Eating Words

Sometimes I should eat my words.

I admit. I was wrong.

All these years I didn’t feel like the DoD acquisition curriculum was very applicable to me and my day job. Yes, I managed a product line for five years. Yes, I’ve been involved in source selections, writing performance work statements and statements of work, and managing projects. Yes, I’ve had to manage integrated product teams, worked with integrating new technologies and had to keep up with innovations in the field of learning and technology. Oh, and yes, I did work for an acquisition training organization for the AT&L workforce.

So, why didn’t I think acquisition courses were applicable?

Perhaps when I first took them they were over my head. Terms like ACAT 1 and ACAT 2 didn’t mean much to me. I was managing development of one specific learning type – online continuous learning modules -that required use of the instructional design methodology to develop.

Now, it’s three years later and I’ve managed a large support contract, led up a new mobile learning initiative, and been involved in all of these areas that fit nicely into the acquisition construct – acquisition of products and services, logistics, program management, systems engineering, and finance.

So, eating words I am.

This past month I FINALLY got DAWIA Level I certified in program management. Something I started almost eight years ago. I actually enjoyed SYS 101 – the last course requirement on the list.

Now, I’m surging through the requirements for DAWIA Level II certification and hope to finish by December 2012. I’ve got the experience in, but now getting the formal training means more. I can actually relate to it and understand most of the terms that are used. The word “enjoy” actually comes to mind this time around. Yes, I am enjoying the courses I’m taking. Who knew?

I’ve even finished some of the requirements for DAWIA Level III certification as well.

It is humbling to realize that sometimes we just aren’t prepared for the learning experiences we need. In this case, I needed to experience some of these things before taking the formal training. Perhaps I am a hands on learner that needs the trial and error in real life before attempting to go through the formal process. Or, maybe that’s how I gain my mental model.

Either way, THIS experience is now part of my story. A story I will share with others in situations where they are stubborn, proud and otherwise pre-occupied like me. Right now I’m later than I should be in getting certified, but “better late than never” is definitely on my mind.

This won’t change my job for now, but I can’t help but think of what possibilities await from being willing to take this step forward.

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