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Inadequate training in new job affecting my confidence
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This is the original problem from an employee...

I have worked in IT (mostly programming) for over ten years. I just started a new job with a very large (global) company about two months ago. My assignment is on a team that is responsible for an extremely complex system. The system itself is based on a programming language that I am very familiar with, but architecturally, it is not intuitively easy to understand and therefore very difficult to troubleshoot or modify.

My biggest problem is that I have received little or no formal training in this system since day one. For the most part, I have been left to learn the system on my own. There are two or three other people that I can consult when I have a question (and I have a LOT of questions), but they are not always available. The documentation itself is not very well-written or organized, in my opinion, which leads to even more confusion. My supervisor has told me that he can also attempt to assist me as much as possible, but not to any great extent because he also does not clearly understand the system himself.

After a couple of months of constant trial and error and non-stop questions to my coworkers, I have really made very little progress in regard to understanding how the system works at all. I am finding that it is now adversely affecting my confidence and morale. In every other job that I have had, there has been at least a moderate amount of organized training, where other employees have sat with me for extended periods of time and actually walked through procedures with me whenever necessary. That is not the case here, and I think that is mainly because my other team members are so overburdened with their own responsibilities, they simply don't have time to formally train a new employee. Even more oddly, nobody seems to care that I am pretty much being paid a decent salary without really having any clue about what I am supposed to be doing (at least not yet). However, I care a great deal about it. This makes me angry and frustrated, and feeling abandoned (and also in doubt about my future here). I want to be productive, but under these circumstances, it's just not possible.

I really don't know what to do. I have a meeting scheduled with my boss later in the week, but I'm not totally comfortable with telling him that I have no idea of what I am doing after two months. Sometimes I feel that they are taking for granted that I should just already know some of the things that have me perplexed, but if that is the case, then their technical evaluation (which I passed prior to being hired by them) is lacking, and they hired me for a position that is over my head - which is their problem, not mine. I just don't know.

I guess I'm really just venting here more than anything else. Hopefully the meeting with my boss will help the situation, but I'd still like to know if my scenario is common elsewhere - and how others have dealt with it.  
Employee: anonymous
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A visitor of this site offers this as a possible solution...
Whatever you do, do NOT compare where you work to other places you used to work and that the training you rec'd at other said places was decent. I was recently hired to work at an alarm company mainly because I'd had experience in another one but then fired because I compared the new one with the former one saying that I'd had better training. This new company used a blurry overhead projector to "illustrate" what their software looked like. It was impossible to make out the words. Then, because I'd had experience in the same field,(from two years prior) I was expected to, like you, figure out the system essentially on my own, whilst the others in my training group had one-on-one training during the day when the company was most highly staffed. I was told by the operations manager that if I agreed to go immediately to my shift of choice, the swing shift, that I would receive just as much training as the others. I was actually supposed to receive more! "Intensive accelerated training" was how it was put to me. That turned out to be a bald-faced lie! I was seated in the middle of two experienced operators but the one who was supposed to have trained me admitted that she had never trained someone before and she had to carry on with her duties as though I was not there. We were supposed to constantly be on a split headphone set; but more often than not, she removed her half and I did not hear her half of the conversation. I was not allowed to answer the telephones as of yet due to lack of experience (I'd gotten yelled at by a technician from one of the multiple companies with which they dealt, because I didn't know their system yet..this was only after a short time of training; less than ten consecutive days..and the tech asked for a supervisor. There were no supervisors on duty. I had advised him that one was not available, whereupon he wanted a more experienced operator. Out of the three on duty, no one was immediately available). Also during the first week when I was supposed to have received this "intensive training" the person assigned to me called out sick. I thought that the other lead operator could train me since he'd been with the company the longest, but he flat out refused. This company supposedly covers alarm systems in every state yet there were maybe a total of five operators on swing shift on a good day. The operator to my left spoke as though she had a mouthful of marbles. Needless to say, I felt stupid asking question after question which most operators seemed reluctant to answer. I also lacked the confidence to answer the phones based upon the reluctance of the more experienced operators to help me. Just because I'd worked at a similar company it was assumed that I would know all of the rules for this one and that the software would be a cinch. It wasn't. It was quite different than what I'd worked with previously (two years prior- - did they expect that I would keep it all in the forefront of my memory banks, regardless?)I felt as though I was expected to be the "star" pupil without having sufficiently learned. I had even told them that I learn more by doing than simply by reading or watching over someone's shoulder. There was absolutely no feedback, good or bad. During my second week of training, I'd had split days off so that I could keep an appointment that I'd made a month earlier. I was also expected to take off the same days as my "trainer". That had to be switched because of my previous appointment. I had also, previously asked to go back on the day shift, just for a few days, not the entirety of my training, to better get acquainted with the system. I guess that my wanting to learn faster or at least at the same rate as the rest of the people in my group was a bad thing to request. Even the woman who was supposed to be on the midnight shift was kept on days, because it was acknowledged that those on midnight shift would refuse to train her. I told my immediate supervisor that if my going back on the day shift would present any problems, then to not bother; I would stick to swing for the duration. Apparently, my wanting to learn at the same rate as everyone else for at least a couple of days annoyed the operations mgr who bitterly complained that there were "two" trainees on day shift already. He then proceeded to tell me that he was letting me go, because I "just didn't fit in". I asked him to be more specific, he vaguely mumbled something about my making comparisons to the effective training at the other place. I guess he took it as an insult that I found the training at this place to be severely lacking. Even one of my references, a man with high governmental clearance said it sounded as though this company didn't have its sh*t together. And it doesn't. But, so you can keep your job; don't make the same mistake I did.
But what you are going through, sounds almost exactly like what I just went through; just mine was a much shorter duration.
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