My employer, like many big organizations, mandates all sorts of training for its staff, from the one-offs to the regular refresher sort.  Some of it is valuable, a lot of it is fluff designed to insulate senior management from blame, should an employee screw up (but we trained him, Mister Auditor, honest, so it’s obviously the stupid bugger’s fault, not management’s!) and some of it is asinine.

In the last two weeks, I had to take two refresher courses so I could maintain my ability to do some of my work, one of which was over-engineered and designed for narrow specialists, not generalists like me and the other was somewhere on the line between fluff and asinine.  I suppose I should applaud my employer for wasting almost four working days of my time on something whose main use is going to be to count as professional development hours against the annual total mandated by my profession for the retention of my certification.  Those two courses certainly didn’t do squat to help me in my current job, let alone my future job as full-time author.

The irony of the matter is that I’ve done this training with everyone’s full knowledge that I’ll be an ex-employee at the end of next March, i.e. it was a doubly stupid waste of time and resources.  Even worse, the fluff/asinine course was in light of some red tape changes that kick in on April 1st, one day after I’ll have walked out the door for the last time.  You see, it’s all about metrics: the number of people having taken the training has to equal the number of people designated as having to take the training.  Senior management is evaluated on such metrics and are paid their bonuses accordingly.

Whatever.  I’ll play along.  Other than sheer boredom, it’s no skin off my nose, and since I’m now a lame duck in the bowels of the demented bureaucracy, I can voice my honest opinion on more and more matters without fear of reprisal or other unpleasantness – provided I keep it within limits, of course.  It’s a strange shift in perspective, but one I can live with.

In the meantime, my editor is still plowing through the newest iteration of Cold Comfort and I should be getting her final comments within the week.  Progress on Like Stars in Heaven has been slow but steady, and already ideas about the fourth Siobhan Dunmoore adventure are taking shape in that weird thing I like to call my imagination.

Now if my geriatric dog could just take a morning off from his pre-sunrise vocal exercises, life would be quite tolerable.