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Finding Training

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Bill Nicolich
Bill Nicolich
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Let's look at the case where there's no budget history of training or resources - and an employee wants to change that.

Work toward an eventual compromise. People don't like to say "NO" repeatedly - especially if they care about you as a person. So, you find expensive, relevant in-person training and ask for it straight out with the likely answer of "NO." Then you wait a couple weeks and ask for something less expensive - maybe online-based. The answer is "NO." Then ask for a good book. My three-year-old uses this persistence tactic on me and it tends to lead to an eventual compromise.

Chip away at the reasons behind the "NO." Ask your supervisor to "go to bat" for you and try to get you the resources that you feel you need. If the reasons have anything to do with your work quality or productivity, take solid steps to rectify the situation.

Bill Nicolich: www.SQLFave.com.
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Jeff Moden
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One of the problems I've found that people face in getting some paid training is their own salary and position. Lots of salaried folks are underpaid especially if you consider how many hours they put in. The boss wants to keep these dedicated plow horses but may not be able to pay them more. Good training usually makes a person more valuable... especially to someone else who may offer a bit more pay and shorter hours.

As explained to me by several managerial friends, paying for training can be a real "Catch 22" for a lot of managers and companies. Right or wrong, their thought is "Train your people and they'll ask for more money or go else where to get it" and that thought is frequently justified by the actions of the employee. I wonder how many employees would be willing to sign a contract saying that if they left the company for another job within a year or two, that they'd have to pay back the training expense?

In other words, if you want some company paid training, you have to show that it'll be worth it to the company that's paying for it and, one way or another, that's the bottom line... what does the company get out of it? Companies will jump through hoops if the answer is "verifiable dedication".

Of course, that reminds me of a little parable... what's the difference between being "loyal" to a company and being "dedicated" to a company? The answer is that you have to think about a "Ham'n'Eggs" breakfast...
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... The Chicken was "loyal".... The Pig was "dedicated". :-P

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
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@DBA_ANDY
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To Bill: What if they don't care about you as a person? That seems to be a tall order in today's "people are just interchangeable as servers" IT workplace.

I work for a medium-to-large company that used to have what I felt to be a positive training budget/environment (one conference a year plus books and magazines), but the last few years have been hard for us just like so many other companies - and as is so often the case, training was one of the first things out the window.

How do you justify sending your remaining staff to training when you have cut people? Logical answers like "The remaining staff still have to be able to do their jobs" are not valid to our management unfortunately.

The answer we get back is "use the free training from the vendor" - SQLSaturday's and prerecorded webcasts are nice, but they are still nothing compared to the knowledge and other experiences available at PASS or Connections.

Other than looking for another job - HELP!

AndyG
Jack Corbett
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I'd suggest starting by going to the free stuff you can get to, user groups, SQLSaturday's etc... Also, be willing to pay your own way to show that you value the training enough, and try to negotiate being able to go without using vacation days. Too often I think managers consider conferences and training like vacation and don't want to pay for it because of that, but if you can show you value it enough to pay for it then they may see it differently.

I work at a non-profit currently, that I know doesn't have a lot of extra money (neither do I, but I digress), so I've paid for certification exams, books, and travel. Now my boss is willing to spend some on those things.



Jack Corbett

Applications Developer

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In small companies a lot is dictated by how the business is going. If we have money it's because we're working a lot, so we don't have time. If we aren't working that much and have some time, we have no money. Right now we have no money. Sad

I think training is great: above and beyond improved effectiveness and profitability for the company, it shows respect for the value of employees and interest in their development. That said, I'd rather have the pay cut reversed before any real money gets spent on training. (Maslow's hierarchy and all that: we had some money last fall but we spent it on increasing our SAN capacity. That was totally better than training.) But after fixing the payroll, my next priority would be for classes. It really improves the quality of work and the morale when people stop cutting corners and moving towards best practices.

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Shut up he explained.

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jcrawf02
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Jeff Moden (3/19/2010)
One of the problems I've found that people face in getting some paid training is their own salary and position. Lots of salaried folks are underpaid especially if you consider how many hours they put in. The boss wants to keep these dedicated plow horses but may not be able to pay them more. Good training usually makes a person more valuable... especially to someone else who may offer a bit more pay and shorter hours.

As explained to me by several managerial friends, paying for training can be a real "Catch 22" for a lot of managers and companies. Right or wrong, their thought is "Train your people and they'll ask for more money or go else where to get it" and that thought is frequently justified by the actions of the employee. I wonder how many employees would be willing to sign a contract saying that if they left the company for another job within a year or two, that they'd have to pay back the training expense?

In other words, if you want some company paid training, you have to show that it'll be worth it to the company that's paying for it and, one way or another, that's the bottom line... what does the company get out of it? Companies will jump through hoops if the answer is "verifiable dedication".
The company gets the ROI of an employee who gets more done quicker, or if not quicker, more effectively. If my boss is willing to pay for my training, even if I don't get the raise that I want, I personally would be less likely to leave because I'm getting a benefit from the training.

Conversely, even if they give me a bump in pay, but are totally unwilling to support my training, then I'm likely looking to go elsewhere. I want to be more valuable, not just more expensive.

I am as loyal as my contract demands, but I will only be dedicated when I see that you are as interested in my professional development as I am. (in other words, I'd sign that contract, and have before)

If you're attempting to manage by sitting on training costs to stifle your employees into staying put, well, you ain't worth much. (fyi, these are all general 'you', I know that Jeff is not saying he is doing this)

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Bill Nicolich
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Andy:

Yeah. It'd be tough to get buy-in from someone who doesn't seem to care about you as a person. I'll give that some thought. I haven't encountered that situation.

Your situation is okay. You have the precedent in place. Lots of people don't even have that.

Protect the precedent. Put it out in the open that you support the need to make short-term adjustments due to budget pressures - but you want to make sure that over the long-term, the environment doesn't digress. Even in lean times, it's tough to argue that there isn't room in a budget for a book - in a medium-size company.

You've been served, though. You were told to exhaust the free training available - and really you need to do that before going back to ask for expenses, I'd say.

Bill Nicolich: www.SQLFave.com.
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Bill Nicolich
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Jeff Moden (3/19/2010)I wonder how many employees would be willing to sign a contract saying that if they left the company for another job within a year or two, that they'd have to pay back the training expense?


I've done this. This is a legitimate solution to the problem Jeff pointed out. An employee gets augmented by training and then that strengthens their bargaining position for salary and jobs elsewhere. That's just reality.

So, you require a financial commitment from the employee in the case that they leave. The employee incurs no cost as long as they stay. That's fair and it gets past the gridlock.

Bill Nicolich: www.SQLFave.com.
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Jeff Moden
Jeff Moden
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jcrawf02 (3/19/2010)
(fyi, these are all general 'you', I know that Jeff is not saying he is doing this)


Heh... Correct... I should have mentioned that. I can just imagine the hate mail I might get if someone took what I said as a practice rather than an observation. :-)

--Jeff Moden

RBAR is pronounced ree-bar and is a Modenism for Row-By-Agonizing-Row.
First step towards the paradigm shift of writing Set Based code:
Stop thinking about what you want to do to a row... think, instead, of what you want to do to a column.
If you think its expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur. -- Red Adair

Helpful Links:
How to post code problems
How to post performance problems
Forum FAQs
dma-669038
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I am also among the lucky folks who work for training friendly companies. I went through so many though that i actually looked for a training friendly company in my search and found them. My company sponsors user group meetings and sends its people to the best training there is and am going to PASS again for third year in a row sponsored by them. I have worked for those 'meanies' before, by that i mean those who won't spend even on books/magazines - some of them are worth arguing with, majority in my experience are simply aren't. Training comes from the employer's belief that his employes need to learn/grow/do a better job and lots of them out there just dont care enough, they are fine if you just do the bare minimum or you sweat it out somehow to find the solution. I feel really sorry for those who have to put up with that stuff, personally i just couldn't.
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