My workplace offers several training courses that are nominally optional, but that are being heavily marketed by HR as just what the doctor ordered in terms of shaping up our skills and giving us what it takes to shine in our jobs. I have looked at what is offered and determined that the courses offered are unlikely to be helpful to me as they are "basic skills" classes in subjects in which I have significant or extensive experience. For example, one of the courses is a basic course on how to use a computer, while I have extensive experience in IT and have been using computers for 30 years.
I am a little worried that, by not enrolling in these courses, I am offending management (or HR) or limiting my career growth (e.g. maybe there are whispers in management saying "No, we can't promote @RobertColumbia, he hasn't taken the basic computer skills course, and all our non-entry level jobs require computer skills.").
How can I determine to what extent I am expected to take these courses? I am interested in building my skills, but not very interested in spending time and company resources sitting in a class that is far below my level ("This is a mouse and you can click on it, yes yes, now let's all try it! Now, does anyone know what the Internet is?"), and possibly preventing a co-worker who actually needs the class from actually taking it because I enrolled in the last seat.
Obvious options that I see:
Just do nothing and wait to see if I am told to take the courses. E.g. "Mr. @RobertColumbia, your annual performance review is as follows: Why didn't you take the Basic Computer Skills course? Everyone at this company must know how to send and receive email and know that a megabyte is not a kind of medical emergency. You are being placed on a Performance Improvement Plan until you enroll in and complete the Basic Computer Skills course."
Ask my supervisor directly whether or not I am expected to take the courses given my current skillset. I am worried that this option may result in blowback or a negative impression from my supervisor, or that I will receive a pat or incomplete answer (e.g. they may just repeat the official spiel that the courses are optional, not telling me that passing them is an unwritten requirement for promotion).
- Just enroll in the classes anyway, sitting quietly and trying not to get angry at the silliness of it all.
- Ask if there is a placement test, pretest, exam equivalency, or pre-enrollment counseling that I can take to determine whether or not I need the courses. E.g. "I'm not sure if I need to enroll in the Basic Computer Skills course, is there a pretest I can take?"
My inclination is to go with #4, as it both signals to management that I am interested in skill-building while also indicating to them that I have, or may have, some skills that they may not be fully aware of and that I am also sensitive to using company resources wisely.
This is not an IT employer and I am not in an IT role.