New Job, Hostile Trainer. What should I do!?

posted 2 years ago in Career
Post # 16
554 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

sparklebee19 :  I think a lot of people here are giving you good advice and you’re either choosing not to hear it or blind to taking responsibility for your own actions. And then at the first sign of hearing someone else couldn’t hack it you’re looking for a transfer too. Sure, maybe this trainer-trainee relationship is already strained beyond the bounds of anything you’re going to fix anytime soon, but I think you should heed a lot of advice here for the future. 

To me, it sounds like your trainer wants someone who listens, is able to pick up on concepts quickly, and has proven themselves capable of taking over the work on their own (which is what 99% of trainers are looking for). Just from what you described here you just aren’t there yet, and getting there ASAP should be your primary focus – consult your notes frequently before you ask questions, ask colleagues for tips for improvement, practice on your own (if possible), and listen as much as you can. Do things his way for a while. It’s fine to try new things when you’ve been in a position for a bit, but I can definitely see why it would be offputting that the newbie who needs repeated instructions for how to do basic tasks is ignoring advice.

Post # 17
507 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

sparklebee19 :  I agree with a PP, learn his way of doing the job first. This will speed up the learning curve. As you become familiar, you’ll learn your way of getting the job done. 

I am all for “why” questions, but pick a good time to ask your why questions. And make sure you are asking them in a positive and enthusiastic tone.

My advice would be to write detailed notes, follow the process he trained you, and focus on your tasks/duties.

As for him, he sounds like a well respected employee who has built a solid process. Unfortunately, those long term employees are the hardest to deal with (in some cases). They have no interest in innovation or creativity.

IMO, a trainer should be patient, thorough, and learn how to train diverse personalities because everyone learns at a different pace. A good trainer should recognize this. Also, he can setup follow up training to provide feedback and answer questions.

However, IF he was to setup additional training, make a list of questions and scenarios to show him you are understanding the job. 

Aside from that, there really isn’t much you can do other than prove to him and the team that you are smart and can perform the duties you were hired to perform. Or start looking for another job.

Sorry you’re going through this!


Post # 18
108 posts
Blushing bee

sparklebee19 :  It does sound like a very frustrating situation and not being in it, I can’t say whether or not it might just be that your trainer really is a jerk – he might be! That said, a couple things from your response:

  1. Personal things – totally fair, I just wanted to explain why he might have reacted the way he did and why I would stay away form personal stuff in the future. I talk about personal stuff with some of my coworkers but again, these are people I have worked with for a long time and who know how to do their jobs. I want people to focus on job first, personal second which is why I would find this offputting in a trainee.
  2. Just my read? I would find these questions frustrating. “Why do you prefer hard-drives over CDs?” I could live with – at the end of the day I am training you and this does not seem that important, I just want you to do it, so I might sigh internally but it is a fair question. Adding in “because other people use CDs and this is more cost-effective for the company” would make me feel like you were questioning my expertise. Not saying that is a fair response but it would be my honest one. The answer is probably simple (data security! more space so less stuff to file and organize! higher compatibility as fewer and fewer computers have CD drives!) and yes, your trainer should give you one, but the way it is phrased makes it sound a bit like “Why are you doing x when y is better for the company?” and I can see him thinking “how about you trust me to know more about what is good for the company after working here for x years than you after 3 months?” It is NOT necessarily just preference, even if you think it is, and if he is seen as being good at his job it can’t hurt to do things his way.
  3. Again, fair. But better if it happens even less!
  4. This is a hard one as we cannot know your exact situation but this could have something to do with critical thinking skills. While he may not have taught you about this specifically, he may have thought this was something you should be able to figure out (for example I am a project manager and I would expect anyone I was training – who was familiar with the industry –  to know the core parts of a project proposal even if they were new to the company. If you gave me one without a schedule I would be concerned about attention to detail)

To be clear – I am not discounting the possibility that your trainer really is hostile – he might be. What I want to do is offer a different perspective and give you some ideas to try if you decide you want to stick it out with this position and try to make this relationship work.

My one overarching piece of advice though? DO THINGS HIS WAY. Once you are established in your position you can create your own workflows and figure out how to adapt the processes to meet your preferences. For now however, he is showing you (what he believes to be) the best way to do things and you choosing to do things differently because you don’t understand why he does things a certain way is only going to end up making you look bad both to him and to managers (because mistakes and errors will likely be blamed on your unwillingness to do things “the way you were taught”)

Either way – good luck!

Post # 19
6177 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

I think you’ve been given good suggestions about things you could do better but I will also say that some of the things he’s said to you were asshole-y statements “You do have a degree right?” Something about that right there comes across as so …. something. I can’t even think of the word. But I would have been pissed and I would have immediately requested someone else to train me after that.

If there was already an instance of someone who worked with him in the past asking for a new trainer, it could be that he’s a shit trainer. There’s a difference between being able to do a job and being able to teach others how. Just as there’s a difference in being able to be productive in your role and managing others to be productive in theirs.

I will also say that I’ve been very fortunate to be able to challenge people in my work environments who were being disrespectful or inappropriate so I tend to do so promptly. You don’t get good work from employees by treating them poorly, talking down to them, or demoralizing them.

Post # 20
219 posts
Helper bee

I tend to have similar issues almost everywhere I’ve ever worked.  It’s an alpha person thing.  As another pp stated, you’re coming across as eager and that’s not a bad thing, but can be interpreted as a threatening thing to those in leadership roles.  Your trainer has a lot of seniority and whether he’s consciously doing it or not, he is making sure you know your place.  belittling you at oppurtune moments, being completely unreceptive to more efficient processes you may suggest, etc.  This is a person who recognizes your potential to be a star employee and is thus intimidated.  You are doing nothing wrong.  But if you want to construct a peaceful work atmosphere for yourself, you are best to keep your head down and do as you’re told.  At least for the time being.  I always try early on to speak with other employees, get a sense of who you can trust to talk to about these things, who you can approach with serious questions who are actually helpful.  You’re trainer may be the most knowledgable person in the office but that doesn’t mean he is the most supportive mentor for you.  And it may appear on the outside that everyone loves this guy, but they may also just be putting on a face and playing the office game.  Once you get more enmeshed in the culture, I bet you’ll encounter coworkers with similar experiences and opinions.  I’m sure you aren’t the first person he’s rubbed the wrong way out of his 14 years there.  Do your time, and do the best you can with the tools you’ve been given right now.  I would not continue to approach or engage with him any more than is necessary and never initiate any kind of conversation which he could miscontrue as argumentative.  When you’re given a task, smile and nod.  When you’re called out for a mistake, smile and nod.  Eventually you will find your own groove, you will move up in rank just by nature of sticking it out, and you will garner more respect with time.  Starting a new job is always uncomfortable.  And as cold as it can sound, you don’t go there to make friends.  You are there for the paycheck.  If no one likes you, sorry not sorry.  That should be your motto for now.  It will become more comfortable the more you learn how things are done there and how the social politics of the office work but it won’t be something that happens over night.  I have been at my current job for exactly one year and I just now finally feel comfortable with almost every person.  I’ve learned which people to say good morning to and which people need you to stay our of their way and I produce the best quality of work I can with the exact instructions I’ve been given.  It’s all a game and the sooner you give in the easier it will be.

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