Tell me again who has the poor communication skills…

Things were ticking right along for your Ms. Cleanslate. I have been doing some subcontract work and had five clients through one particular company. Was doing the same type of work for each. None of the clients are at all tech-savvy, so there was a bunch of weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth every time that we added a new task to the mix.

Finally, though, everything was humming along smoothly. Or… so I thought.  In the span of 2 days, four of the five clients asked to be assigned to someone else.  Not one of them had indicated any unhappiness to me, but apparently they unloaded a litany of complaints (I am not privvy to what, exactly, the complaints were, just that they were all related to my “subpar communication skills.”)

Yet, not ONE of these people ever communicated anything to me. They never said “hey, could we…” or even “hey, why aren’t we…”  And it turns out something I thought was a completely optional service…was something that is an integral part of things and something that, apparently, the clients had asked about months ago (which was never communicated to me by either the company owner OR any of the clients).

I went to log into the work queue website to do the next task for the one who had NOT asked to be reassigned. Hmmm, my login doesn’t work.  I contact the owner of the company. No response.

Twenty-four hours pass and I finally get an email.  The upshot of which was that everything is going to shit for this person and having all my clients bail at once has been overwhelming and just added to the stress.  I ask about the login again and get told ‘oops’ but it’s 2 days later now and the login hasn’t been fixed. So, I asked if I even still have the one client. No response.

I’ve reached out via email, instant message and via social media. No response.  Yet, I see him posting away happily on Social Media.

So, at this point I am going on the assumption that I’m “done” with this particular company.   Which is fine. Because my goal for 2016 was to dump all of my subcontract work.  It’s too much like working corporate jobs.

Understand that I don’t think/feel/suffer the delusion that I am perfect. But, when I contact clients and get two-and-three word responses and then get told that I have lousy communication skills, I’m not sure that the onus is all on me.  When I contact the company owner and simply want to know if the contract is terminated and I still don’t have an answer several days later? I’m done.

Yes, there are poor communication skills happening here. No, the skills in question aren’t (or shouldn’t be) mine alone.



Post Blogging Challenge Hangover

So… MsRasa and I were both burning the candle at both ends and did a MAJOR “crash-and-burn” with the challenge and blogging in general.  Crazy busy got Crazy busier!  And then I went out of town for nearly a month and let me tell you… “working vacations” are more trouble than they’re worth.  They’re totally necessary when you’re in a situation where if you don’t work, you don’t get paid – but trying to explain that while you’d really LIKE to be up at the crack of insanity to go do touristy things, your happy hiney needs to be working doesn’t go over so well with people you’re visiting. They have this notion that you should be spending time with them, not cranking out PowerPoint Presentations and invoices!  I sometimes wonder if I will ever get to take a “real” vacation again in my lifetime.  (Real vacation = NO WORK… no emails, no client calls, etc.)  I have a feeling that a real vacation, for an entrepreneur is as elusive as Bigfoot.

So, that’s where I’ve been. MsRasa has been busy on her life path, as well.  I’m hoping she’ll come back and write some more because I need all the help I can get.  And life doesn’t seem to be slowing down any. But I am determined to ROCK Q3 and Q4 and be in a POWER POSITION come 2016.

Back to the salt mines… I sense some nastygrams in my emailbox tomorrow morning if I don’t get some things cranked out!

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!

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.


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.

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!