Maybe it’s because training is the grown-up equivalent of school lessons, or maybe it’s because I work in a country where the academic year takes a long break to allow children to help get in the harvest (might be time for a re-think on this policy…), but my training year has always “started” in September. And thanks to the miracle of modern technology, you are reading this while I am doing my very first training session of the new year, down in Gibraltar. (And if, thanks to the M of MT, you are reading this while sitting by a tropical pool and being served peeled grapes by a native beauty/stud, I don’t want to know about it, thank you. Gibraltar is very nice and all, but peeled grapes it ain’t.)
I know I’m not alone in this perseverance with the academic year, because I frequently get requests from MLROs for training in September and October “while the staff are all fresh and keen”. When I first started out, like all small business owners I worried about cash flow. If the phone didn’t ring for a week, I began to worry: what if no-one ever wanted any AML training ever again? Had ML been de-criminalised and I hadn’t noticed? But after about five years, I realised that the AML training business is predictably cyclical: peaks in September/October, February/March and May/June, and quiet times in between. I learnt (the hard way, as they say) not to visit Guernsey during the week containing May Day and Liberation Day, and not to try to sell a workshop during July on the basis that “work is quiet then” (“because we’re all on holiday, you silly woman”).
So now I am much more relaxed about quiet months, and use them to replenish my energy stores, plan ahead, read reports, update my own training skills, and – let’s be honest – watch “Dallas” on DVD. (It’s coming back! With Bobby with grey hair!!!! I do love a grizzled oil-man with high moral standards.) And after I’ve done all of that vital work, I’m raring to go into the new year, pencils sharpened and notebook at the ready. Remember the story about the hospital janitor who, when asked what his job was, said “I’m helping to save lives”? Well, I’ve decided to stop saying “I provide AML training” and start saying “I help to catch the world’s worst criminals”. Join me!