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Friendly Neighborhood Roach

New Employee Training

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I'm wrapping up my first week on the job and my branch lead hasn't been here to really get me started. I have been given some advice from my co-workers here and there as to some resources to familiarize myself with. With this mostly independent week of studying and learning, I've learned that I have a lot to learn! My branch lead is returning this upcoming week and I have a couple of questions as I attempt to guess what is in store for me.

 

What kind of training is typical for a new hire?

  • Scope and detail of what I'll be taught.
  • Formal class structure or informally just shown the ropes

How long before I'm expected to actually be useful? 

 

I know I could easily ask people around the office about this, but I wanted to give this site a try too. I hope this wont be too divisive among  the community! 

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There is no typical.  Every place is different.  I recommend that you ask for work, rather than waiting for it -- and once you get it, talk to your neighbors.  Professional dialogue is of crucial importance.  And read, read, read.

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Welcome! When I first started as a Contract Specialist, my organization had no primer or listing of tasks and systems for a newcomer...so I made one based on the experience I was gaining and called it something like  Welcome Hot Sheet!  It was kept and given out after me. 

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When I first started out I was given an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that I was to follow for the first two years.  It listed the formal training (class room and online) and on the job training I was to achieve over those first two years.  The on the job training started with small purchases, small dollar single source negotiated actions thru closeout actions. 

Here's a link for further research on IDP:

https://www.opm.gov/WIKI/training/Individual-Development-Plans.ashx

If your organization does not use or have an IDP then I would suggest that when you meet with your supervisor you develop an IDP or something similar.

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My organization likes to first get people familiar with the contract writing system used first. Then start some formal training from the ground up (CON 90/FAR Boot Camp first), while also having a starting workload. 

jj20874 is 100% right about professional dialogue. I would suggest in addition to learning the ropes in that way, seek out one who appears to have the most knowledge of your team's main acquisition focus (supplies/services/construction/etc.). Think of this person as a mentor. He/She won't be hard to find after a couple of weeks there and isn't always the person making the most money either. 

Suggestion: Don't let it burn you out, because it can in weeks if allowed. Being a CS is rewarding, fun and exciting career field, but comes with a lot of moving parts (Agency Supplements/FAR/USC/etc.) to catch onto.

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