Throughout this year, and likely into the next, I will be shipped off for work training. These training modules run anywhere from a day to two weeks and are scattered across the country.
I’m excited about the training. It’s new, it’s interesting, and it allows me to see states I’ve never been able to visit. But… with this excitement comes a pretty high level of perfectly legitimate terror.
These training modules are conducted by high ranking federal officials. Officials who could oh, say, re-evaluate your taxes, make your job disappear, or… make YOU disappear.
I had ONE goal (OK two goals if you count ‘learn something’ as a goal), don’t let them learn my name. I figured in a sea of 40 trainees, it wouldn’t be hard. Blend. Easy right?
‘Alright guys, I’m going to bring an unlucky staffer up here and we’re going to dissect federal regulations together. I want to see how much you know your stuff’ the trainer said as he wandered the front. He glanced around the group while I silently prayed, ‘Please God, not me.’
‘Rebekah! You are the unlucky victim!’ he said with a smile after reading my ID badge.
Thankfully, his questions were fairly easy and I think I was vaguely able to cover my terrified knocking knees.
Naturally, I thought I would be in the clear for the week.
Naturally, he continued to call on me every day – and some days, I was the ONLY person he called on.
‘Rebekah, since you’re so great at federal regulations, let’s check your algebraic skills!’
‘Rebekah, would you like to share your feelings on state regulations?’
By the end of the training module, I was ready to move my chair to the front to save time. On the last day, he asked if I was attending the next scheduled course. When I told him I was, he smiled, ‘Good.’ He paused then said, ‘Look, I hope you don’t think I’m picking on you. On the first day, I gave you a question that throws everyone off, but you got it right. I wanted to see if there was something you’d miss but you didn’t miss a step the entire week. It’s refreshing for trainers to see that. See you next time.’
My feet didn’t touch the ground for a couple hours.
When coming off the low of job loss, it’s hard to feel like you matter anymore. You apply for jobs and spend hours trying to sell the fact that you have value. And even when you get a job, especially a job several levels lower than you were before, you wonder if your work life will ever return to ‘normal’.
And, I guess in this case, I don’t mind if the feds remember my name.