Friday, December 05, 2008

I survived Rookie-O

New Rackspace employees face five full days of orientation.  Your first day, always a Monday, is a "rapid immersion" program that does the usual HR stuff, plus a tour of the main (soon to be ex-) campus, some background on the company and Security 101.

Then, once a month, all the new hires have a four-day Rookie Orientation course.  So if you are unlucky enough to start the week of the course, you have five days in a row of this stuff.  I was fighting to stay interested by day 2 and gave up completely after that.  Days 3 and 4 were spent reading programming.reddit on my iPhone.  I wasn't the only one; on my team of eight, five of us had our Waste Of Time meters in the red zone in very short order.  We came in dead last out of six teams for the final tally.

I can see the value of a course like this.  I really can.  But four days is murder.  Cut the 90 minute slots to 60.  All of them.  Most of them could stand some tightening up anyway.  Force the speakers to cut the fat.  That should get you most of the way to 3 days right there.  If you still need to cut more, drop the skits.  I know they are near and dear to your heart -- they are not to the introverts in the room -- but skits and prep is 2.5 hours of time.  Hard to argue with that.  And if you still need more time, add an hour to a day or two.  That's still better than sretching it out another full day, for sure.  I haven't watched a clock with so much interest since high school.

Actually if I were in charge I would cut it down to one day and present the rest of the information in printed form.  It's so much more information-dense than lecturing, and this was all at the 101 level, so you don't need experts to ask questions of.  The only thing you would use lectures for is the CXO guys so the rookies get to meet them.

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