Putting Out To Pasture


Have you ever wondered how people find themselves put out to pasture from a job or career they love?  Was it their choice, or was it something else that caused it to happen?

I’d like to believe that one is put out to pasture when what they provide in the way of skills are no longer current or helpful.  Because these skills became dated and the individual no longer sought development to keep current, they were no longer serving a purpose.  They were no longer useful to their company, or any company for that matter.

Yet, what happens when your skills are applicable and current, but simply not valued?  Now we may be getting to a reason for being put out to pasture through no fault of your own.  Companies that would rather settle for less experience to save money, and roll the dice to see if they can get the same outcomes, put talent out to pasture.

Some 27 years ago when I got into the training development profession, I was working for a major bank that spent a lot of time, attention and money on employee development.  We were no different than any of the big banks when it came to development.  Yet back then even the small to mid-sized banks found ways to develop their employees.

Fast forward, and today the big banks have cut way back, and the small to mid-size train only required compliance to their employees.  When once it was the responsibility of the company to build skills they wanted their employees to have, now it is reversed, and the employee better figure out how life work’s on their own to survive.  Thank goodness for YouTube!

So when it comes time to hire a Training Director, a regular trainer or a really nice person will fill the ticket.  No need to understand how to manage people and processes, or think strategically, or even discuss adult learning principles, just make it look like we have a training function.  And if we have a choice, being a subject matter expert is more important than having a training background at all.

After a year of trying to convince companies that a well run training department can return many times over the investment, I have decided that it is time to put myself out to pasture.  Twice I was told that only female candidates would be considered, and I lost count how many times I was told that industry experience was vital to running a training function.  Then much to my amazement the fact that I had been consulting with various industries over the past 10 years meant “I didn’t know how to work in a corporate environment anymore” (25 year old recruiter) I decided to stop trying to convince people that experience matters.

But while I am going to stop trying to make the world better for learning development, I have not decided to retire either.  I am launching a new adventure in the travel industry.  And if someone ever wants to tap my skills for training, this old horse will come back to the training barn in a heartbeat.