Telework. This time of year, the slow choking off of my coveted weekly telework day in inevitable. This week, I moved my regular day to accommodate a meeting that ended up getting cancelled. Another meeting was scheduled creating a conflict with the day I moved it to, so slipped it to a third day and now another meeting has cropped up. I fully expect this third meeting will be cancelled or reschedule around the time I show up in the office tomorrow. My day for next week already conflicts with a meeting request. Everywhere I go I’m often met with an, “Oh, I can’t meet that day because I’m on an alternate work schedule” or “I’ll have to call in because I’m working from home that day.” I’ve clearly got “sucker” stamped on my forehead in giant block letters. I know this time of year it’s inevitable, but I was really hoping to squeeze in one more decent week before the shit began overwhelming the fan.
Voicemail. On Wednesday I got two voicemails in a row that indicated they were from my dentist. One of them was, in fact, from the dentist. The other was from a vendor I’m working with on the current party planning extravaganza… except when I called him back he said he hadn’t called my cell in weeks. So, thanks Verizon, I guess, for delivering the message both late and from the wrong source entirely. This should just serve as a reminder to everyone that voicemail is archaic and really need not be used in the modern era.
Facebook activists. I saw several posts this week decrying the fact that former Vice President Biden was being pilloried by the popular media for being a little handsy on the campaign trail. The argument was something along the lines of “why is the media talking about Biden when Trump is grabbing ’em by the pussy.” I could be wrong here, but I seem to remember the mass media making a fairly large story about that particular quote from then private citizen Trump. In fact they still trot it out from time to time. I’m pretty sure the media isn’t ignoring it… the bigger issue, perhaps, is that large swaths of the population think the job of the media is to tell them only what they want to hear and go apoplectic when it doesn’t.
1. Good ideas. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with good ideas. There is, however, a point in every project when your thoughts need to turn away from adding bells and whistles and focus in on executing the damned mission. Some guy with a bunch of stars on his collar and a shit ton of fruit salad on his chest once said “A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.” Words that we’d be well served to keep in mind.
2. Voicemail. Calling a designated customer service number and having to wait a few minutes is standard operating procedure. I got it. Calling the customer service line for a major business and then getting shunted to voicemail isn’t going to get the job done. I’m trying to give your company a not insufficient amount of money. I’m calling you at a time that is convenient for me to talk. Chances are you’ll return my call at a time that is not convenient. Then I’ll call you and leave a message. Then you’ll call me and leave a message and so on. Instead of that, I’ll just go ahead and call the next closest registered dealer that handles the same product and spend my money at their location. Thanks for playing, though.
3. Confusion. Job: “a paid position of regular employment.” Holy Quest: “a chivalric journey undertaken by a knight in order to procure or achieve a particular object or end.” More people should know the difference.
I got a call today from a number I didn’t recognize. Usually I (not so) cheerfully ignore those, but since I was working from home today, I accepted the call… at which point I started down the rabbit hole.
Them: Hi, Mr. Tharp. I’m Casey from Whatever-the-Hell-Company. I’d like to talk to you today about your prescription pain management program?
Me: Uhhh. My what now?
Them: I’m Casey from Whatever-the-Hell-Company and I’d like to talk to you today about your prescription pain management program?
Me: Yeah, I don’t have one of those.
Them: Well, Mr. Tharp, I’d like to talk to you about…”
Me: *Ends call and wishes hanging up a cell phone felt any bit as good as slamming down the receiver of an old fashioned rotary telephone*
Now this was a live person who I’m assuming was working off a script based on my three days as an inbound tele-marketing center employee. Cold calls are fine and all and since she had a pleasant voice and didn’t immediately try to sell me on Amway I was trying to be cordial… but when I’ve told you for the second time that whatever information you have is incorrect, it’s best not to keep telling me that I do, in fact, have a prescription pain management program. Frankly I feel like that’s something I’d know about.
I’ll be reinstating my policy of letting all unknown numbers ring through to voicemail immediately. I should have known better.
1. Getting moist. It finally feels like I have a good handle on the major issues that led to the basement here at Fortress Jeff regularly taking on water both over and through the side. After a good day and night of hard rain those problems may not be completely resolved, but have diminished to the point where I’m not obsessing and losing sleep over them. Now that I’ve got the water directed away from the path of least resistance, of course, it has wasted no time seeking out the path of next least resistance. In this case that path seems to be the joint between the poured concrete floor and the cinder block basement walls. In a few spots it’s not exactly a puddle, but it’s definitely darkening due to the presence of water. It’s getting moist. As much as some of you hate that word, I hate the actual issue that much and more. I get the distinct impression that the basement is going to be the ongoing bane of my existence for the duration of our stay.
2. Celebrity opinion. Celebrities are entertaining, almost by definition. In some cases they’re even pleasant to look at. However, being eye candy doesn’t qualify one to have an opinion any more informed than the rest of us. That’s why I’m always vaguely perplexed when anyone points to the celebrity-of-the-day and makes life decisions based on their opinion. I look to my celebrities for their entertainment value. That’s their skill set. Some of them are whip smart of course, but that’s not generally my first consideration when deciding to follow them on Twitter.
3. Voicemail. Looking at my phone I currently have 17 voice mail messages that I haven’t listened to. I don’t intend to listen to them. I know why those callers called and I responded with the appropriate information in a timely manner. Why in 2016 do people insist on leaving voicemail? I see your number. I’ll call you back as soon as I’m free, willing, and able to do so… but you could have saved us all a lot of time if you had just sent me a text or email in the first place. Those I get to right away.
1. Bank of America (I believe this entry represents their 2nd oak leaf cluster for the year to date). I totally understand you wanting proof that my condo is covered under a master insurance policy that secures the entire building and not just the walls of my unit. Due diligence is a good thing. I’m happy to send you whatever information you need. I’m going to be less enthused the second time I send you the same information. When you ask me for the third time to provide you with exactly the same information I’ve sent you twice already, well, I’m going to start questioning whether I can really trust you to hold my mortgage at all since you can’t seem to keep track of something as simple as the name and phone number of an insurance agent.
2. Waiting until the last minute. All rumors to the contrary, I’m actually a fan of procedures. I like knowing that there is a way to do things and that if I follow the instructions step-by-step I’ll get a predictable result. When, after following all the required steps and procedures, I find that I’ve been bumped in favor of something that’s being thrown together at the last minute without going through the same wickets, it makes me wonder if in the future it might not be better to go ahead and wait to the last minute, declare an emergency, and then do whatever the hell I want. If flying by the seat of your pants gets the same result in the end and takes 1/10th the planning time, tell me again why I should follow the actual procedures?
3. Voicemail. Yes, thanks to the wonder of modern technology you can leave a message for me on my phone that I can listen to at my convenience. You see, though, the thing is that checking voicemail is never really convenient. I see that you called. If it’s a number I recognize, I’ll call you back as soon as I can, no message needed. If it’s a number I don’t recognize, you’re going to voicemail because I don’t want to talk to you so leaving a message doesn’t really do much beyond antagonize me. More often than not I’m going to delete your message without listening to it anyway, so why not save us all some time and effort? And if you do need to hear my voice immediately and I’m not picking up, chose one of the plethora of text-based communication tools available on your phone and send a quick “need to talk ASAP.” Even when I don’t have the time or interest to drop everything else to focus on just one conversation, there’s a pretty good chance I’m keeping an eye on text messages and email and will get back to you just as fast as my two little thumbs will carry me.