Contractors and learning at home
"Maybe that's why we stay relevant and sharper to get brought in to firefight when the projects go off the rails. Maybe I should just treat it as a 9-5 and have no interest in it outside strict work requirements, but in my opinion that attitude is the cancer and rot that see's corporate projects throw money down the drain trying to get even simple things to work."
My experience is different, contractors are neither infallible, neither the most knowledgeable about all subjects.
In most of places that I have been, most the time something has gone off the rails in a project, the permanent staff was well aware of the shortcomings, and some times it was the contractors who screwed up all.
For a contractor is quite easy to stay relevant if A) They concentrate in a few single areas of expertise, and B) They do not have a million other things to do like chase people all the time to figure out what is what they want.
Usually contractors are hired for a purpose and let to work on that purpose. Permanent staff has other burdens, one of the the internal politics of the company, something the contractors do not have to endure most of the time.
Home training is not always possible, I would like to see how someone can get home training on SANs/NAs/Load Balancer and other pieces of high-end hardware equipment. At least in my case I do not see how I can justify to have a 10 grand load balancer under my bed. Software on the other hand is not an issue, there are always nice trial versions of mostly anything, and anything that doesn't have a free 30 day trial is not worth it to learn.
Learning while at work?, hell yes! We'll all benefit from it, me my colleagues and my employer!