has me angrier than anything else.

You twist your resume, reformat, add, remove, change, edit trying to be what you think they want. But at the end of the day, they don't want you at all. You are not good enough. No one wants you. Swallow that every day for 2.5 years and see where your self-worth stands.

I got into education and management because I wanted to help, to improve the world around me. I wanted to use my problem solving skills, my creativity, my love of learning to improve the careers of others and influence business process for the better. And what of my fledgling Coaching career? What business do I have trying to help others when I can't even get my own self out? I don't have a single answer. What the hell do I know? There, doubting myself again. The single greatest mistake for an education professional. I'm so angry at myself for letting my fire and passion, my trust in my killer instincts be so muddied with insecurity. It's not even rejection; rejection means at least someone noticed you. Over a million Americans like myself have simply disappeared. We don't pay taxes. We don't buy anything other than the barest minimum to survive, usually making the touch choice between food and toilet paper. The only place we still seem to echo is in the number of housing foreclosures.

I had money, savings, retirement. Gone. I bought my condo at 109; they now appraise at 33. I've lost everything and live off the charity of my parents, husband, and friends. That too will destroy the self-worth of someone once so independent. I can't eat, watch TV, buy a tampon, or even make this post without being deeply aware of how much money I owe everyone. Every single aspect of my life exists by the charity of someone else. I am a vacuum.

I try to make sense of it, and I can't. I don't like to be the victim, wallowing in self-pity, but dammit...I don't understand. I don't understand why my amazing skills are worthless, my successes a liability. I don't want to take anyone's job. I just want to be relevant. I just want a reason to get out of bed and get dressed. I'm looking for the lesson, the reason, the thing I can take away from all this...and all I get is angrier and more depressed when I can find no logic in it.

I can't understand why the Universe would give a girl such talent and not let her use it. Why it would give me such a horrible illness that I've worked so hard to manage only to be left alone in the dark with it, denied the medical support needed to keep on the sane side. I don't understand why I'm allowed to hold fulfillment and security in my hands for a moment only to have to snatched away.

In a workplace where it's easier to justify a new laptop than an existing employee, is there even still a place for Education Professionals? We make a living out of investing in human capital, something no company wants to do. Why should they? In this market no one is stupid enough to ask their employer for anything more than they already get currently. It is impressed upon every employee that they're on the "lucky to be here" program with 40 people waiting in line for their jobs. I'm sure that's a truly successful performance motivator.

So for now, for today, you win. I don't want it. Take it. Choke on it.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
specialagentm
Jun. 8th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I don't get it either. In a tough economy where a business can't hire more people, I would think the smart investment is to invest in making the people you keep be absolutely the best they can be in their positions. If, for the cost of hiring one person, I can figure out how to make hundreds of people work smarter, I think that would be totally obvious as a good business decision.

*sigh*

I wish I had an answer for you, honey.
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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )