Next semester, it's Intro to (Corporate) Logic

Programmer pilot fish works for a big company, but at night he also teaches some introductory computing courses at the local technical college -- including Intro to Windows.

And he likes it. "It can be frustrating on the first night trying to explain that pressing Ctrl-Alt-Del one key at a time will not allow you to sign on," he admits. "But watching people who couldn't sign on to a computer mature to where they're downloading pictures from a digital camera, zipping them up and then e-mailing them after six three-hour classes is very rewarding to me."

One of his students looks a little familiar at the first class of the new semester, so fish isn't surprised when she stops by his desk the next day. Turns out she works in the mail room, and at age 52 she figures if she's ever going to get a better job, she'll need some fundamental computer skills. Good for her, thinks fish.

At the next week's class, fish is chatting with her in the lab and mentions how nice it is that their employer has such a generous policy for tuition reimbursement.

"She looked at me and said she was told our employer wouldn't reimburse her for the class," says fish. "She was paying for it out of her pocket. She didn't know why; when she submitted the paperwork ahead of time to HR, she was turned down.

"I called HR the next morning to ask why this was. The HR representative told me our employer had purchased some computer-based training programs and they were located on the company intranet.

"Introduction to Windows was one of those online courses, so HR didn't see the need to reimburse anyone for taking a class.

"I asked how someone was supposed to take the online class if they couldn't sign on to the computer.

"The HR rep told me that was not my problem and to stop trying to drum up business for my evening classes."

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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