Despite being only an engineer (and not having any other honorifics after my title like lead or supervisor or chief) I keep getting the short end of the stick and having to train people. You know, it’s never official, like “Hey FrauTech, we’re bringing in this new guy Bobby and we need you train him…” It’s more like “Bobby’s working on the xyz project and will probably have some questions for you.” Then your boss goes AWOL for a couple weeks and sure enough you are hand holding Bobby through every aspect of his new project. (Photo credit creative commons).
Don’t get me wrong, I realize the importance of training. And getting to occasionally teach an intern a thing or two has been a very rewarding part of my job. But Bobby is senior to me. And the sneaky way that I’m asked to train him almost seems like if my boss knew that he straight up asked me he’d be asking me for something above and beyond my normal duties and would have to, you know, actually reward that later. So instead it’s done in an underhanded way.
And I’ll admit, I wasn’t particular fond of Bobby to begin with. People in power just ate him up. Tall, thin, sort of quiet and makes an effort to get along with everyone. But I know the backstory. That he’d agreed to take on a certain project (that many people weren’t interested in) and as a result was given a higher level title that maybe his experience was only borderline for. But now that some of those people who made that agreement with him are gone, and others have apparently forgotten, he’s trying to weasel his way into my group. So fine. No one can blame a guy for trying to get off a project he didn’t like (and no one else did). I knew I needed to try to get over my bias, learn to like this guy.
So I’m trying to get him up to speed on a pretty complex first task my boss had given him that required briefing him on three years of history with this program. I’d tell him things and notice that he wasn’t writing many of those things down. I’d emphasize its importance, repeat it even, and pause to give him a chance to write it down. Nope. So when he sent out his first draft and it had plenty of mistakes I was disappointed. Sure there were a few things he wouldn’t have known. But many others were things I’d told him. Some even that I’d put in writing in an email to him. Not a good first start.