Re: Educational areas to pursue

Subject: Re: Educational areas to pursue
From: "Paul Strasser" <paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2003 11:06:42 -0700

As is so often the case in my life, I'm confused.

I believe the original scenario that started this thread was an employer
suggested to a writer that some additional skills would be useful, so the
employer was offering to send the writer to classes or seminars in order to
learn these skills (database skills, as I recall).

The writer has, it seems, three logical choices (tossing a cream pie in the
face of the employer is also an option, I suppose, but I'm trying to keep
the list short):

Accept. Say thank you, go to the classes, learn something about databases.
Result: you have some modest understanding of databases. Your employer is
happy, and thinks you are now more valuable to the company. You have
something on your resume. On the downside, you spent some evenings or
weekends doing this instead of skiing or watching Survivor. You really
aren't interested in databases, and might even be less enamored of them

Decline. Say no thank you, and give whatever explanation you choose ("It
won't enhance my long-term career goals" may not play too well with the
employer.) Result: You don't learn the skills. You get to ski or do other
stuff instead of learning about something that really doesn't interest you.
Your boss is -- what? Annoyed? Indifferent? Surprised? Whatever your
boss is thinking about you, it isn't entirely positive.

Negotiate: Say thank you, but it can also help the company if you learn
more about XML or Framemaker, etc. Result: If the boss says yes, you learn
skills you want, and skills the employer wants. If the boss says no, see
the above choices. Or ask that the boss pay for your time. If yes, great.
If no, see above choices.

I'm having a very hard time figuring out the downside to accepting the
offer. It's clearly going to help you in your current employment - and may
be a deciding factor whether you retain your job at some future point.
Regarding your career goals, showing that you are willing to learn about the
technology used by an employer is a good thing. On your next interview you
can say, "I knew diddly about the technology - databases. But look at these
courses I took. I didn't become an SME (that's not why they hired me) but I
understood databases enough to both be able to talk to the SMEs and even
catch a few errors, and my documents were far better for the effort. If I
can do that for databases, I can do it for [insert new employer's technology

Even if you don't really learn much, or discover you hate it, what is the
downside? Is your boss trying to force you to become a DBA? That's
possible, I suppose. But it's sure easier to hire an entry-level DBA than
to teach someone who's completely ignorant on the subject.

>From where I sit, it looks like the employer A) likes the writer, B) wants
the writer to stay with the company, and C) wants the writer to learn more
about databases so the writer will even be of more value to the company, so
is D) offering to pay for classes. This person seems an exemplary employer.
How will this employer react to the writer declining the offer?

Paul Strasser
Windsor Technologies, Inc.
2569 Park Lane, Suite 200
Lafayette, Colorado 80026
Phone: 303-926-1982
FAX: 303-926-1510
E-mail: paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com


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Re: Educational areas to pursue: From: Paul DuBois
Re: Educational areas to pursue: From: Andrew Plato
Re: Educational areas to pursue: From: Paul DuBois

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