T is for Time

TI’m taking a break from reformatting a PowerPoint presentation to write this blog.  There are SIXTY-ONE slides in the deck. I honestly feel sorry for anyone who has to sit through a 61-slide presentation about anything.  The reformatting is tedious.  That someone (me) has to spend the time reformatting this is ridiculous. But, I’m getting paid for it (worry not, the clock is stopped whilst I do this blog post.  I may be a complainer, but I’m an ETHICAL complainer).

I’ve also never seen a PowerPoint presentation with as many Slide Masters as this one. Pick a format and stick to it, FFS.  If you want to have fun with PowerPoint, then put some interesting transitions in and call it a day. Because, with a 61-slide presentation, that’s about as much fun as you’re going to have.

It’s been an interesting few days. I’ve been working on a number of different projects, plus trying to do some Spring Cleaning.  Later today I will probably get to work on the Office.  It’s way overdue for a vacuuming. My desk needs some work, as well.  I am trying to balance getting projects done with getting the cleaning done.  And I’m trying to get some sleep in now and then, as well.

The PowerPoint presentation is taking a ton of time. It’s very tedious (I believe I mentioned that earlier).  Catching up on my blogging is taking some time, as well. But it all needs to be done, so I am just slogging through, the best I can.

And now… TIME to get back to work!

S is for Suction

SMany years ago now, I worked for a vacuum cleaner cult company for a few weeks.  I’d gone for an interview, followed up, didn’t hear anything and then, several weeks (and 2 other failed candidates) later, I was offered the job. I didn’t know the part about the 2 other failed candidates when I started.

A large part of my job was producing daily and weekly reports. This should have been easy, but there was such a convoluted way of doing it, it was a real pain.  I quickly found that the person who was in charge of forwarding me the information I needed to do the reports was often late and didn’t care one bit about whether the information was accurate. When I went to take inventory, I found a horrible mess. Things were not where they should have been, product had been taken out of sequence and there was a lot of really heavy lifting I hadn’t been told about.

The onboarding procedure for new hires was horrible and the pressure to make quota for the sales reps was unbelievable. Reps leaving the manager’s office in tears was pretty normal. Turnover was high.  I’d just learn someone’s name and they’d be gone.

When I asked a clarifying question about one of the reports in my third week of work, the manager told me I should have that all down already.  When I came in the next morning there was a note on my desk to fax an ad to the Newspaper. The ad was for my job.  When I went to talk to the manager to find out what was up, his secretary smirked and said “He only speaks to employees, you’re not one anymore”.

I never heard another peep from them.  I saw the ad for the position about every 3 weeks for months.  I have no idea how many people they ended up hiring and letting go, but I feel bad for every one of them. It was truly a job that sucked.

R is for Really Behind!

RIt’s been a busy week. And not even a good busy, more a STUPID busy.  Taking care of all sorts of crisis things and details and distractions.

And, because I’ve been dealing with all of those things, I haven’t really been here blogging like I should have been. I am going to try to get caught up this weekend, though, and finish the Blogging Challenge strong.  It’s a lot harder than you would think, blogging every day.  I even have it on my calendar. But there has been so much going on that I’ve been putting it on the back burner.

Hopefully things will calm down soon and I can get back on track!

Q is for Quest

QBecause of our house fire, we had to find a new home. This quest involved six motels, one executive suite and a hell of a lot of travel looking at houses. Unfortunately, it also involved some very questionable business practices along the way.

On my recent voyage, I broke a tooth. It happened because I trusted a dentist to do her job years ago and every single thing she did to my mouth, every filling, veneer and crown, went bad within a few years. I spent over 8K in 4 months in her office. Seriously, I would have sued her if I could. But, the long and short of it is that my tooth swelled up, causing me so much pain that my eardrum perforated and my jaw was infected, because of a missing filling in a back molar. And the one next to it rotted underneath the crown, which apparently wasn’t sealed correctly. When the crown came off, it knocked out the filling next to it. There went $1,500.00.

So, at 4:30 am, I called one of those 1-800-(find a dentist) numbers because I could not sleep. We were staying in Pueblo, CO and they set an emergency appointment 50 miles away in Colorado Springs for 7:30 am. I left at 6:30 and arrived in plenty of time, only to find out at 10 minutes to 8 that the doctor would not be in that day due to a seminar. (There was a note taped to the window). So I get set to drive back, very upset and still in pain. I called to inform “the service” that the dentist was out of town. They were very apologetic, asked me three times if I was in the right building and at the right suite number. “Yep, I’m looking right at it, they are NOT here. No one is, not even the receptionist.”

Then they set another appointment in Pueblo for 9 am. Good. I get back in the car, clutching my face, barely able to breathe over my teeth and drive 50 more miles. I call from the parking lot, to be sure I’m in the right place. That dentist’s office told me the doctor was on vacation this whole week and they had blocked that time off with the 1-800 service. HMMM. I was not even on the schedule, no one was, except those in need of routine cleanings. They too, were very sorry, but could not help me.

So, I call AGAIN. “Well, we’re very sorry, but we do have another dentist back up in the Springs, if you want to turn around and head up there now.”

Another 50 miles? NO. My face was in agony, I needed some relief NOW. So I sought out the nearest Urgent Care. They, in turn, had a 3-hour waiting list and no chairs to sit on. Not one. They were all occupied. And sick children were running everywhere. I almost started to cry. So we went back to the hotel and I put ice on my cheek, figured out how much OTC pain medication would kill me, then backed the dosage off a little bit. It was a rough day.

When I awoke at 7:40 this morning after an extremely fitful night, I had some new e-mails.

1-800-GO-EFF-YOURSELF wanted to know if I had enjoyed my dental experience and would I please rate their service. OH-HO. YEEEESSSSS, my pretty, I will rate your service. But first, I have a few questions for you: When did it become common practice to waste people’s time, blame THEM for your mistakes and generally not give a sh*t when you send them on a 100-mile, 3-hour wild goose chase? How is this good business? Do you expect these dentists to keep using your “referral” service when this is the way you run their patients around?

But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The dentist in CO Springs just called as I was writing this. They have an opening at 11:45. At least I can get some pain meds and antibiotics for the trip home.

P is for Platform Perils

PI’ve been in my field for about 30 years. I strive to be one of the best in the business. But, periodically, I fail. Miserably.  Such was the case today.

I have a client who, I have to admit, has sortve been a thorn in my side for a while. One of those people who, no matter what I do, she finds fault with it. I do social media work for her and I check up to make sure things are posting where and how they should be.  As so many who deal in social media do, she prefers her post scheduled in Hootsuite. Fine. I personally dislike Hootsuite and one of the reasons why will be covered in a minute.

I schedule posts about a week at a time for several of this clients accounts. I periodically check Hootsuite to make sure that the scheduled posts aren’t rejected. Everything has been looking fine. I didn’t give it a second thought. Until today.

I was out running typical Saturday errands and got a frantic message from the client that her posts had not been posting for the past week on one of the forums where she posts. I don’t know WHY I thought she said Platform A, but she really said Platform B.  Probably because I unplug on the weekends (from work stuff) and was trying to deal with everything from my phone (which I don’t have platform A loaded on). I checked from my tablet and all seemed well (still not catching that I was looking at the wrong platform).

When I got home and back to my computer, something compelled me to read her message again and I discovered that I had been referencing THE WRONG PLATFORM. (Cue feeling like a gigantic idiot) Not only that, but on the platform she had been referencing, yeah, the posts weren’t there.  Did some poking around and other Hootsuite posted posts were not posting properly to that platform, either.

Did a quick internet search and found out that there had been several people who had complained that Platform B posts from Hootsuite weren’t posting. The absolutely maddening part? There was no error coming up on the Hootsuite end, it was showing that they were posting.

So now, I had a stupid reaction because I looked at THE WRONG THING when I really should have been unplugged for the weekend in the first place. (Insert cussing and facepalming here)

Emailed off an apology but am thinking that maybe this is The Universe trying to “force” a breakup with a client who, if I am honest with myself, is not my ideal client.  Something tells me that the Administrative Professional’s Day flowers are NOT coming to my house this year. Phooey.

O is for “Ooops”

OSo, I can’t even really make an excuse for what happened yesterday.  I have no idea how I managed to just totally NOT post (well, there’s a post there now, but it’s a pretty pathetic one).  My only thought is that having to get up really early on Friday morning combined with a week that ended up, somehow, exploding leads to posts not happening.

If you’ve every transitioned from one system/process to another, then you’ll know what’s up with things getting a little weird and having “oops” moments (or days) happen.

Hopefully the letter “P” will be less peculiar.


M is for Motherhood

MProbably the hardest thing a woman will ever do in her career, or indeed in life, is juggle working with motherhood. On top of actually having the baby, there’s babysitters to interview and/or daycare centers to explore. Which one can I trust? What can I afford? Will I be able to get one to watch my kids if I have to stay late?

Now, I have heard horror stories about daycare centers. Those who single out the poorer children, even spraying the “smelly” ones with Glade while they slept. (Get a bathtub and a washer/dryer in that facility if you’re concerned about those kids.) IMHO, those are horrible things to do to children and even worse to show the others. Laughter and derision was not something I wanted to teach my child.

In spite of having a college degree, often when one moves to a new city — a big, unknown entity – one must start towards the bottom. Luckily, I was 25, and this was still a viable option for me. But three years later, I still wasn’t making much more than I had when I graduated. Consequently, I was only making $8.50/hr. 18 years ago. Daycare was charging $7.00 an hour on a day-by-day basis and it was only slightly less expensive to pay by the week. One place charged $10.00 per minute for every minute a person was late after 6 pm. That made staying late, getting even more stuck in traffic, having an accident or a flat tire a VERY expensive proposition. Denver was famous for its accidents too. They had an interchange called the mousetrap, where two interstates intersected. Narrow and dangerous, it provided steady income for tow trucks, who just sat by the dozens on the shoulders and waited for the inevitable. It was even part of the traffic report, every day.

I dropped my daughter off for one day and went to my interviews. Just a few months old, she screamed the entire time she was there. Another, private sitter, said she couldn’t handle watching my daughter because her “cry was obnoxious”. I tried several other facilities but couldn’t escape the sinking feeling whilst looking at those lonely cribs, that Eryn would be left to cry herself purple in that little, dark room. Finally the feeling of foreboding became so overwhelming, I spoke my husband about it and together, we decided I should stay home. Making an extra $2-2.50 an hour wasn’t going to pay for the gasoline, car servicing, dry cleaning, parking and lunches I would need, much less the mental anguish of knowing my beloved was miserable.

So I got to be a stay-at-home-mom. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE, by the way. However, there were those who always accused me of “pissing my college education down my leg”. They’re wrong. My daughter is bright, beautiful, loving, funny, thoughtful and has a heart of gold for the less fortunate, especially animals. Not to say that yours aren’t. Understand, unlike so many others in my life, that I am not attacking working mothers, simply defending the choice I made not to work. There is a difference.

Years later, I heard a radio DJ complaining that his wife felt put down by others for being a SAH mom. SO MANY people called in, one being a third grade teacher. She said:  “I can tell after being with my children for only one week, with no other insight into their families, which are home-raised and which have been left to daycare. The daycare children are often the bullies, taking other kids’ crayons and pushing them down on the playground. The home-raised kids were (usually) the ones who picked the poor kid up and gave them back their crayons. We are raising generations of takers,” she insisted, “because a lot of these children just aren’t given the attention they need.”

I felt much better about being a SAHM after that. Not to say that your kids are the takers, just that being a mother is full-time job too, and it definitely has its rewards.

L is for Lawyer Greenjeans

LBefore posting this I was sure that, at some point, I had mentioned Lawyer Greenjeans. But, apparently, I have not. Maybe because he didn’t give me things to complain about.

Anyhow, once upon a time I worked for a lawyer. He was a damn good lawyer, too. And (hold on to your hats) he was HONEST.  The man was full of integrity and it was admirable.   However, there was one little thing that most people did not know about Lawyer Greenjeans that I knew… and that was, he had no desire to actually be practicing law. He wanted to do pretty much ANYTHING but practice law.

Lawyer Greenjeans lived out in the country (hence the name Lawyer Greenjeans… a nod to a TV character from my childhood who was not a lawyer but did wear greenjeans).  He had some cows. He grew some hay. But mostly, he just enjoyed not being around people and having property on which he could do as he wanted.

The down side to that, though, was that there was really crappy internet out where he lived, so that meant that pretty much all internet research and the like fell to me (not that I minded).  On occasion, I would venture out to his place, days when he was too busy or just didn’t feel like bothering with traffic.  Oftentimes, while I was out there I’d throw in a load of laundry or wash some dishes.  He didn’t really have people over and so his housekeeping was somewhat lax.

There are days I miss Lawyer Greenjeans. I email him now and then knowing that it will take days, maybe weeks to get a response (see aforementioned bad internet).  He was a good boss. He was (is) a great friend and I am proud to have worked for him.

K is for Kleptomania

KHave you ever watched someone steal right in front of you? It’s disturbing, isn’t it? During my lifetime, I have had several people shoplift directly in my view, and worst of all, I couldn’t say anything to the store because they were my ride home. So I just stood there, saying things like, “What are you doing?” whilst they gave lame excuses along the lines of, “Hey, that bag that I just half-emptied into my pocket? Well, the store has to sell that cheaper now. I just SAVED someone else money.”


They didn’t understand. All my life, being raised by business owners, I recalled all the lectures about how stealing raised the price of retail items because the less the store makes, the less they can pay their employees and the more they have to charge customers. But my “ride” never saw the logic in that, and I was forced to make new friends on several occasions.

Which is why I was equally unimpressed when a friend told me about the new shoplifting policy of a major national chain. She worked at a large department store in Iowa at a store that has been the anchor of nearly every mall in America. It starts with a J and ends with a Y. She personally witnessed 4 young men come into the store and shoplift hundreds of dollars’ worth of clothes. But when she tried to stop them, the boss told her “no”. This happened over and over again.

You see, their policy had changed, due to several lawsuits involving shoplifters getting hurt or innocent people being accused, so now Barb just had to stand idly by, call the Loss Prevention officer on the phone and gape in awe when that woman said,

“Well, we can’t do anything because they haven’t stolen $10,000 worth of merchandise yet.”

“Seriously? They can walk out of You-Know-Where with $9,999 worth of stuff and NOTHING will happen to them?” I was incredulous…but not stupid. “Too bad I don’t live there anymore, I’d be right down to clean you out!” She knew I was kidding, but come on!

I thought about my parents, who must be whirling like dervishes in their graves and about my oldest brother, who must be livid over these kinds of panty-waisted laws. I don’t know why or by whom these kinds of laws were passed. Perhaps someone had been tackled on that unforgiving mall floor, dragged inside and accused of shoplifting when, in fact, they were perfectly innocent. Perhaps they sued. But still, this kind of lackadaisical policy is just one of the many reasons why said store is now in real danger of going out of business.

I know I don’t make policy for states or national chains, but I have decided to take a small stand against any form of shoplifting. From now on, I will tell a store manager what’s happening whenever I see a person