Monday, February 28, 2005

Half Heard Quote Of the Week!

Steven seems to be a nice, calm, balding man. Sometimes the truth slips out. This half heard quote is one of those times…

Steven: Well, ma’am, I’m beating a dead horse with a hammer…

The weapon of choice for the majority of people looking to beat a dead horse is a whip. That Steven, always going that extra step…

Oh hi Steven… didn’t see you reading over my shoulder…No it doesn’t bug me, much… Uh, yeah you made the half heard quote of the week…well yeah I think it’s funny… umm where did you get that silver hammer?…Who’s Maxwell? … Ouch! Why did you hit me with it?… Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!… Ok! Ok! I won’t print it!

Ok, he left. Damn right I’m printing it!
I need some asprin.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Yes, Briggette, I do smell ham.

Our island shrank another person this week. Briggette left. No one can blame her; in fact that is what I’ve been hearing.

Brig quit? Wow. You know though, I don’t blame her.

The office atmosphere for some of us has gotten tough. End of December, management removed the last of our illusions. We now know with out a doubt that working hard and taking that one step beyond what is expected of you will not be rewarded. In fact, you will get stabbed in the back.

We no longer see the illusions. We know not to believe when we are told:

Thank you.
We appreciate you.
We don’t want to lose you.
You are a valuable part of the office.
I am thankful for co-workers like you.
It’s not my choice.
I had nothing to do with it.

Even the “Official” reason Briggette left is an illusion. A half-truth, because the reality would be dangerous. A little fluff sent out to make everyone feel good about how they live their lives and treat others. I was even told this morning that I was not suppose to be telling people that Briggette had quit.

Oh yea Wally, I don’t know where Briggette is. I think she is just taking a couple days off and decided to completely remove everything from her desk and take it home.

Guess what, the truth is out there, and you may cause more damage by ignoring it.

I’m nobody’s fool. I know that I am just one person here. That when I am gone it won’t matter. That my high numbers, mentoring, and work ethic effects nothing in the long run.

I miss Briggette. I know I am not the only one. I wish her the best. She will always be a part of the island.

Yes, Briggette, I do smell ham.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Yes, There Are Dumb Questions!

Warning: This post contains bitching pertaining to my work place. These are my opinions and anyone with half a brain would agree to them. I have not done one of these shadows and grey blogs in a while. It is overdue.

While Tuesday morning usually is not as bad as Monday morning, the email waiting for me as I powered up my computer set the days path on a very Monday-ish temperament.

To all Phone Counselors:

As a friendly reminder, please remember that unless you see the check mark in the “ON PAYROLL” box; do not tell the person they are on payroll.

This is not a new policy; in fact we deal with this everyday on the phones. This is very basic. Think of it this way:

To all Phone Counselors:

As a friendly reminder, please remember to put your socks on before you put your shoes on.

I did not know what to think about this. Really did not have the time because of the morning meeting time. I had no clue as I went to the meeting that I would get another illustration of the workings of my office.

This was an important meeting. A policy was being changed and we would soon be getting questions concerning it. As we arrived we were handed a packet covering all the needed info. Then we went over the packet. Time restraints kept us from going over every single line of the forms. Since the forms were written with the average person in mind and not the experts we were, that was ok.

There was a couple questions asked to clarify or to bring people who were late up to date. Then came the question (from someone who had been there the entire meeting).

"But what about if they ask about this, this and that?"
"That information is in the packet sitting in your lap."
"I know, but it was just easier to ask you."

Really, why pay attention, when you can just ignore them and sit and giggle with your friend. If you suddenly need to know something, don’t look it up, have someone tell you. I understand it is hard work to actual look at the papers in your hands!

This is what gets on my nerves. I work. I have an ethic that even though I am hating my job, I still do my best. I do not have to be reminded of how to do something I do everyday. I am not perfect, nor do I pretend to be, but come on.

The email was sent out because several people were making this mistake. They were making a mistake on something that they do at least once a week, every week for the last 3, 6, 8, 15 years!

This is pretty basic. By checking and telling the member the correct info, not only are you not giving incorrect info, you are protecting yourself by not telling them they are getting money when they aren’t.

If you can not remember this, and we deal with it every week, you should not be on the phones or any job where you have to give someone information. Either that or you just don't care, which again means they should not be on the phones.

I know I am sounding rough, and have been told I have become jaded. It gets hard when I try to do a good job and so many other people take the course of:

“Gee, It is too hard to do this, just tell me what to do.”

Why do I even put effort in? There are no rewards except knowing I do a good job. And I have to field questions from people who are given wrong information from someone else in my office!

See? Too Monday-ish for me, I need to go back home!

Friday, February 11, 2005

........but the benefits are great!

I was wishing I had something to post that was more positive concerning my workplace. My wish was answered when Leroy sent me this email. With his permission I reprint it here, making him my first guest blogger!

(Leroy lets his hair down on casual day)

Little story about last night.

I left work last night knowing I finally had to do something I was putting off for a dangerously long time. Getting an oil change. (sorry, it's not that good of a story) So I went to a local oil change place, but they had troubles getting the hood of my car open.

“No problem. There's just a trick to it.” Unfortunately the trick no longer worked. It had gotten me by for about a year now, but no longer.

This sucked, knowing I was waaaaaayyyyyy past due on an oil change it meant I finally had to have my car looked at. So I took it to the place I bought it. (which I won't name, but I will say I didn't buy it from a horse ride'n cocaine junkie)

Now I hate the place I bought my car from. They have never even tried to make me a happy customer and now I'm taking my car to them as they are closing. The man said he'll have someone look at it. He got in my car to drive it into the shop when he noticed my State I.D.

He told me he retired from the Secretary of State during the last early out, about 3 years ago. I then explained that I was first hired in for that early out and that there was about a 1 in 20 chance that I processed his pension. He seemed to like those odds.

Not only did he fix the hood, he threw in a free oil change and gave me a free tire. (I didn't have a spare tire, just a spare rim, no jokes please) This marked not only the first time that car dealership helped me out, but the first time someone found out I worked for the State and didn't say "Those damn State workers!"

So it is true, there are people out there that actually appreciate what we do, thought you should know, it was a shock to me.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Liars, Lawyers and Firebears, Oh my!

So you are having a problem. You call the help line and they tell you things that you do not want to hear. Things like:

“No, we can not do that.”
“You do not qualify.”
“I am sorry your wife left you and took the dog and you want your dog back, I can not help you.”
“You did this to yourself. There is nothing I can do to help you.”
“I cannot reverse those charges, you knew you did not have the funds to cover this check.”

Just to let you know that the person you are talking to probably means it when they say they cannot help you. Think about it. After several cups of coffee, tea, sodee pop or a couple of uppers, why would they want to listen to you bitch and moan when they could help you, just do not feel like it. If they could help you, it would be easier to just do it and get you off the phone so you can go find your missing dog. Of course you can always harass them until they give in and tell you what you want to hear.

“Ok, fine. You will get your check tomorrow.”
“No, not really. It’s still going to take 90 days.”

Now the real message I want to get across to anyone reading this is that your response to any of these comments should not be:

“I’m calling a lawyer.”
“If you don’t pay me $4000. I’m getting a lawyer!”
“I have a lawyer.”
“I’m going to have my lawyer sue you and your supervisor, and the State of Michigan!”
“This isn’t a threat, I am getting a lawyer.”
“Hi, I’m Mr. Dumbass’s lawyer.”
“My son in law is an attorney!”
“My son in law is a congress man!”
“I am the love child of John Kerry!”
“I am your love child!”
(Um forget that last one, that is a different blog.)

Threatening to sue the person answering the phone does nothing except make that person not want to deal with you. Well, and also causes you to be mocked. (Steven told a bad joke at lunch, I’m going to call my lawyer and sue him!)

It is such an empty threat. You see, I am sure the person on the phone is just following the rules and not doing anything you can actually sue them about. Don’t forget what a lawyer is going to cost you. That is if you can find a lawyer willing to take your money to open a case that chances are you are going to lose.

And while I am on my soap box…

It does you no good to lie about when you got paperwork into our office. It is logged in. Don’t think like my ex. Just because you say it, does not mean it is true.

“Ma’am, it takes 90 days to process once we get the forms in our office.”
“Well, I sent you those forms in October. So I should be done by now.”
“The system shows that we got your paperwork in last week.”
“Oh, you can see that?”
“Ma’am, I just got an instant message from God. It says to let you know you are going to hell for lying.”

Ok, I didn’t say that, but I thought about it!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Day in the life

Half Heard Quote of The Week

This was over heard by Briggette and me, but she was the one who thought it was funny right off the bat.

Winston: Yes, ma’am. I’ll release now.

She has a dirty, dirty mind. In fact her husband says that is what first attracted him to her!

In other news:
There was a big apartment building fire in our city yesterday. No one was hurt, thankfully. Watching the event on the news showed how dedicated our local Fire Departments are. I quote from the on the scene news reporter reporting live during the 11 O’clock news.

News Reporter: After 3 hours, the fire is finally under control. As you can see behind us, there are still some small blazes going. The Lansing Fire Department plans on staying until all the fires are out.

I am soooooooo glad I live in an area were the firefighters are willing to stay until the fire is completely out.

Note: I am making fun of the news reporter, not the fire fighters. I have had to work as a firefighter when I was in the navy. I had to fight two large fires that if not controlled would have sunk the ship. Anyone who is willing to risk their life for someone else deserves the utmost respect.

Now if we can just get reporters to think before they speak.

My thought of the day…
In our system at work, we log calls. We can type in a comment so that others can review it if the member calls back. You have to click on it to see the whole comment, but it does give you the first words. Today I realized I can write:

“Mbr calling about getting laid off from job Feb 1,05”
And it becomes at first glance:
“Mbr calling about getting laid”


“Calling about growth on his mbr contributions in his 401(k)”
“Calling about growth on his mbr”

and the old classic
“Mbr acting like a jerk off”
“Mbr acting like a jerk”

I love phone work. And I got to get another job!

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Another, Half Heard Quote

Call Center Service Rep: (Talking to resource for help on a call) Yes, I have a member on the line. She is very upset because she has been a supervisor in a school cafeteria for 27 years.

Resource: Well, that sounds like more of a career choice problem, then our problem.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Rufus Hits 300 With His Balls!!!

Island mate Rufus recently reached that magic number in bowling; a 300! We are all impressed and congratulate him. We know that it takes lots of practice and the right equipment to accomplish this. As a tribute, I have collected comments from friends and family concerning his skill and his two bowling balls. These are straight from the hip, so that Rufus can feel the love.

Rufus's Mom: Even when Rufus was a newborn, he loved playing with his 2 balls. As he got older we would always hear noise in his bedroom, and we knew it was just him playing with his balls again.

Rufus's best friend: Rufus is great with his balls. I have seen him polish his ball with one hand and drink a beer with another. He has a special polish that he applies to give them a nice luster.

A former friend: Rufus and I were friends but it ended because I was sick of him always throwing his balls at me.

Former coach: I once caught him in the back of the bus playing with his balls. He was very dedicated.

High school girlfriend: He kept wanting to put his balls on my forehead. Very odd. When I wouldn’t do that, he started asking me to lick them for luck.

Teammate: He keeps wanting me to lick his balls for luck.

Sister Mary Margaret: He keeps wanting me to lick his balls for luck.

Stranger on the street: He comes around about once a week and wants me to lick his balls. I don’t care why; I’ll keep doing it as long as he keeps paying me $20.

2nd grade teacher: At a young age Rufus seemed to have a talent for sticking his fingers in holes.

Bowling Alley Manager: It's not an uncommon sight to see Rufus rushing into an alley, his balls clanging together

School Nurse: From the first time I met him I knew his balls were perfect.

Pro-shop clerk: Never have I seen bigger balls than Rufus’s. He’s had to invest in a special bag just to carry them.

Co-worker: Rufus took me out to the parking lot and showed me his balls at last summer’s company picnic. I was impressed. I had heard that he had blue balls, but that wasn’t true. Actually one is black and the other is red and over sized.

Father MacNamara: I have been blessing his balls ever since he was an altar boy.

Female Friend: I have never seen his bowling balls, but he has nice testicles.

There are lots more terrific things said about Rufus, too many to list! Feel free to add in the comments!
Be safe! - bear

1/2 Heard Quote of the Week

Half heard quote of the week, heard through hearing aid feedback, comes from Winston. Remember that we take calls from retirees, state workers and school teachers. A very high class of people!

Winston: Baked beaver? Oh, is this some type of road kill thing?

Winston is always thinking with his stomach.

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Location: Lansing, Michigan, United States

Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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