Friday, January 25, 2013

Cautiously Optimistic.

Remember when I used to work at The Paper and they basically fired my ass after only six months EVEN THOUGH I was doing alright for a newbie? And remember when I was unemployed for NINE whole months after that? Those were some crazy times, weren't they? In case you didn't pick up on my subtle hint, I'm referring to my period of unemployment in the past tense. That's because as of today, I'm no longer unemployed.


I know this may come as a surprise since, the last time, I gushed on and on about getting the interview call from The Paper, with detailed reports about the interviews and how I wowed them with my interpretation of their interview test (Not to mention the answers I decided it was best not to give). Yeah, I made a total fuss about that and, even though I really liked the job, things still turned out to be a bit of a nightmare in the end.

So this time around I decided to be beyond low-key about the whole thing.  No fuss, no fanfare, no panicking. And that's not just because I found out about the position vacancy two days ago and was interviewed and hired today. Nope, I decided after The Paper, I'd tone down my excitement a little.  Just go on the interview and hope for the best.

On a side note, did you know that for the last 12 years or so I've had a 100% success rate when it comes to interviews? In fact, the only time I've interviewed and it hasn't resulted in my working at wherever it was because I turned it down for some reason or another. I guess I make a good impression in person. This leads me to believe that had any of the what could probably be hundreds of places I'd applied to in the past nine months even bothered to look at my applications, I would have been employed a whole lot sooner. But I'm not holding a grudge.


Anyway, at the new place (I've yet to come up with a name for them) I'll be doing basically the same job as when you all and I first met and I worked at Soul Suck Int’l – A division of the Ninth Circle. (I wonder how Bossman and Bosslady are doing...)

Basically it'll be officey, administrative type stuff, so I'm, once again, what I refer to as "mindless office drone". (Woohoo?) I'll still be the same crappy salary as I did at Soul Suck (Which was actually the same at The Paper), But there will be one major difference and this one's a doozy. I was told that, most times, I'll be there all alone. See, most of the staff, including the boss, almost never come in to the office so I'll basically have the run of the place.

Added to that is the fact that he's just restarting that arm of the business after a long hiatus so they don't exactly have an extensive client list to manage. I expect I'll be doing a lot of this.

I won't be intellectually stimulated working at this place. That's for sure. In fact, I'll probably be bored out of my skull. Especially since they haven't set up any internet there yet.
I... KNOW!!! Who, in this day and age doesn't have internet, right?

I'll be totally honest. I don't see myself staying there very long. The most important thing is that I'll have an income rolling in until I get something better. I'm at the point where that is good enough for now. Plus, I guess I'll have a lot of time to read.

There's always that.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

If You Don't Like It, Then Go Somewhere Else.

At one time, I was in banking. Banking is, of course, a customer service field. You get this concept drilled into your head constantly by the higher-ups. Through endless customer service seminars, training sessions, videos, meetings, etc, bank staff are reminded constantly that the sole purpose of their existence is to make the customer happy.

This gets worse the higher up the ladder you go. I was in loans when I left, with whispers about being elevated to lower management. It was expected I represent the bank 24-7. One of my seniors even told me I should give my clients my personal cell number as well as the number for the branch-assigned cell I was given so they'd always be able to reach me, no matter what.

I never did that though. That branch cell stayed turned off and locked in my desk drawer at the end of every workday. I got really pissed at one of my coworkers for giving out my personal cell (without my permission) to an insistent customer we were both working with. Why? Because, as I said, banking is a customer service field. You were expected to deal with customers on a daily basis. As for a lower management position, AW HELL NO!!! I dreaded the idea of being promoted any higher. That meant being expected to deal more closely with more customers.

I was good at playing the game and making customers feel comfortable, but there were actually only a few of them I could stand. And it wasn't just because I'm not a people person. I realized the problem I had with customers was that most customers know we were trained to kiss their asses for fear that they take their business elsewhere. And, naturally, they took advantage of it.

They became whiny babies who cussed and complained about every inconvenience.

"Why wasn't there a coffee machine?" - We had one. Customers abused it and people were walking in off the street, making coffee and leaving without doing a single transaction. DAILY!

"You don't remember my name? I'm your customer! This is poor customer service!" - We spoke on the phone... Once... Two months ago!

"Why is there a chain on the pen? Don't banks make enough money to be able to lose a pen or two?" - Yes, but you'd still bitch when we didn't have a pen for you to sign with because the person just before you stole it.

"You didn't smile and say the pre-approved greeting! Where's your supervisor?!" - He's the angry looking one over there with a cell phone in each ear and the line of people waiting to speak to him. He won't do any of that shit either.

"These interest rates are too high!" - Ah! Thank you for actually bitching about something loan related. Sorry, though. Whoever sets those works in a shiny ivory tower and can't hear you or me all the way down here.

You get the idea. Customers get caught up in the idea that those in customer service have to put up with their crap and use them to boost their own sense of superiority.

I'd almost forgotten about all this until two incidents I witnessed recently.

The first I'll talk about is actually the second one and it was a few weeks ago. I was in a bakery. I had just walked in and there was this guy - a gas station attendant, by the uniform - pacing, ranting and yelling at the girls behind the counter. He demanded his money back and left. Curiosity got the better of me and I asked one of the girls what that was all about.

"He asked for coffee. He got angry when we asked if he wanted milk and sugar. He thought we should know."

I heard the staff saying that customer was always carrying on like that when he came in. He had a problem with everything they did and almost never bought anything. Just came in, found an excuse to yell at them and leave. Yes, I get that he was a regular, but is screaming at them at the top of your lungs the best way to make sure they remember how you like your coffee the next time? If I had to guess, I'd say the only real reason you went in there was just so you could unload on them.

Then there was the other incident about a month before that. I was in a line in KFC. There was a guy over at the condiment dispenser counter shouting at any staff member who approached him. Why? There wasn't any ketchup at the counter. Despite reassurances that he only had to wait a few minutes for someone to get a fresh supply from the storeroom, he wasn't satisfied. The staff were inefficient and KFC, being such a large franchise, should have them better trained so condiments would be topped up regularly. This was completely unacceptable, as far as he was concerned.

The man was livid and refused to lower his voice until the uniformed police officer in front of me got tired of listening to him. The officer did probably the best thing I've ever seen anyone do for customer service staff in that type of situation. He calmly walked over to the irate customer.

Cop: Sir. Is that necessary? They are bringing the ketchup.

Customer: I'm a customer. I have rights. They're supposed to be more efficient and professional.

Cop: Sir, they're human. And despite your carrying on, every single one of them has been courteous and patient with you. That shows a level of professionalism beyond what most would show you.

Customer: But... I'm the customer...

Cop: Sir. These people are overworked and underpaid and this a very busy branch. These things happen and you are not making there job any easier. I suggest if you don't like the service here, you can just leave and go somewhere else.

Customer: I... I'm sorry, officer.

There was silence after that. Most nodded in agreement. A few in the lines even commented their approval at the officer's remarks. The customer remained silent after that until the ketchup came. Then he thanked the staff member who brought it, dressed his meal and left.

I know there are lax and lazy people out there in every field, customer service is no exception. I also know that sometimes the only way to improve things is to complain and bring attention to the flaws. But, when we are complaining, is it to right an obvious wrong? Or is that we've gotten too comfortable taking advantage of a system that's set up in our favor?

There are things that should be fixed, but maybe, if there are little things about a situation, business or person that bother us to the point that we have to scream at someone, it's best to stop complaining about those imperfections and take our business someplace else...

I'm sure the other place got it totally right.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tanned Hide - The Reboot.

Coming down to the end of last year, I mentioned in a post that I was considering bringing the one and only blog award I ever made out of retirement. By this, I'm talking about the Tanned Hide award, of course.

A few people seemed to think it was a good idea and since I'm a man of the people (and because I was probably going to do it anyway), I'll give the people what they want... and apparently, what they want has something to do with spankings.

I'm not one to judge.

Anyway, in its previous state, the Tanned Hide was a lazy man's award in that you had to do nothing once you received it. All you had to do was hang it on your wall and think of what explanation to give to your friends when they ask about it. This time, however, there are going to be one or two rules to make things more interesting. Plus, I made some slight changes to it:
Doesn't really look much different from the original, to be honest.
Now for those rules. Don't worry! You won't have to share any embarrassing secrets, send me money or spam the award to 10,000 of your friends.

Well... If you did feel inclined to send a few bucks my way, who am I to say no?

Kidding! All you have to do is say who you think deserves to be put over a knee and given some well deserved positive punishment. I know what you're thinking and, no, I do not mean you'd want to see them spanked in a kinky way. If you receive the Tanned Hide Award you must tell a story about someone (there is no need to name names, if you don't want to) who has done something to piss you off to such an extent that that someone is obviously beyond having their toys taken away and being made to sit in a corner until they've had time to think about what they've done.

This applies to any person, or even a group of persons, you may or may not know personally. That person can be a celebrity, a coworker, some idiot you randomly come across who managed to take up two parking spaces with a Mini Cooper, a foreign dictator, historical figure or someone like that. I'm giving you a whole heap of choices to go with.

Since I know how many feel about spankings when it comes to children, I'll make this an adults-only thing. Look at it this way, if you see some kid acting up and is obviously in need of some discipline, do like I did the first time I used The Tanned Hide and hold the parent(s) to account.

I suspect with the mention of the words "spankings", "kinky" and now "adults-only" this post is going to get a lot of hits for all the wrong reasons...

Anyway, the second and last rule is easy enough. All you have to do is send me money pass this award along to up to three bloggers you may deem worthy. Note I said up to three bloggers. So one or two is fine. Just notify the new recipient and tell 'em Vinny sent you (so they'll know who to blame).

That's it! No hassle, no stress.

Now for the recipients. The following blogs are the first to receive the new and improved (not so much) Tanned Hide:

- My Half Assed Life

- The Transformed Non-Conformist

My Own Private Idaho

Congratulations! Come get your prize!

I chose these three because, not only do I find them deserving, but because I'm interested to see who they'd want to slap some sense into if given the chance. Also, I chose them because, basically, I'm the boss around here and I can do what I want. Don't feel sad if I missed you this time. I'll share some more spankings in the near future.
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Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm Easily Amused.

Every now and then, when I get bored (which happens often), I end up goofing around on the computer and one of two things happen. I either create something absolutely brilliant or the boredom passes with nothing of substance happening. I count this morning's bout of creativity as the former. Because this morning, I made this:
I know! I just crack up every time look at it. Its genius is in its simplicity. I posted it on my Facebook and Google Plus pages and it's been a hit there. Hell I even posted it on that Tumblr thing I never use. I'm that proud of it. Annnnnd I'm beginning to suspect I maybe a little vain at this point.
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

What Happens When This Joker Tries To Make A Resolution.

I don't make New Year's resolutions. Nothing against them, I guess. Just not really my thing. But for the new year I decided to break with tradition and make a change in my life. I've decided I'm going to be more invested in the things I do this year. You know? Be more committed, more focused, more driven. I'm going to put more effort into whatever I'm doing this year. 
I even made a graphic. Not THAT'S commitment!
This applies to my studies, finding a job (and, by extension, keeping a job), my blogging and in other areas of my life. I've decided I'm going to apply myself. I mean, how hard can that be?

Don't answer that.

Okay, I'll admit, I know it's a big commitment, but at least I can try. And, the first place I decided to get started was here on the ol' blog. That seemed the easiest place to get the ball rolling. Truth is, I've felt things here have fallen short for the last half of the year. It was on account of my being bummed by the job loss. But I've decided to re-commit myself to improving the quality of my workmanship around here. Yup! I decided I'd write better posts with more effort put in.

With my new-found commitment, I sat down to write my first premium quality post for 2013 (because, obviously, it's that easy). I knew it wouldn't be trouble to get going too. I have a few weeks off from school right now with the semester over (it's confirmed that, I passed my courses for last semester, in case you're wondering), so I had the free time and I'm feeling pretty good. Everything was set.

Then I sat down to write...
Wouldn't you know it?! Writer's block. I sat there staring at my screen, poised ready to write and nothing. Not even the slightest wisp of inspiration. Sure I had ideas, but the words just would not flow.


Ever notice how you're best ideas for a post start to look like total crap when you're not inspired? I mean, I know that time I saw an elderly guy in the grocery with the 20 tins of corned beef in his basket and nothing else would make a funny post. At least, I thought it did at the time. Now..? I'm not so sure.

This, of course, was unacceptable, so I decided I'd get some help from my blogger friends. How I normally do this is by reading some posts by my fellow bloggers the get my mind back to its bloggy state. since everyone's been so productive for the year so far, I thought if I sat, read and tried to absorb everyone's blogging energy, I'd be bound to get my mojo going again.

But while everyone was busy getting down to business on their own blogs, I was, however...
This went on for a few days. I couldn't even think up witty comments for most of the posts I read.

So far, 2013's kinda looking a lot like 2012.

Still, I was determined! Undaunted! I would not-EH! Who am I kidding? I just ended up doing what anyone else in my position would do. Which is why you're reading a post about not me being inspired to write. I'll stop half-assing it from next week.

This is why I don't make New Year's resolutions.
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