Lawyers. I’ve been running one annually recurring project for the last six years. For five of those six years we plugged along, meeting leadership intent, and getting the job done mostly by convincing a bunch of other organizations to play nicely in this particular sandbox. The key, mainly, was in finding ways to make it easy for all of these other organizations to say yes when we asked for something. Enter the lawyers. This year, we seems bound and determined to create roadblocks where there were none before and actively seek out ways to get to “no.” It seems to me there’s a difference between cautious and diligent and being just another toad in the road. I miss the cautious and diligent advice we use to get.
Amazon. Today I talked to Amazon’s customer service line for the 3rd time about getting my account un-suspended. That’s after spending a few hours pinging tweets back and forth with their Twitter customer service team. Current status is that no one is apparently able to tell me why the people who manage charge back issues haven’t and/or aren’t able to resolve this. I’m told the issue has been elevated to the next support tier… and I should hear “something” in the next 24-48 hours. That’s all well and good, I suppose, until just after that conversation, when Amazon sent me another email claiming that I haven’t returned something they acknowledged I had already returned several weeks ago, so that will be a separate, unrelated fight with my favorite online retailer as soon as our primary issue is resolved. I’m expecting that to be some time in December based on the current rate of progress.
High water. There’s a tropical storm headed for New Orleans. The city is already flooding. Grand total of things that we have collectively learned about living on the low ground since Katrina: Zero.
Usually I dread the moment when I have to schlep upstairs to the vast wing of the building reserved for the legal office. That long walk almost always results in discussions that end up taking something that should be quick and simple and making it into something drawn out and complicated beyond all reason. Every now and then, though, whatever ill-tempered gods lawyers pray to throw me a bone and let me emerge from their lair more or less unscathed. I went there today fully prepared to fight tooth and nail in the hopes that common sense would prevail. I spent far more time preparing than is strictly reasonable. If I knew how to gird my loins I would have done that too.
Because this is a fair blog and I believe in giving credit where it’s due, I have to admit that today they actually made it easy. Common sense prevailed against the gathered forces of arcane policy and regulatory guidance. I get to do exactly what I want in the way I wanted to do it. I can’t actually point to another instance when I’ve had this experience… and of course that also makes me vaguely nervous because I know all gods tend to be fickle and vengeful if given half an opportunity. Knowing that, I beat a hasty retreat back to my hole as quickly as possible in hopes of escaping any further notice.
People complain that I never have anything positive to say… and I hope this post will serve to clarify that I will, indeed, sing praises… on the rare occasion when something praiseworthy actually happens… in a world that is so often stupid and bad and wrong.
OK, well I might not have been planning for the actual end of the world, but I certainly spent a slice of the morning signing a lot of paperwork that will kick at my own personal world’s end. After all, nothing says happy holidays like planning out your own demise. Putting a will in order was something I’ve needed to do for a long time, but that doesn’t make the process any more enjoyable. Suffice to say, this Friday’s theme has largely been, “Wow, being an adult sort of sucks.”
I’ve never believed in being able to plan for every potential contingency, but I really do feel a little better having some basic guidelines in place in the event I wander off the sidewalk and get hit by a bus tomorrow. Frankly, before my time comes I’m planning on technology reaching a level where I can just download myself to the network and live on indefinitely as electrons… because really, what does the world need more than my brain in a computer with nothing but time to spew out new blog posts on into the infinite future?
If you have a cube with a direct line of sight to the Executive Office of the UberBoss, it’s really best not to fall asleep watching the TV mounted to the wall across from you. It makes you look like a dumbass. Far more importantly, it makes me look like a dumbass.
Maybe I should just confiscate their desk chair tomorrow. It’s probably harder to fall asleep if you’re standing up… Though I’m not sure I’d be surprised to see it. I wonder if that’s even legal. I think that’ll be on the list of things to ask the lawyer tomorrow.
Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.