“Gonna do my very best and it ain’t no lie. If you put me to the test, if you let me try”
While life winds down at my house on Sunday evening, I find myself reflecting on the past week. Friday was my last day at GEICO as an Instructional Designer/Developer. Over the last fifteen years with the company, I started at the ground level in claims then I transitioned over to a Claims Systems Coordinator due to my programming and hardware background. It was an unplanned move, but, honestly, if I had stayed in our claims department, I would not have lasted another 6 months. This job put me in the position to win a Corporate Quality award for creating a database that houses all our claims adjuster’s performance numbers in one place. Fast forward three more years to 2007 where a position in our home office opened that would allow me to use my knowledge of design and development software in the training filed.
Rewind a few years to the early 2000s. Prior to coming to GEICO, I finished college with a fine arts degree and had every intention of going into a teaching job. It is all I have ever wanted to do. Teaching in some capacity has been in my blood since high school. Unfortunately, it would be a long road through some rough waters before I would get into the training or teaching field.
Back to my GEICO track, I applied for the training development position at the push of a lot of my co-workers and friends. The position was mine, but the numbers were not there to move my, my wife, my 10-year-old step-daughter and my 4-month-old son across the country to a location that had quadruple the cost of living. We came to an agreement 2 weeks later and I was making a huge life changing event! It was the best move for my family, my career, and my heart. I would embark on a 10-year journey that would enlighten me in the ways of training. I had the technical expertise, so all that was needed now was to get the theoretical and psychological side down. I grew at a slow rate over the first 7 years, due to lack of push from our company for extended learning.
In contrast, the last two and a half years put more training knowledge in my head than all the past 7 years’ total. The 2016 ATD Tecknowledge conference completely opened my mind and created connections to the world of Learning and Development that catapulted me deep into this amazing profession. I always knew I wanted to teach, but this was like drinking fire! While I made many connections at the conference, nothing would be more influential than a small video chat formerly known as L&D Talk. It is now known as TLDChat, but the leader of both of these ventures it the true enabler of the flood of interest and knowledge I have obtained for the learning and development field. Brent Schlenker brings together some of the most talented and specialized guest to discuss learning and development subjects every day at http://tldc.us/tlcdchat-schedule/ . Every. Day. Yes, that is not a typo. He is dedicated to sharing his knowledge, or the knowledge of a guest every day for one hour. I have gained more insight and focus in my chosen profession because of this show than from any other outlet. I also read articles and follow some amazing people on social media, but this is top of my world right now.
Through this growth of knowledge, I have obtained the perfect position for where I want my career to go. On July 31, I will be starting a new position at Navy Mutual Insurance as the training specialist. What does that title mean? Everything. It means I will be a one-man team that will be setting up an entire training environment for this company from the ground up. This includes setting up and monitoring an LMS, classroom training, eLearning, budget, and training evaluation. This is the most exciting and terrifying change that has ever happened to me. I may not be 100% prepared, but I have the best support system behind me through the connections I have made through TLDChat and friends that have reached out to me personally from my old position.
Bringing this back around. Friday, July, 22 was my last day at GEICO. I didn’t leave the company because I had problems with the company itself. I am leaving the company because there is not outlet for me to apply all the knowledge I have gained over the last 10 years. So, I am moving on. I am moving on to a new chapter in my training career and I could not be happier. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am going to chronicle my journey through this adventure. I am sharing this for two reasons. First, I want to share my experience, in true TLDChat form, with anyone who may be able to garnish any useful information from it. Second, I want to be able to look back and see where I have come from and make sure that I am keeping on track with some of the goals and check points I will be setting. Through all of this, I would love to hear your insight as well. Interaction is preferred and encouraged. Thank you to each one of you that have already offered your services behind the scene and publicly.
Picture: Warren Wong