Ah, my first Thanksgiving away from home.
But this isn't it.
This is actually the second Thanksgiving I'm not spending with my Mom & Dad. The first one was back in the early 90's, whenever the whole William Kennedy Smith and Clarence Thomas things were going on. I was working as a COBOL programmer for Arthur Andersen at the time (yes, THAT Arthur Andersen) and for political reasons, my World Headquarters office found it necessary to supply an instructor to teach at the 3 week introductory class that all new employees of our consulting division (later to become Accenture) had to take. I was selected to go. I got a little bit of overtime out of it. The training class was held at the corporate campus out in St. Charles, IL on the shores of the Fox River. About 40 minutes from my apartment.
Oh, did mention that the class ran from the Monday after Thanksgiving to the Friday that was about a week before Christmas.
The way the class was set up, instructors arrived on Tuesday night, and then Wednesday thru Sunday, we did the "teach the teacher" thing, and then the class ran for the next three weeks (including the two weekends in there). Of the 12 teachers, I was:
- The only "local". About 50% of the teachers were European.
- The person who had been with the firm longest.
- The person who had the most COBOL experience and used the same tools that we used in class as part of my day-to-day job.
- Had never (and still haven't) logged a chargeable hour. Remember, I was dealing with consultants where the belief was that your chargeable percent determined your raise, your next project, and your whole career. No one wanted to be "on the bench" and my job, to many, was viewed that way.
Like I said, this was back in the early 90's, and we were still in full business dress. Suit and tie. Our 12 instructors (plus our lead instructor) were the only people 13 people in this facility that was designed to house 1,200. Plus the kitchen staff who cooked our meals. We petitioned to wear casual clothes on Thursday (Thanksgiving).
And were denied.
Apparently, a partner or client, MIGHT show up, and be so shocked to see people in jeans that they would die of a heart attack.
This didn't really bother the Italians, since they and brought more suits with them than casual wear, but for us Americans, it sucked.
The Thanksgiving meal was pretty good, except that is wasn't a whole turkey that they cooked. It was one of those canned, pressed turkey loafs. It was good and juicy and all, and went perfectly with the canned cranberry sauce.
After lunch, during every break in CICS (pronounced "kicks") training, I would sneak down the hall to where a couple of TV's were on, and caught a few glimpses of football.
Supper was leftovers and sandwiches that the cooks set out. If I remember right, we worked until about 10:00 that night.
Something tells me that I will have a lot more fun missing this Thanksgiving at home.
Oh, don't get me wrong, there were memorable moment from the class:
- The anchovy, roasted garlic, and green olive pizza that the Dutch guy had me try at My Pi. I had him try the sausage. He was shocked at how good it tasted. I can honestly say the anchovy, garlic, and black olive pizza was shocking to the taste buds, but not so much in a good way.
- One of my students, who if memory serves, was from Seattle, who wrapped up class and flew back on Friday and got married on Saturday. Ladies, imagine working out of town, pre-cell phones or email, so pretty much out of touch, putting in 12 hour weekdays, (8's and 6's on Sat/Sun) for the 3 weeks leading up to your wedding. Like I said, they took this shit SERIOUSLY. (Based on her scores, the computer gave her a "Meets Requirements")
- I was accused of sexual harrassment by an Australian gal from Brisbane who thought she was far too good to be in the class, and bitched about everything. I was cleared. The head instructor, a woman, talked to her, and said basically, "Yeah, she's an evil bitch who just wants to go home and is lashing out at everything."
- I learned my way around the complex, short cuts, paths less traveled, etc., which I would end up putting to use sooner that anyone thought. (Foreshadowing for a future post.)
- Having to defend my grading of a "Meets Requirements" to a Portuguese guy who's friends all got "Exceeds Requirements" that other teachers were giving out like candy. What can I say? Even tweaking the scores a little didn't more the bar enough to matter.
And you cried to my supervisor instead of asking me?
Oh HELL NO!
And that is the story of my one teaching experience.
And yes, I gamed the system and gave the bride-to-be from Seattle an "Exceeds". Anybody who can handle that level of stress and not completely crack deserves it.