J is for Judgement Day

JI worked for a woman who screamed at me in her office for at least an hour every day for 8 months. And not even all about work. She would tell me I was a “fat, ugly, lazy worthless pig, just like my mother.” (To clarify, she was comparing me to her own mother).  She’d criticize everything I did, was never happy with any of my work and if I ever got praise from another colleague she’d dismiss it saying “Well, it was fine after *I* corrected all of her mistakes.”

She’d come in, in the morning and say “Dr. Laura had a loser JUST LIKE YOU on her show this morning, I’ll talk to you later about how Dr. Laura set her ass straight!”

Everyone KNEW she was doing this but no one would tell management.  I said nothing because I had a family to support  and she’d told me if I crossed her she’d make sure no one hired me ever again. (I was young and the job was 2 blocks from home, I didn’t have a car so to find a job within walking distance that paid well was a HUGE blessing, no matter how awful the boss).

Right before Xmas, when we were going into a 3-day holiday weekend she said “Monday we’ll be having your review… we’ll see if I feel like keeping your worthless ass on the payroll.”  She smiled smugly.   Think of the smile on the Grinch’s face when he was plotting his plots and you’ll have the face pretty perfectly in your mind’s eye. So all weekend, all through Xmas, I worried that, come Monday, I would be unemployed.It RUINED Christmas that year.

Monday morning, I walk in…hmmm, nobody around. Walked back to where the staff mailboxes were and there were a bunch of people milling around…which was strange.

It got REALLY quiet when I came into sight. I was SURE that I’d been fired.

I pulled the mail from my box. On top was a memo.It stated that effective immediately, BitchBoss was no longer employed at the company. That she “had another opportunity” come up.

I read it about 3 times and then quietly said “There is a God”.  And everyone present broke into applause.

But later, I heard the REAL story about her departure:

Thursday night, after everyone had left the office except for BitchBoss, The Director’s secretary and the Director, the Director was making some copies.BitchBoss made some snide comment because the secretary was still there and “not doing her job” (making the copies) and I guess the Director just ‘snapped” and went on a full-on rant about how she was tired of how BitchBoss treated support staff.

A screaming match ensued…And then.. BitchBoss crossed the line -She attempted to assault the Director!

The next and final words out of Director’s mouth were “You are fired. Have your office cleaned out by Sunday and never come back here again!”

Rumor was (never got confirmed) that BitchBoss did not collect her final paycheck.  She threatened to sue and was informed that an assault report had been filed and charges would be pressed if she pushed it.

A couple of weeks later, I had my review done by another of the Senior Staff and was rated “Excellent” in all categories and got a big (for me, at the time) raise.  I had survived Judgement Day!

I = I Quit!

II should’ve known better. It was all too good to be true. My Home Healthcare job that I loved so much? Believe it or not, despite the best efforts of the hag next door, I really did love my job. I got to do word processing, preparation of written proposals or “bids” for contracts, some accounting, some secretarial and every other day I sat at the phones over lunch. It broke up my day nicely. Always something different going on, never 3 boring days in a row. And it was DOWNTOWN.

Sure, it was costing me a fortune to park within a mile radius of the building. Yes, it was a pain to spend over an hour getting somewhere that on light traffic days took 25 minutes. And of course, I had to put up with Godzilla, but at least I felt productive. I learned to pack a lunch. I did my make-up in the car. I economized wherever possible and my bosses took notice. Joanne, the president, routinely called me in, just to thank me for doing such a good job, or for cleaning off her sty of a desk, or driving her to the airport.

Sandy, the Vice President, was hardly ever in the office, as she was setting up a new branch in a suburb an hour from the downtown location. But all of the proposals I wrote, were for her. On her rare days in the office, she would stop by my desk and spend 2 hours talking to me: about motherhood, what a blessing it would be to stay home and raise children, and she gushed over what a wonderful job I did for her latest presentation.

I felt truly appreciated.

One day, after about three months, Koleta came to talk to me. She thanked me for hanging in there. I thought she meant with the harpy across the hall, but she didn’t. Turned out that more than a few of Joanne’s assistants had just “up and quit”, some leaving at lunch and just never coming back. Strange, I thought, given how much I really enjoyed my work. I liked it so much, my boyfriend, who later became my husband, and I started looking at condos to buy. We even put in an offer on one we liked and started the loan approval process. I planned to keep that job for as long as humanly possible.

Initially, I had been hired on as a temp, but they renewed me as full-time when that contract was fulfilled. On my first day, Koleta had informed me about Sandy’s ex-husband. He apparently was one of those “psychos” who lost all custody to his ex-wife and could not even be told Sandy’s phone number or whereabouts for fear he would physically come after his kids. Being divorced myself after a short, painful marriage, I could totally relate.

I kept my word, Sandy’s secrets were safe with me.

Until…I came in one cold morning in January to Sandy sitting on my desk, fuming. I tried to make polite conversation, but all she wanted to do was scream. Evidently, whilst I was manning the receptionist’s desk the day before, someone back in the offices had answered a phone call on Joanne and Sandy’s direct line. It was Sandy’s mother, and she needed to be picked up at the airport. No one gave me the message. No one gave Sandy the message, and due to the no contact rule, no one would give out Sandy’s number over the phone, either.

Of course, she assumed it was me. But as I sit here today, I honestly did not talk to Sandy’s mother. I have wracked my brain for any recollection of that phone call and frankly, the woman had to have spoken with someone else. I could not even recall having a conversation like it. Every call I took was business, not personal, especially since the VP was never there and kept her cell on her at all times for personal calls.

Why she didn’t mention that her mother was coming to town, I don’t know. Why she didn’t know what time her mom’s plane was arriving at the airport, I don’t know. Why didn’t her mom have her daughter’s cell phone number? I don’t know. Who the dipsh*t was who actually dropped the ball on that one, I DON’T KNOW. But try telling that to an irate VP who wants somebody’s, anybody’s, head to roll. And it would have been fine, if she had stopped there.

A one minute tantrum over some imagined wrong I could handle.

But, she started to shriek about how incompetent I was, and people started to stare. She screamed about how I hadn’t done one thing right since I started that job, and people found excuses to open their office doors to peek out. How could I be such a colossal idiot? Now folks were leaning out of their cubicles and straining to hear every word. Thirty of them. Once again, I was as embarrassed as I could be. I could feel my face getting hot, but not with shame, with anger.

Finally, I said, through clenched teeth, “You have an office. With a door. If you have something to say to me, shouldn’t we go in there, like professionals?”


I was literally shaking by this point. She would not be consoled for another five minutes. I stood there and took it, believing everyone was against me. They were standing in doorways, lingering in halls, walking by on purpose with stacks of paperwork, just to get a better look. But, no one was smiling, no one was laughing, some had looks of pity on their faces, but most were just waiting for the other shoe to fall. My shoe. This is what had happened before, why all those women “inexplicably” got up and left.

“I quit”, I said to Koleta as she stood, looking helpless, in her doorway. She followed me to the elevator and tried to convince me to stay. I wanted my job, I wanted my condo, (which never made it through to approval because I was suddenly unemployed), and I felt for her, I really did. Now she had to begin the hunt all over again, for the next poor soul who could not be told the truth, either. God only knows how many times she’s filled my position before, or since. But I have an inkling. We simply weren’t getting paid enough to be anybody’s doormat. There is no price-tag on that.

H is for Hopeless

HLast Fall I was doing some subcontract work and was assigned to work with a client who was (at least in her own mind) “high-profile”.  Her actual claims to fame were mediocre at best and dubious as a baseline.  A few days into our working relationship it was very apparent that “high profile” really meant “a royal pain in the posterior”.

Our first weekly check-in call was spent with her reciting a litany of all the shortcomings, sins and transgressions of her previous assistant.  Ok, I figured, let her get that out of her system and we can move forward.  Oh how naive I was!

I put together the first newsletter for her, sent her the link to take a look and let me know if changes needed to be made. She emailed back that everything was “a-ok” and to go ahead and send the newsletter.  20 minutes after sending the newsletter I get an email.  In a nutshell it was  “OH MY GOD! HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? YOU’VE MADE ME LOOK HORRIBLE!!” and then my phone rings and before I can pick up I am getting a second call.  She had called the agency I was working through and she was calling me herself and she was LIVID.

So, I quickly log in to look at the newsletter and, sure enough, it’s a MESS.  Formatting is horrible – 2 sections completely squashed together, about 8 different fonts, none of the links work correctly and… not at all as it had looked when I scheduled it.  Puzzled, I looked at the revision history and found that there were 2 logins, after my having scheduled the newsletter. Apparently the client had been in and “made some minor edits”.

Meanwhile, the agency I was working through is screaming at me that I’ve damaged their relationship with the client and the client is screaming that I’ve made her look like a fool to all of her subscribers and then I pointed out to both the agency and the client that the newsletter was edited after I’d scheduled it and I had no idea it had been edited. Client denies my assertion.  I take and send screenshots of the revision log. Ooops, guess who didn’t know the revision log even existed? At that point the agency simply said to me “don’t let it happen again” and the client fell silent. This should have been my first clue that rational interaction was hopeless.

In hindsight, I should have walked away then.

Over the next few months I was accused of not sending emails (screenshots proved otherwise), not scheduling broadcasts to go out (screenshots proved otherwise), not doing things I had been told to do (screenshots of “draft” emails, still sitting in her outgoing mail proved that she had never really told me to do those things… sure she’d written the email, but she’d never sent it, so I had no way of knowing things needed doing). Eventually, someone in the agency got in touch with the previous assistant who said that yes, she had been through all of those things with that client and so had a string of assistants before her. She was a serial complainer – and pleasing her was a hopeless endeavor.

About 4 months in, as I was writing the email to the agency to ask to be reassigned, I was told that she’d given her notice that she was unhappy with the services provided and would be moving to another agency.  The agency I worked with then threw me under the bus in attempt to retain her as a client.  Completely disregarding that I had been able to prove that everything she’d accused me of doing or not doing was a complete fabrication, they apologized for my “woefully unprofessional performance” but…she had her mind made up. And I had MY mind made up and resigned.

Bottom line? Go with your gut. Even if you need the money, sometimes you have to cut your losses and walk away.


G is for Gullible

GI’ve worked quite a bit for nonprofit organizations.  For a few months, many years ago now, I worked at a homeless shelter. Most of the people who worked there had worked there for years and I did not “fit in” with the folks who were well ensconced (there were several members of one family who all worked there).

I was stationed at the front desk on the second shift (4PM-Midnight). I answered phones, controlled entry to the door, helped with cleanup and generally was not too busy.  On the desk was a computer. The computer had internet access and though I did not use it to do anything like social media or personal email, I often wiled away time playing solitaire or finding interesting articles on the internet.

Shortly after I started, the bosslady noted that SOMEONE had been accessing the internet on the computer and that inappropriate sites were being viewed and if it wasn’t stopped immediately, there would be trouble. She then went on to say that they had JUST paid “well over $1000” to have all of the pornography removed from the computer.  REALLY? Over $1000? For something I could do in just a few minutes? Wow.

A couple of days later, I attempted to log onto the internet and it was blocked. Being tech savvy, I was able to easily circumvent the block and didn’t think twice about it.  Apparently, though, I was not the ONLY one who was tech savvy. A day later I got a call at way-too-early-in-the-morning saying that there was an IMMEDIATE mandatory staff meeting.

MORE PORN ON THE COMPUTER. And whomever had put it there was going to have to pay the $1000+ to have it removed. AGAIN. And “we know it was someone on second shift” and all eyes were upon me.

Again, I am tech savvy, so, on my shift, I pulled up the computer history and could easily see the days and times these sites had been visited. Guess what? Not ONE of them was during my shift.  In fact, it was the (oh big surprise) new young man who had just been hired. (Most of the staff was female).  After I carefully saved the evidence, I cleaned all of the offending material from the computer and left the bosslady a stack of screenprints, matched to the schedule and let her know that the computer had been cleaned of the offending material. Came in the next afternoon to their high-paid tech telling bosslady “there’s absolutely no trace of any pornographic material on this computer”.

Wonder how much that cost her….

F is for Federal Law Enforcement?

FI believe certain things when it comes to business. One, as you know, is the customer is always right. Secondly, one should pay well, and be well paid, for work well done. Thirdly, I (naively?) believed that if you work hard and live honestly, life would always work out.

During my life, however, I have come across those who believe in earning an income any way they can. Professionals, mind you, in respectable careers, not just those who live on the fringes of society.

For example, in August 1997, my husband and I purchased a house with some help from my parents. They gave us the down-payment so we could get out of that 1 bedroom apartment and raise our newborn little girl. It should have been one of the happiest moments of my life, and for a few weeks, it was.

We went through all of the usual steps, credit checks, applications, paperwork and more paperwork. We stood on our heads for weeks running down all of the documents they needed and then my folks agreed to help out with the down-payment. Hurray! We had everything we needed! We were finally going to get off the hamster-wheel of renting and have something to show for all of those monthly payments.

But, what my mother refused to do, was sign a piece of paper stating that the money was a gift, not a loan.

We were screwed.

We’d spent months looking at houses, meeting with realtors, collecting business cards until we found the perfect one — which happened to be located right next door to the realtor who was selling the home for her former neighbors. She was a real sweetheart and I was looking forward to having her and her family for my neighbors.

Until it all fell through…or so I thought. Without that “gift” notification, the mortgage company would have to consider the money a loan that would, at some time in the future, need to be repaid. In other words, they would reject our mortgage application and all of our months of running around would be for naught. I was heartbroken.

Meanwhile, I was being harassed by my husband’s ex-wife, a cruel alcoholic, who after 3 years of marriage, would still not accept our union. Or our daughter as legitimate, even though we got married in May of 1994 and she was 5 months old. So, on top of all the stress with my parents, I had The Harpy to worry about. Every night, like clockwork, she would call after midnight, ranting and raving about something and finally, I’d had enough. Consequently, I had a machine hooked up to our phone which recorded her calls, their content and duration as proof for the police. We were pressing charges. But this tape recording would turn out to have more than one use.

When the realtor found out about the gift letter, she freaked. I thought I was upset. She then told me to give the money to my husband’s grandmother and have her return the money, with the signed letter, as if the down-payment had come from her. Which is fine, except that it’s money laundering. Possessing a Bachelor’s in Business, I knew this. I called the credit union, to verify my suspicions. A nice young woman answered and proceeded to tell me, in a very chipper voice, “oh don’t worry, there was someone in here doing the same thing just the other day.” Apparently, to the bank, that was not a crime. I hung up before I could blurt out: “Well, you sit right there honey, ‘cause I’m going to run off a stack of twenties with my laser printer. When I’m done, I’m bring them to your window, because you probably don’t know that counterfeiting is illegal either.”

But that’s not all. Being a veteran’s widow, Grandma had gone to the Judge Advocate General’s office up at the Army base nearby. He confirmed my fears – that we could all get in serious trouble, if caught. Fair enough.

So I told the realtor, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But she was relentless. Next thing I knew, she had the mortgage broker call me on a three-way line. You see, they were not willing to forfeit their potential commissions…not yet. They outlined, in detail, how I could still get the house of my dreams…if I was willing to bend the rules a little.

Step 1: Sign the gift letter with my mother’s name.

Step 2: Fill out the mortgage documents and sign them, stating unequivocally that all of this was on the up and up.

Forgery? Falsifying government documents? Really? (Those are not rules, lady. Those are felonies.) But, I had an ace in the hole… Remember the phone tap? Bingo!

Now, for the record, I’m usually pretty laid back. Not a narc. I’ve bent my share of rules. If you want to have a beer and you’re over 18, I’ll turn my head. If you have a joint and it falls out of your pocket in front of me, I’ll give it back, provided you’re an adult. But this was something like 10-15 years in prison, ok, for something that was supposed to be perfectly legal. And these people had licenses to do their jobs, so they knew they were telling me to break the law. They have seminars about this stuff.

I was furious, so I took the advice of a friend and called the largest federal law enforcement agency in this land. They answered, took my statement over a period of about 30 minutes and sounded very surprised that I had this all on cassette tape. But yes, I had them dead to rights. This was fraud, forgery, money laundering… right up their alley, one would think. Finally, I thought, some justice – for these no-account crooks dressed up as legitimate businesspersons. (Both women, I might add. How disappointing.)

And do you know what they said? “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

Yep, hold on to that tape honey, and if, at some point, we decide to DO OUR JOBS, we’ll let you know. Click. I sat there in shock, staring at the phone. I had agonized for days over whether to even make this call. These women had families! But I knew what the agency was thinking, a victimless crime, right? It’s houses lady, not heroin. And they were correct, for the moment.

My mother did finally sign the paper. We got our house and the incident was forgotten. That tape got lost somewhere over the next 18 years.

But since then, exactly 11 years later, it was revealed that thousands of mortgages were pushed through the system that were not strictly legitimate. Many would not have been approved, if not for some “creative accounting”. Countless Americans lost their homes. Banks and mortgage companies went under by the dozens and those that survived had to be bailed out to the tune of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars. Death by millions of cuts.

Yet the Law Enforcement Agency claimed to know nothing about it.

I have one question for that agency. How victimless is it now?

E is for Epitome (of Stupidity!!)

EAs you may have noticed, I like to complain – not just when I have been treated poorly by those who pay me to perform a job, but especially when I’m treated badly by those whom I pay to do theirs.

We’ve all had the experience of standing in some government office and wondering what sort of mental illness one must possess to be qualified for that job. But at the DMV, it isn’t mental illness, so much as personality disorder at play. Narcissistic Personality Disorder to be precise. After my latest adventure, I felt obliged to look it up…it’s a real thing.

Setting: In January of this year we had a house fire which destroyed almost all of my belongings, including things I thought were secure, like the title to my car. (Note to self: buy better safe). The insurance company moved us to a motel in our small KS town, then to some furnished apartments outside of town. Outside of the state in fact. Without the title, I could not get my car registered in the new state and my plates from my former state, Colorado, were about to expire, so I called the dealership where I bought it and they sent me a new one. In a little over a week, a company in Colorado managed to track down, obtain and mail a document vital to my recovery from this tragic incident. It was kind of them, I must say.

However, the story skews from there. Armed with the title and all of the documents I can ever recall needing at the DMV, my daughter and I proceeded to the office in Joplin, MO. We waited for half an hour and presented our paperwork at the counter. All I needed was a temporary license plate so I could drive my car for the next 60 days in their state. Then we were going back to Kansas.

I had brought everything: the title, my lease, my driver’s license, my paperwork from the house fire, the car insurance, and several other documents of identity as proof. The girl behind the desk fixed me with an appraising look as I dumped my paperwork on the counter. I began to explain what had happened. She, or course, interrupted me by pulling out a sheet of paper, circling items I would need, including, but not limited to a vehicle inspection and a COURT WAIVER stating I owed no in-state taxes. Then, she none-too-politely informed me I would be better off going back to Kansas to title my car. I informed her that was a 180-mile round trip, to which she gave me a half-smile and called the next number.

Kansas it was.

The next day, I took all of the above, plus my house’s recent utility bill and drove 80 miles to my destination. No one was in line, thankfully, and I approached the desk with something akin to hope burgeoning in my black little heart. Maybe the Missouri girl was right. Yes, this was much better.

“You need a KS driver’s license, first off. Please go to their office and have a seat. Do you know where it is?”

The fifth circle of Hell?

Had I really expected anything else?

After we received directions, off we went to the license office. It’s a quaint little affair, located on the bottom floor of a building painted the exact color of gangrene. They don’t hand out printed numbers from a ticket machine there – they have the letters A-Z handwritten on a hook. Very low tech.

Every seat was full.


After sorting through the stack of papers I’d brought along, cleaning out all the receipts my insurance company insists I keep for the fire from my purse and unsuccessfully rooting around for a Chap-stick for my daughter, it was finally my turn.


I approached the Asian man in training with my wad of papers and he began to cringe. Three sentences in, he put out his hands…”I am just a trainee. I can’t help you, yet. Maybe in a couple of weeks, I’ll know how to do this one.” I almost put my head down on the counter. Then a voice came to my rescue…or so I thought.

“Here, you handle this gentleman, I’ll take her,” he announced brusquely from behind his desk. My heart leapt. A seasoned veteran, returned from lunch to help me out? Somebody call Ripley’s. Quickly, I traded places with a man who had one piece of paper and spoke very little English. The paper didn’t even have his photo on it. Good luck, buddy, I thought, looking down at the stack of ID in my hand: driver’s license, SS card, tax papers, insurance cards, bills, and a letter from the Social Security Administration verifying my birthdate and identity.

How could this go wrong?

I turned to him with a smile…that instantly died on my face. This man was a cop. I mean it, a cop. A flat-topped, thick-necked, brick you-know-what-house of a man who looked like he wore mirrored sunglasses for the state patrol five minutes ago. Crap. But he knew his stuff. As I began again, he quickly interrupted me as well.

“Do you have your birth certificate?” he asked gruffly, giving all of proof a cursory glance.

“No, that was lost in a fire. The only other copy might be with my ex-husband in Colorado.”

Meanwhile, the Latino man standing next to me with one sheet of paper, got to proceed to the “let’s take your photo now” line. Hmmm.

“Well, you’re going to need it. Either that or a passport,” he added, passing me my stack of papers with yet another perched on top. You guessed it, the list with acceptable ID circled in red. “You are, after all, coming from another state.”

Yes, but not another COUNTRY, I was tempted to add. And point. But I didn’t.

“Go find it, then come back,” he barked and announced the next letter in the alphabet. “Oh, and we’ll need an inspection too,” he called out as I was headed towards the door.

Of course you do.

D is for Delegate

DPeople hire me to take over Administrative tasks for them so that they can focus on their core business. I know that sounds really easy, but apparently delegation is a tough job. I had one client whose business was growing by leaps and bounds. She needed help. She needed a LOT of help.  We had outlined the things she would hand over to me. I reminded her. I followed up.  And I waited. And waited.  We finally had a talk and she explained that she was just so used to doing everything herself that the process of having to explain it to someone else just seemed much more difficult than just doing the task herself.  I patiently explained that if she could just explain a task to me ONCE, she’d be freed of having to ever do the task again. Theoretically, she agreed and I felt like I had buy-in, but still, no tasks came.  We eventually talked and parted ways with her decision that maybe she needed someone local. Someone whose physical presence would basically nag her/annoy her into giving things up to be done by someone else.

I’ve had other situations where the person I worked with ended up delegating pretty much the entire day-to-day operation of the business to me.  This has only happened once in my self-employment but it also happened a couple of times in my corporate life.  And it wasn’t too bad (except for they were taking home the Executive salary and I was still getting my Admin. Assistant paycheck even though I was doing the majority of the work!)  But then those folks moved on and the people who took over the position then scaled the job back to just really basic admin tasks and took away all of the authority that I’d had, as well. (This is another “D” word… demotion! And it was also very demoralizing…)

Are you someone who delegates at work? Or a person who gets things delegated to them?

“C” for Customer Service

CFirst, a little history about me. My father owned businesses in the Midwest that total 67 stores today. I worked for them since I was 13. Therefore, I KNOW how you’re supposed to treat a customer: no matter how upset they are, no matter the size or duration of their tantrum, no matter how pissed you might be, my parents taught me one lesson above all – the CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

So, if you have ever been the victim of poor customer service, you know firsthand how frustrating that can be. Now, we’ve all seen the 17-yr. old at the convenience store who paints her nails whilst talking on the phone, to her boyfriend no less, who rings up your items without any eye contact, total amount due or spoken words whatsoever. That’s bothersome, even annoying at times.

I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about hair-tearing, jaw-clenching, weapons-grade epic fails.

The kind that remind you of trying to claim your lost luggage at an airport while the person behind the counter looks you straight in the eyes and asks, “Has your plane landed yet?”

For instance:

While living in a suburb of Denver, I was the recipient of several such incidents, the most egregious of which concerned a regional phone/internet provider.

Situation: At 11:05 pm, my home phone goes out. It is provided by and connected through the internet company and that service is still up and running just fine. At the time, I did not have a cell phone. So, I go to online chat, a wonderful new service I thought would be the answer to my current problem. I sign on and I wait. And wait. Annnnd wait… finally, a connection.

Customer Service Person (CSP): Hello, welcome to (XYZ) Internet Services. My name is (let’s call her Bambi, shall we?)

Me: Good evening. My phone service has gone out. No dial tone, no connection whatsoever. What can I do?

Bambi: Let me take a look at what’s happening…

Me: (waiting for 5 minutes while she checks all the connections)

Bambi: Looks as though everything should be working. Did you unplug and re-plug all of the cords?

Me: Yes, I did that.

Bambi: Hmmm, did you reset your modem?

Me: Yep, I tried that too.

Bambi: Well, that’s all I can think of on this end. Here’s a phone number where you can get ahold of customer service, as what we can do here is really quite limited. 1-800-DON’T-KNOW. Or you can try, 1-888-DON’T-CARE.

Me: But, my PHONE is out. How can I call them?

Bambi: Don’t you have a cell phone?

Me: No.

Bambi: Can you go to a neighbor’s?

Me: It’s after midnight now, so, probably not.

Bambi: Can’t you just wake someone up? [Not kidding]

Me: Um, not really, I’d like them to talk to me from now on.

Bambi: Can you get to a payphone?

Me: Don’t have a car and the only one in the neighborhood is broken. I’ve tried to use it before. [Note: Not too many payphones available that haven’t been vandalized within an inch of their lives in Denver.]

Bambi: I’m sorry, but that’s all I can offer.

Me: Wait a minute, then what is THIS chat service for?

Bambi: For when the internet is having trouble.

Me: So let me get this straight, if I’m having trouble with my internet, I can chat with you online, but if my phone goes out I can call?

Bambi: That’s right. Sorry I couldn’t help you. You’ll just have to borrow someone’s phone tomorrow. Bye.

[Leaves chat]


Honestly folks, I’ve been on both sides of that scenario. I used to do incoming customer service for the now-defunct MCI, all right? But I have never, NEVER encountered someone as dense and unhelpful as the folks being hired nowadays. So please, companies, when you hire people, don’t just cut them loose after a half-day of watching others perform this task. TRAIN them for the love of God.

Back to you…

B is for BS

BIn the course of this whole “being self-employed” adventure, I am finding that there are a lot of people who really want and truly think that they NEED an assistant but they don’t really have a clue what to delegate or how to delegate.  They also don’t know how the process works for hiring an Independent Contractor and so I end up in a lot of situations where it’s more like a traditional job interview situation. Here’s the thing, though… you wouldn’t ask your doctor or your plumber “where do you see yourself in 5 years”, would you?

So…I responded to an RFP (request for proposal) and had a phone call with a potential client and she said she was really impressed but she had some more people she was interviewing and she would get back to me “by Wednesday, FOR SURE”.  Well, here it is, Thursday afternoon and no decision.  She did email me some follow-up questions yesterday (All of which fell into the “traditional job interview” category) and I responded.

A few times this scenario has played out and we get to the point of me sending a contract and they get hit with the reality that I *gasp* actually expect to get paid the rate that I quoted them and I never hear from them again (in spite of my follow-up efforts).

I am mid-range in what I charge for my services. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a potential client think they could get someone to practically run their business (at least all the marketing, social media, customer care, technology) for under $10 an hour.  The thing is….if you hire me, you aren’t paying for any benefits, any office space, no coffee breaks, no potty breaks, no 3 martini lunches.  I charge you for the time I actually work and that’s it.  A lot of times they’ll play this BS game before that happens:

Potential Client: “You charge HOW MUCH??  I can get someone in (insert 3rd world country) to do this for $2 an hour”

Me: “And you are free to pursue that, if you wish.”

Potential Client: (harumph) “You aren’t even going to TRY to negotiate? Lower your rate by $15 an hour to get me as a client?”

Me: “My rates are my rates. You wouldn’t ask your doctor to negotiate, would you?”

Potential Client: “Fine. I’ll just go hire someone from (insert 3rd world country)”

And then I get 2 emails that are basically them still being incredulous that I won’t come down $15 an hour on my rate and they go hire someone from a third world country and then end up having to re-do a bunch of the work that gets given back to them which ends up costing them more than if they’d just paid my rate in the first place.

And yet… I will happily do what I do before even considering a return to the corporate world. Being the Boss is great!

A is for Apathy

A After an inexcusably long absence, I’m back.

When in the course of career events you get laid off, once again, one tends to become somewhat apathetic. Me? I was unapologetically apathetic after my stint at Disorganization, Inc.  I simply could NOT psyche myself up to go through the cycle again. Interview – Rejection – Interview – Overqualified – Interview – No Degree? No Hire – Interview – 2nd Interview – Offer – Start – 6 – 18 months later  = layoff – Rinse & Repeat! And so, I decided to bite the bullet and start my own business.  And I’m still working on building my business and getting clients and negotiating contracts and all of the blood, sweat and tears that go into being a business owner.

I’ve been so engulfed in the whole “creating a whole new life” process that I became apathetic about blogging.  Well, that and telling myself “tonight I’ll start again” and then looking at the clock and seeing it is once again 5AM and no blog post written.

So, once again, I decided that there must be a solution to that and found the A-to-Z April Blogging Challenge. And then I found an old friend who is a kick-ass writer and twisted her arm asked her to blog here with me.  So, you will be seeing posts from Tabi Rasa here, as well.   Plus, now you’ll get to read my adventures as an entrepreneur.  And I already have some unbelievable client stories to share!

Strap in and come along on the ride that will be the April A-to-Z Blogging Challenge and check out some of the other blogs in the challenge!