Corporate trainings are like being a female heterosexual. If they (men) don’t exist in your life, you complain and miss them but when they do, you regret their presence. They take you away from everything else you’d rather be doing.
Here are my simple strategies to get through those trying 2-3 days, honed over hours and hours of mindfucks.
- Where you sit matters. Most people assume the trainer will pay attention to you if you are seated in the back. So, it’s best to sit in front. But in reality, a trainer already knows that the back benchers are least motivated and they don’t want to drain their energy trying to get them to pay attention. They leave the back benchers alone, more or less. After all, there are so many wide eyed zombies seated in the front noting down every word they speak.
- Who you sit with matters. It is very, very important. Sometimes trainings are with a bunch of strangers and you don’t have an option. But if you follow 1, you will be seated next to like-minded people who can smell bullshit miles away. It is easier when the trainees are your colleagues and known to you. You know who to avoid like a plague.
- Sit next to someone with a sense of humour and cynicism in life. Stay far, far, far away from those who wear a badge of success for their middle management position in the corporate. You want someone who thinks of the training days as a paid holiday and is there to chill. A perverted sense of humour will add beautifully to this combination.
- I don’t remember the first time I did this but now it is my normal state of mind during trainings. I relate everything to sex. It is like imagining people in the audience are naked to help you get over your nervousness during public speaking. Suddenly everything sounds exciting and relatable.
“The more you give,
the more you get”
Definitely not with Indian men
Anal? Threesomes? 69? BDSM?
“Empty your cup”
On the agenda as soon as I get home
- Pre work is for losers. That is how the trainer differentiates who can easily be turned into zombies and who will be most resistant to it. The trainer will always, always give time for pre work in the training course. Do not waste your precious time over it before the session. Ever.
- Team/Partner sessions are where you network. Networking and team bonding doesn’t happen at work. When you are asked to pair up, pick people you like to spend time with and don’t see as often as you’d like to. I walked out with a colleague ready to launch into the discussion assigned and he asked me one question “How many of your managers have spent time to coach and hand hold you?” “Zilch”. All my relationships have developed after I stopped reporting to the manager and moved out of the team. There was no need to be diplomatic anymore and I could finally be myself without restrictions. We spent the next 15 mins ranting about work and felt much better. The next time I paired up with X and we got philosophical about our personal lives. Just stuff that is more memorable than “coaching tips”.
- Don’t answer unless you are specifically asked to. 30% of the people in the training assume the top management is gauging them through the invisibility clock and handing out marks for class participation. I am so grateful to the presence of these people on this planet who make the rest of our lives easier. I will only be picked to speak once in a day and can get away with mouthing random shit I have picked up from previous trainings. At this stage in my career, however unwillingly, I can conjure corporate gyaan out of thin air and sound earnest. Maybe I should try a hand at acting.
- Try to not be the only woman in the group. This is beyond my control and I heave a sigh of relief when there are more women. These are the tasks assigned to women in EVERY training:
- Role play. The corporate organisation and even the training session does not have diversity but the role play must have. Makes us optimistic about the future. Maybe when we put the training in practice, we will have a woman seated opposite us. And she will bring to the table, what no man can. Her boobs and a vagina.
- Writing on charts. Women are supposed to have better handwriting than men. Of course the brain needed for handwriting and driving are separate so we suck at the latter. Maybe only one side of the brain can be developed and we focus too much on our handwriting.
- I make it a point to wear skirts or dresses to the training. Because invariably the trainer has planned an activity keeping the men in mind. My most favourite part is the look of confusion on the trainer’s face when they see am wearing a skirt/dress and the activity will be highly uncomfortable for me. I am still waiting for someone let me sit out the dumb activity because of my attire. And of course, I wear heels. Duh!!! Because women empowerment is being able to take off your heels and walking barefeet among men and their ugly shoes.
- This is where I judge my male and female colleagues and bucket them into “sexist” and “not yet sexist”. When a guy who I have been impressed with during the session, lets out a “I saw this documentary on Nat Geo which said that men are logical and sensible… blah blah blah”; it is music to my ears. Who would like to bet that the documentary was made by a man? And the research was done by a man? And these men also believe that women suck at driving because there is a gear in the car which can be activated only by the penis. Only penis can have all the fun. I make enough noises in the session so the trainer knows I won’t take sexist comments lying down and it is upto him/her to shut down such bullshit. Nobody wants to get into a heated discussion with a woman on sexism and misogyny at the workplace anymore. Thank god for small mercies.