At some point around 2010, while working in the basement of the Pentagon....I worked with an Army guy who had this part-time job on the side. No....he didn't really bring this up to the commander (there's an actual regulation that says 'other' jobs need to be referred to your commander so that he can explain your dedication angle to the Army).
This part-time job? Well....we spent around ten minutes talking over this and I simply had a curious nature how this worked.
You see....he'd get a call around the middle of the week and there would be this 'seminar' that he'd teach on Saturday and Sunday....typically six to eight hours each day. It was a one-on-one seminar, which I felt was awful strange.
So the topic here? Well....email, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
There were these folks getting hired for high and lofty positions in DC (GS15 or above). Basically, they were coming from some location outside of the beltway, and they simply hadn't never used the internet to the degree that this job demanded. So they were paying some guy to teach them everything they needed to know.....over a weekend.
So I asked about the pay here, and for a full-up weekend....this guy would make $700. Taxed of course. He figured the company in question was taking in near $1000 for the service.
The key theme? Being discreet.
So I asked....are there really that many folks who don't know this level of technology? In a full year that he'd been connected to this job.....he'd had roughly thirty weekends occupied by this job, and he figured the company had at least twenty part-time people who were in this service occupation.
His take was that various people in the 1990s had stepped to the side and missed the whole introduction stage of Microsoft. Now these were the people facing 2010, being hired into lofty positions, and unable to perform at expectations.
All of this made sense to me. Maybe they'd pick up enough to solve their problem.
But then he said this odd thing. Being with someone for an entire weekend....one-on-one....you reach a point where you are getting to know the individual, their background, their skills, their knowledge, their common sense level. Most of the people he met (remember, this is an Army NCO)....probably weren't the type that you'd go and hire for leadership positions. In some way, when they stepped to the side in the 1990s and missed the technology 'era'.....they were missing a lot of different trends and eras. Yet here they were....being brought into DC to lead some group or agency.