A Bumpy Ride on My Trainer Journey

I am all for lifelong learning but self-help aside, I believe having a good trainer to facilitate learning is an important part of the equation for successful learning.  As a child, I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps to become a school teacher.  But as I got older, the corporate world beckoned and it was a lot more lucrative.  The nearest I came to teaching was as a part-time tutor for the extra cash.  I didn’t think I was all that great a tutor, teaching Maths and English.

Now that I have left the corporate world, I wanted to become a freelance corporate trainer as my second career.  After all, I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share — all these years in marketing and leadership positions must be worth something.  And I thought the money was good enough and I would still have enough free time in between training assignments to pursue my hobbies and take care of mom.  That prompted me to sign up for the ACTA (Advanced Certificate in Training and Assessment) course, which I completed in Aug 2016.  The Coffee Bean job then kept me too busy and I didn’t have the time to look into training opportunities until I thought of quitting my barista job, which was in Dec.

You see, I am someone who is great at planning my time to maximize life’s experiences.  Before my ACTA course ended, I secured the Coffee Bean job.  ACTA ended on Aug 26 and I interviewed at Coffee Bean on Aug 22 and started on Aug 29!  Before I quit Coffee Bean on Feb 3, I interviewed with a training provider in Dec and became one of their lead consultants on Jan 1!  My life is always in motion! 🙂

I had hoped for some corporate training opportunities but I have since come to realize that the boss kept such opportunities only for himself, leaving me and the rest of the trainers to run workshops for students in schools.  I am terribly disappointed.  As I interacted with more trainers, I realized no one was happy with the boss.  The way he ran his business left a lot to be desired.

Perhaps the margins are indeed very small — I would never know because we were never told how much each workshop project was worth.  I was asked to make a sales pitch at a secondary school without knowing what pricing we had submitted.  Luckily, I secured the contract and the company now wanted me to be the Lead Trainer (LT).  LT are paid $50 an hour, whereas a normal trainer gets $40 an hour.  For that extra $10 an hour, the LT has to handle all communication with the teacher(s) in charge, organize trainers briefing, and ensure all materials for the projects get to the school and trainers on time, and the feedback forms and materials at the end of the project are returned to the office.  I found myself doing the latter even as a normal trainer because I have a car and I live 5-mins drive from the office.  I am perfectly fine running delivery service but I can understand why some LTs wouldn’t do it especially if they don’t have a car and the program starts at 7.45AM which means they would have to collect all materials the day before, bring them home and then carry them to the school on the day itself.  So the boss came up with a “brilliant” idea — have the trainer’s briefing at the office so that every trainer involved carries their own materials home.  Right except that those using public transport wouldn’t want to carry those heavy bags of materials either.  For my first teaching assignment, the materials were not even ready by the time of trainer’s briefing because the teacher in charge was still scrutinizing the contents.

Now that the Operations department is aware of my availability and delivery service, they have been asking me to be LTs for a number of projects!  Which is good for me on one hand because I get more assignments and more money, and the rest of the trainers on the same project like working with me because they do not have to worry about carrying the required materials.  But the truth of the matter is, I want to be a corporate trainer, not run workshops for school children.

I am somewhat fulfilling my childhood dream and following in my father’s footsteps.  But if I want to be true to myself, this is not where my trainer’s journey is suppose to take me.  I know this journey will be short.  For now, it is still good experience because I am exposed to education and interacting with school teachers and students.  But I don’t want to waste too much time on this side trajectory.


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