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Training and Education

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I am a professional with 38 years of progressive responsibility in a technical field. I placed my resume on a job website and had 37 hits and zero inquiries. There is no apparent interest in a person 59 years old. Why are companies totally resistant to hiring someone my age? Should I mask the evidence in my resume?
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I just spent the better part of a day at a team-building session, and I thought it was a waste of time. Most of the time was directed at playing with toys and building things, and all I could think about was the real work that I needed to finish. At the end of the session, the trainer said a few words and that was it. What do you think of this?
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I have an employee who keeps asking when he is going to be promoted into management. Almost every discussion with him turns to this topic. I have told him that as positions open up, we look internally for qualified individuals first, and he would be considered like everyone else. That is not good enough for him. He just keeps pestering me about this. What can I do?
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I was just given a notice that our whole department is supposed to go to some team-building sessions starting in a couple of weeks. I've heard that these sessions are filled with little games that have nothing to do with work. I have no interest in attending, and I am wondering if it's a problem for me to try to get out of it.
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There is talk that our company is going to conduct a major team-building program, culminating in having the employees do what is called a "fire walk." I understand this means that we will be walking on hot embers. Could this be true? If it is, several of us don't want any part of it.
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My boss just quit. I was hoping to move into management, and I figured that this would be my time. I was surprised when I heard the company is going outside to find a replacement. When I spoke with the general manager, he said he does not think I am ready for management. Is he actually saying I should look for another job?
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When I was looking for an administrative assistant, one of the job requirements was knowledge of office software. I hired an individual who had all of the other skills, but no experience or training on office software. She said she could learn it easily, but she still makes mistakes every day. The program has a help function, and I have suggested that she use it, but the result is the same. Do you believe this is grounds for termination?
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To deal with the stresses and anxieties that many of us are sensing, management brought in an expert. We thought this was a good idea, but all this expert did was lecture us. Granted he had a few insights, but most of us ended up feeling dissatisfied. What is your opinion of this program?
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I can see the handwriting on the wall, and I don't think I am going to be with this company much longer. I would like to move into an industry that is stronger, more secure, and offers more opportunity, and I was wondering if you can suggest some growth fields.
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I am rather new to management, and I am spending so much time in meetings and on committees that I hardly have enough time to actually do my job, especially when you add in the time I spend with my staff. What's a manager to do?
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I just started an intern job and I hate it. I am given all the low level garbage work, even though I am a college student. No one asks me for my advice, and all they do is order me around. I don't see how I will last all summer. Do you have any advice?
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One of the reasons why I like working here is that the company has many classes and seminars, and I am part of a program to build my supervisory skills. I was very upset when I heard that this program is going to be put on hold for economic reasons. Is this a common situation, and what suggestions do you have?
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We have previously implemented many training programs and have more planned for this year. For some reason, our employees are resistant to them. The programs are excellent, and we are wondering how to build enthusiasm.
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I have been told that some of my employees have personal financial problems, especially credit cards that are maxed-out and at high interest rates. These same employees seem very stressed, and I am seeing problems with their work. As their manager, is there anything I can be doing to help them?
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I am new to management and I am supposed to do a budget for my department. I do not know how to do one, and I have never been trained in this area. No one, including my manager, has time to show me. I'll do what I can, but I'm sure a lot of it will be wrong. Is this my fault or the company's?
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I am in a sales/marketing position with a manufacturing company, and I am considering changing jobs. I informally met with a marketing manager from a dot.com company. I am not a techie, but I am not ignorant in technology either. I could hardly understand what this person was saying. The vocabulary was almost completely foreign, and I am wondering if this is his problem or mine?
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Over the past several weeks, our manager has hired four new people in our department, and each one is less qualified than the next. This has created more work for all of us. We told our manager about the problem, but he thinks it is a case of longer-term employees resisting new hires. What should we do now?
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I was laid off from an accounting clerk job I held for just two months. The company was very small and unorganized, and the boss's daughter constantly told me she would be coming in to help, but she never did. I'm wondering how to avoid a situation like this in the future. Can I ask a job interviewer how they are planning on training me? Should I even put this two-month job on my resume?
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I always thought I wanted to be in a management position, and I was promoted into one a few months ago. I haven't told anyone, but I don't like it. I want my old job back, but I'm concerned about what my manager will think. What should I do?
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My computer crashed again, and now I have to call down to the IT specialist to come to my office and bring it back to life. I don't like dealing with him because he is surly and condescending. It's like he takes pride in making all of us feel like fools. What should we do?
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We have a resume for an applicant who looks pretty good, but we are unsure how to interpret his online degree. We don't want to eliminate someone just because he followed a different course for his higher education. What should we look for in evaluating an online degree program?
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I want to make a career change, maybe into real estate sales, but I have a full-time job and family responsibilities. I don't have the time to take the courses, and I am concerned about the lack of income when I start a new career. How do people in my position do it?
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I work with 3 other administrative assistants who support 8 professionals. I get along well with them, and I am very good at what I do. The problem is that one of the other administrative assistants frequently gets behind and asks me to help her out. I have done so on many occasions, but this makes a huge amount of work for me, and it's been happening more and more lately. She is becoming a real problem for me.
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When I joined this company, I was told that there would be many opportunities for training. So far, the three programs that I was supposed to attend were cancelled at the last minute without any explanation, and none have been rescheduled. My manager told me that more will be on the way, but that was two months ago and there have been none. Any suggestions?
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I work in a dental office and recently our employer brought in someone to refresh the CPR skills of the hourly office staff. This class took 2 1/2 hours, and afterwards our employer said that he wouldn't pay our hourly salaries while we were in the class. Does this seem right?
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I am a salesman, and I can sell anything. I was recently downsized from the metal industry because of a merger, and I took a car salesman job for the time being. I did not finish college, I'm 38 years old, and I do not want to go back to school. The lack of a college degree comes up every time I apply somewhere. How do I get around this in a resume so that I can at least get the interview and sell myself?
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I have had several different jobs in my career, and I recently completed a rather expensive technical training program. I have been sending out resumes, but all I get back are rejections or nothing at all. I keep trying different resumes, but none work. What do you suggest?
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I've been working at a small company for about 5 years, and I haven't had any real complaints. We just hired our first Human Resources director. Through the rumor mill, I heard that she suggested to the owner that the employees meet in small groups to criticize each other and bring all our faults into the open. The boss thought this was a terrific idea. How do I convince the boss that this would be the beginning of the end?
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I've been in the IT field for over 10 years, and have extensive certifications and knowledge in troubleshooting networks, computers, software and hardware, and providing customer support and training. I feel I should be making more money, but the problem is that I didn't finish college and constantly find jobs on the Internet that require BA/BS degrees for all IT positions. Since I don't have a degree, I'm not looking for another job. Your suggestions are appreciated.
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We have an excellent technical employee who wants to take a month off without pay so that he can teach a course. We are dismayed that he would be out this long, but if we don't let him do this, we are afraid that he will leave. Is there any way to change his mind?
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I am a new employee with this company, and I have been given no training. When I have questions about how to do my job, my supervisor ignores me and my co-workers are too busy. I'm making mistakes already, and I don't know where to turn. Can you help?
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Our company did a reorganization of a few areas, and I have kept all of my past responsibilities, plus I am now over an area that I know very little about. The manager of the area seems competent, and I am taking the place of her former boss who left the company. I'm very busy as it is, and I don't think this department should have been placed under me. Is there a way to say this to my manager without looking weak?
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We have retained a company to provide managerial training for our newer managers. All of them are pleased with this training opportunity, except for one. He looked over the program and said that it is a waste of time and he is not interested. Should we force him to attend, or is this a sign that he is not motivated to be in management?
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I spent nearly six years as a Marketing Coordinator while I was trying to break into marketing management. I was passed up for promotions, and I was told it was because I needed a bachelor's degree. At great expense, I went back to college and obtained a bachelor's degree and an MBA. Now I'm hearing I don't have enough on-the-job experience to be a manager. I've been looking for over a year, and I'd even take a marketing coordinator position to get my foot in the door. Although it's lying, I'm considering removing my education from my resume. Do you think that would help?
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As part of my job, I handle customer complaints. Sometimes the callers are very upset, and I have not had any formal training in how to deal with them. Can you give me some pointers?
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When I joined this company, I was sent to several seminars and training programs, and that was very important to me. Recently the company tightened the budget, and now all of this training is out the window. This is going to hurt my career, and I want to know what you suggest.
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I have been in sales with this company for a few years, and I am one of the better salespeople. My goal is to move into management, but my manager told me yesterday that he does not think I have what it takes to be a manager. I don't know what to make of this or what to do about it. What do you suggest?
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I have an employee who keeps asking when he is going to be promoted into management. Almost every discussion with him turns to this topic. I have told him that as positions open up, we look internally for qualified individuals first, and he would be considered like everyone else. However, he just keeps pestering me about this. What can I do?
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I was interested in going for a cup of coffee or something with a woman who works here, and I have asked her a few times but she keeps saying "no." Now my supervisor has told me that she is going to make a claim of sexual harassment unless I stop doing this. How can that be? I'm not pressuring or threatening her. I won't ask her out again, but this seems wrong. What do you think?
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Our company does not have any official educational reimbursement benefits, but I just found out that some new hires at my level have gotten "side deals" where the company pays for their classes. I did not know about this when I joined. I asked my manager and he said the company does not pay for employee education except in special situations. What can I do?
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Until recently, I was a sales manager for a technology start-up. I had no idea where to go or how to sell the product. I was not even trained in the basics. I taught myself and made presentations, but I was paid very little. Just before the end of five months with the company, the vice president of sales terminated me for failing to bring in sales. The company has many employees who are dissatisfied and trapped in a heap of unfilled promises. What could be the reason for my boss's irresponsible behavior? Is this typical of how start-ups treat their employees?
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In my year-end evaluation, my manager said that he does not think I am promotable at this time. When I asked him when he thought I would be ready, he said he does not know. I asked him what I should do to prepare for promotion, and he said that is up to me. What do you suggest?
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When I asked a recent applicant about the steps he has taken to further his education, he said he completed classes in pottery, acting, and art history. None of those classes has anything to do with our business, and I thought he should have been taking more business-oriented courses. Should applicants on a management track be eliminated for taking these kinds of classes?
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My manager suggested I get some supervisory training, so I started taking some classes and I really enjoy them. My issue is that when I try to use some of this training on the job, my manager stops me and he keeps saying that is not how we do things here. What can I do about this? I'm starting to think the training has been a waste of time.
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I conducted a one-hour training session for my employees, and I thought it went very well. Everybody participated, and their comments seemed to show that they were learning and building their skills. After the session, I was speaking with one of the supervisors who attended, and she said the session was a "big bore." I was surprised and a little insulted, but I took the comment in stride and did not challenge her. I am puzzled over what to do with a comment like hers.
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Our company brought in an outside trainer to give a dozen of us a half-day of management training. The speaker was knowledgeable and had some good points, but he lectured almost the whole time. He answered a few questions, but I don't think I learned much at all. What do you think of this type of training?
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I have an employee whose job includes writing brief reports. He knows how to write, but his work typically has grammatical errors and words used incorrectly. When I ask him about this, he says he thought the computer would correct it, but it doesn't. How do I get him to make more of an effort to write better?
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Several of the employees who report to me communicate horribly in writing. There are errors of punctuation, capitalization, and grammar throughout their written communications. The problem is not just in email, but it appears in the formal letters that they send to customers and management. They say I am "old school" because I am concerned about this, and they add that they get their messages across to others, and that is what's important. I disagree on all counts. What about you?
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We have been looking for a manager in our credit department, and we put together a list of requirements for this position. We interviewed some strong candidates, but the senior vice president over our group brought in his own candidate and insisted we hire her. She is not qualified at all. I am very busy, but I am supposed to train her. I think it is a waste of time because she is going to fail anyhow. What should I do?
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We just met with the representatives of a training company, and they seem to have some good programs. One of their most powerful selling points is that turnover dropped significantly in a company where they introduced one of their programs six months ago. How do you view a claim like this?
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I am new here and I just completed the orientation program. Now that I am on the job, the other employees are telling me to forget about most of what I learned in the orientation and use their shortcuts. I feel uncomfortable doing this. What should I do?
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I'm going to a seminar on dealing with difficult people at work, and my manager just told me that he expects me to make a presentation about the seminar to the rest of our group when I return. I don't want to do it. Is it fair for him to make this request?
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Our company has a training consultant who comes here two days a month, and we all think it is worthless. We have to interrupt our work to listen to him pontificate, and it is a waste of time and money. When we express our dissatisfaction to our manager, he says that he likes him. We don't know what to do. What can you suggest?
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My company sent me to a training program, and when I returned I was going to implement some new techniques about managing different personality types. When I told my manager, he reacted very negatively and said there is no time for any of that. I think I can be more effective if I at least try to apply what I learned. How should I go about doing this?
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My manager just returned from a week-long seminar, and now he is using all sorts of new jargon and contrived speech patterns when communicating with us. It's driving us crazy. Things were not going so badly before, and we don't know what to do now.
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Our manager sends us articles on management. Some are okay, but the most recent one was ridiculous. I know the other supervisors feel the same way about it, but when he asks them, they'll say the article was very helpful. Should I follow their politically-correct ways, or tell him what I really think?
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Every quarter, we are required to attend a training seminar. For the third year in a row, one of the topics is time management, and it is the same class I attended twice already. When I told my manager we need something new, he said that time management is always worthwhile. Does this sound worthwhile to you?
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A few months ago, we spent a considerable amount of money on a sales training program, and we know from surveying the attendees that they enjoyed it and learned a lot. The problem is that we are seeing no change in their sales numbers. How do we get such a positive reaction to the program and nothing else?
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I use email a lot when communicating to other employees and to our customers, and my spelling and grammar are not the best. My manager has insisted that I used a spell-check, and I usually do. The problem is that even though I use spell-check, he is still complaining about my writing. What else can I do?
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My manager prides himself on his ability to coach, but his coaching style is to give us a lecture when we make a mistake. He is knowledgeable, but I donít think I can handle any more lectures. Do you have any suggestions?
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I am over 50 and I despise my job. It makes me tense and upset every day, and the problem is that I am stuck. The pay and benefits are good, and I know it will be very tough to find anything like this at my age. What do you suggest?
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I work in a customer service call center, and one of the customers got nasty with me. I did not like his tone or language, and I said so. He snapped back, so I hung up on him. He called back and told my supervisor, and I ended up being disciplined and having the incident placed in my file. Does this seem fair?
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I have been with this company for a couple of weeks, and most of the discussions include acronyms that are specific to the company but are a mystery to me. I donít like to interrupt a conversation ten times to understand what is being said, but if I donít, I have no idea what to do. How do I get through this?
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I recently hired an employee who has more knowledge and skills in some parts of the job than I have. My concern is that she might make me expendable. How should I deal with her?
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We brought in a technology trainer on a trial basis to teach a group of our employees. The employeesí evaluations of the sessions were filled with positive comments. Several managers believe this warrants more of a commitment to continue this training, but I am not sure. What do you think?
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Our company brought in an outside trainer, and during the session I thought he made a technical mistake, and not on a minor issue. When I politely asked him about it, he turned my question into a joke and got a big laugh from everyone in the room. Afterwards, I did some checking and found out I was right and the trainer was wrong on the issue. Should I say something or just forget it?
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We just sat through a three-hour seminar and were given a test at the end. The instructor said our high test scores are an important measurement of the seminarís effectiveness. As a manager, I donít like being tested after training, and Iím not convinced a test can measure a seminarís effectiveness. What do you think?
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My manager told me that if I expect to be promoted, I should take some supervisory classes. My complaint is that the company is not willing to pay for these classes, and I think it is kind of hypocritical to place this expectation on me. What do you think of this policy?
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We have a small customer service department that handles sales calls from around the country. One of the sales reps has been getting more than her share of customer complaints. We have counseled her, but she always has an excuse. It takes a few months to train a new sales rep, and we donít want to terminate her, at least not yet. What other steps do you suggest?
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The company paid to send me to a one-day management seminar, and my manager asked me to make a one-hour presentation to the rest of our department afterwards. The problem is that the content of the seminar was either too juvenile or just plain wrong, but the presenter is one of my managerís favorites. Iím concerned about my managerís reaction if I say that the seminar was not very useful. How should I approach this assignment?
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I have been in the retail industry since 1968. I have only worked for four companies, all in managerial positions, but I cannot find a job. I am registered with all of the major online sites, but I get no calls or emails. How can I find out why? I have rewritten my resume several times, but nothing works.
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I was recently awarded a position at my workplace, in healthcare. It expands into a different area for me after being in my old position for nine years. To make a long story short, my trainer has been there a few years longer than me, and has been doing the job that I am to be trained in for about three years now. This person was at one time a beginner as well, yet expects me to grab a totally new concept almost immediately after explaining it. If I make an error, I'm reminded by my trainer how critical it is that all information that I input be accurate. I get that!! I know how critical this job is and I'm up to the challenge. However when I'm met with critical and condescending comments and "attitude," it is very discouraging. Just when I'm feeling like I'm doing well (I am given a bit of praise for my progress), I get shot down with a negative/critical comment or behaviour. I don't mind being worked hard when I'm learning new things. I learn better with positive encouragement and attitudes. I relax more and my mind becomes open and more able to grab the new tasks. How do I go into my second week of training and be patient with myself and not take the impatient, negative attitude personally? I'm not one of those people who are awesome right off the bat. Thanks for reading my message!
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