Voyage of Learning

This morning I embarked on my first live-action procurement class. It’s two weeks long. The instructor is much livelier than Procurement Woman and Procurement Man, plus the school has a nice break room with generous refreshments. (Someday a bureaucrat blogger will review the private sector purveyors of training to federal employees and their amenities. Input welcome in the comments.)

Life lesson of the day: sweat and sunscreen can really highlight lady whiskers. Second life lesson of the day: olive oil really soothes the delicate skin of the upper lip and chin post-waxing. Much better than the awful chemical they package with the little Sally Hansen facial waxing kits.

Games People Play

I attended a Virtual Human Resources Training Conference last week that was offered by the Office of Personnel Management. I don’t currently work as an HR specialist, but I am trying to stay as looped in as possible so that I can eventually find my way back into the HR fold. This was a good investment of $95 In Ur Takses in so far as it provided me with at least two nuggets of information that I can use/share with colleagues – even non-HR ones – and one or two ideas I might be able to use later. The format was novel, at least for me as someone who rarely participates in web chats, and the networking was more robust than I expected for a virtual event. Thank you, OPM.

The last session I “attended” was one on gamification, featuring a case study from FEMA. I don’t know from Game Theory, but I have watched my kids play a lot of Fallout 3 and Assassin’s Creed, and I once played a couple of hours of Cards Against Humanity. I have also taken a lot of online training for my contracting warrant (two more in-person classes to go and I’ll finally be eligible!) and things HR. Friends, online training for office work can be deadly dull. Given the potential for procurement and HR matters to go horribly, horribly wrong, it seems like some game-based training for these disciplines could be reasonably entertaining as well as memorable and effective.

“Bureaucracies create games – they are just games that are in no sense fun.” (Andre Spicer paraphase of David Graeber)

If any attempt to dismantle bureaucracy creates more bureaucracy (Graeber again), and if big fixes create bigger unintended consequences and more fragility (as I understand my other brain hero Nicholas Nassim Taleb to be saying), then maybe the simple introduction of more play into the seriousness of bureaucratic games is the best chance we bureaucrats have of disrupting the system in a positive sense (making the rules of the game more transparent, helping our taxpaying customers “win”) short of simply throwing down our rule books and going off into the woods to live deliberately or whatever.

Look Upon Procurement Man

Image of the guide to my online contracting class

 

Procurement Man is the star of CON 100, the first of many classes I will complete online and in person to obtain my contracting warrant. I have been spending lots of quality time with him between office tasks and in my vast amounts of spare time. Just wanted to share.

I hope someday that Procurement Man gets his own video game spinoff.