Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Automatic, Systematic, Hydromatic....Professionally Speaking

On the work end of life, I've been focused way too much on the daily grind of the job, and not enough on actually improving my skills (and the services I can provide to my employer).   There have been a multitude of reasons for that, primary among them is that the Hankster's basic existence precludes me from fleeing town for professional courses on a whim.

Luckily, two opportunities came up recently that I'm proud to have completed successfully. One was a stormwater engineering course I took in Philadelphia.  It was sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, and focused on taking a scientific look at some of the popular new ways to deal with stormwater on development sites, including things like rain gardens.  To sum up the course, we (in the habitat/water quality professional community) are not doing things big enough or with enough demands for maintenance and upkeep to have any type of wide-ranging positive impact on the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, or any of the Northeast's ailing waters.
Nice volume control, but lamest check dam/toe protection ever built, plus I think all the plants are invasive species, or dead, and there aren't enough of them.  Oh, and that mulch is crap. 

The other opportunity was one that I've missed repeatedly due to workplace politics over the last eight years - taking the Maryland erosion and sediment control certification course and exam.  In at least three cases, a boss or coworker became nervous that I could possibly achieve this (fairly basic) certification and they wouldn't have one for themselves, and thus chose to torpedo my training effort.  "Oh, did I say that to the boss? My mistake!" Jerks.

So, I finally got smart.  Without my current employer knowing about it, I signed up for the course/exam, paid for it myself ($50), and took a vacation day.  Now I have it, and my boss doesn't even know it.   I don't think she'll be my boss for much longer, so I guess I'll just let it ride...whoomp there it is!

It's only appropriate that I follow that menial state-issued card with a more fitting recognition of my achievement.

Thank you, that is all.


Steve Zakur said...

Congrats on making a bit of an investment in mad skilz. I can't remember the last time I took any sort of course to improve skills. It's all on the job now.

Kirk Mantay said...

Exactly, Steve. I almost didn't go to Philly because the cost was so daunting (my employer covered the tuition and 1/2 of lodging). For example, my parking bill was $140. But I am so very glad I went!

And that's the point. I think it's worth forcing yourself to pull deep and invest in your own training at least once every 12-24 months. Especially if you can get a cheap skills update or something for $100-200.

biobabbler said...

Great job analyzing why your attempts to get training/certified were undermined, and finding a work around. And NOT complaining about the costs of the loss of a vacation day, but focusing on your achievement.


One reason I love working for smart, emotionally secure people, is that they LOVE to see their people grow and improve and succeed. And are happy to hear questions (inevitable if you hire smart, secure, science-folk) vs. feeling threatened/getting defensive.

And they understand that having a crew of excited, empowered superstars completely reflects up to them. Not that this motivates them, but nevertheless...

Good job!! =)

LB @ Bullets And Biscuits said...

Good for you taking care of and improving on yourself! You know if you don't, nobody else will.

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