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Posted in Crazy Wisdom on Tuesday, October 7, 2008 at 3:28 pm by flerly.

Perhaps if I had ever spared the time to go back and tag all these lame entries, I could have just gone back and picked one that already applied to this situation and post a nice link back to that, saving myself some time.

As it is, instead I sit here fuming, and actually tired from fuming over the same stupid shit on another stupid day, that I feel compelled to write it down just to get it out.

The problem: I’m surrounded by people who just aren’t so very smart at work. We all say this, and perhaps it’s true for many of us, but when you’re down to a core group of 3 to “keep the business going”, where 1 of those is you, 1 of those is an admittedly not-technical type who recognizes what you do and appreciates you, and 1 amazes you evey day with his ability to get his legs down separate pant legs without assistance, then you really have to ask yourself how much you can take.

Want a stupid Mac story? Sure. Yesterday he followed a link out of an office administrator’s email which was supposed to lead him to one of their agent’s outside websites, where they are using a new product that is a competitor of ours. Her instructions said to follow the link, then click the “View my other website” link to see it. Unfortunately, however, since she had been to the site, that agent had removed that link since he didn’t want the 2 competing sites so easily connected.

Mac goes to the agent site… OUR site that we provide for the agent, which hasn’t changed in, oh about 5 years, and thinks he is looking at a competitor site. Did he notice that the “View other site” link she mentioned wasn’t there? No. Did he NOTICE it was OUR damned website? No.

Here he begins to “test” the competitor site for its functionality, and is AMAZED at how they compare to us. He calls the office admin and tells her how impressed he was at the “other” site offering, and that we will convene a meeting immediately to address what we can do to sweeten our deal with them so they don’t leave us for this competitor. He then composes an email to that effect, copies her, me… suggesting some times for the meeting, and suggesting I visit the competitor site and look it over with a fine-toothed comb to compare it. I get a convenient link from him to do so… to, you guessed it, our own site.

To compound this, let me add that I was copied on the original message from the customer, had followed her instructions, noticed the missing “View my other site” link, Google searched for the Agent, found his other site, noticed the search he has is JUST a search page, not a full site and would require having someone build each agent a site then link to it, rather than being an integrated product such as ours. It actually doesn’t compare at all.

I detailed all of that, copied the customer to give her the direct link to the agent’s outside site so she can find it easier now that he had removed it from his regular site, and copied Mac on all this info…. PRIOR to his phone call with the customer… PRIOR to his mass mailing to customer and myself about the needed conference call to sweeten our deal. Mac just reads his email in chronological order, dealing with each issue one at a time, and doesn’t notice updates to a subject until later.

In reply to my email, when he finally got to it, he doesn’t say “oops” or “silly me” or “i’m a total jackass for looking at the wrong site and freaking out the customer”…. instead he says, “Thanks for your explanation of how our sites work. Before I only knew the general idea, now I know a lot more detail. Thanks!”

This in itself causes my brain to do several backflips and actually prompts me to go out and check the sky color in my world. He does not even realize he looked at the wrong site.

Which reminds me of another stupid Mac story, with he and I in a rental car in Illinois, say two weeks ago, with the gear shifter located directly between our two seats and me easily able to SEE what gear it is in. The gear it is in, when he hits the gas and the car groans and won’t move forward very fast, is clearly LOW. I say to him, looks like you have it in low. His reply, after the LOOKS down at the gear shifter– “But that’s where it was when we drove it over here earlier, I’m afraid something is wrong with the car.” He stops at a redlight, I reach down and change the gear from low to drive. He takes off at the redlight. The car is fine…. his reaction, “Oh, there it goes. That was weird, huh?”

Yes, that was weird — how you not only could SEE it wasn’t in drive when you looked at it, but also didn’t notice me change the gear on the car from your position all the way over there in the damned drivers seat. Weird.

The man is incompetent, a complete idiot, and this is not new news. I’ve told Lloyd. I’ve told Mary. They’ve agreed with me. He is still there. Mary suggests to me that it’s a “personality conflict” between me and him that as a working professional, people just have to deal with sometimes. That gave me pause, and actually made me wonder at whether that is actually true. Oh, do I hope not. Seriously.

Want another stupid Mac story? No? Tough. Site pimps we’ve been doing for almost 2 years now. They take 4-6 weeks to complete. I have forms to hand to customers if you take an order in person that says so. If they fill out the online order, they get an email that says so. The missing link here, when Mac takes a phone order.

We continue to have problems with customers expecting the work and emailing or calling about orders that are only a week old — even if that week included, say me being in Illinois with Mac — that Mac responds to by defering them to ME for a status report.

1) How many times do I have to tell you to set an expectation when you take an order?
2) How many times do I have to remind you that we have hired JENNY, remember her, blonde? has a toddler? shows up for meetings? to do all the pimped sites now. SHE does them. I don’t live with her or work in her office, so I don’t know the damned STATUS of what she is working on. Why the hell dont you ASK HER instead of deferring people to me? Because you know what I have to do? I have to fucking ask JENNY.

Today, as another such snowball had rolled up to unmaneageable size on an order that is just starting it’s 3rd week in our hand, I have had to APOLOGIZE to Mac, for my haste late Thursday night as I was trying to get a dozen things ready for missing Friday for a funeral unexpectedly, for saying I would “finish her site Monday morning” rather than “check on her site Monday morning”… because, you know… I CHECK on the site with Jenny, not actually DO the work myself. I checked on it, and Jenny had questions — i had to clear some things up for her — translate some Mac-ese from emails — and she was in the process of redoing some buttons. Thus, the site didn’t actually GET finished until this morning.

Meanwhile, he had told the customer it would be done Monday morning — even though it’s well under the reasonable expectation line — because I’d fired off a note saying I’d finish it. So Tuesday morning, when the customer emails about progress, copies Mac, I reply back with the details, and blam her site was actually done in minutes from her email. She is happy. Mac was copied, of course.

But, in the one at a time chronology that is Mac checking emails… he once again hits my rawest nerve when he replies to the customers message, addressing it TO me but copying the customer with essentially: What is your problem? Why isn’t this done? You said it would be done? Why haven’t you called the customer? This is unacceptable. And then… Apologizing to the customer for my lack of professionalism and the delay.

Of course, this customer has already been handled by me. Is happy with her site, and doesn’t get Mac’s email until later.

Once again, we look like a bunch of damned monkees — we inspire confidence with how well we work together! I just can’t figure out why there isn’t a TV special on our outstanding teamwork yet.

I replied to Mac’s message without copying the customer, telling him how these issues can be avoided if he will STEP UP and be the front line to set up that same reasonable expectation timeframe when he first takes the order that I do when I take orders. The timeframe hasn’t changed, and in that case he’ll never have to ASK when is this done, because he can look at the order date, add 4 weeks and know.

His reply: “I’m not even reading all this because this doesn’t apply for this customer. Bottom line, you said Monday, It wasn’t done Monday. You’re the problem.”

Thus, today, in the midst of all this crap that surely any reasonable, rational human being can see… I have had to apologize to Mac for my misspeak that caused him to make a promise to the customer that wasn’t kept. God forbid he might look dumb or lose any credibility with the customers.

IN THE END, though, here I am stuck. Once again, if I leave — the business is closed. There is no business without me, and it’s not conceit to say that. I’ve not held what I do as closely guarded secrets, and in fact have printed out hundreds of pages of manuals and offered repeated sessions for training to all on how to do what I do. It is not my fault that nobody else has figured out how to do it. Even Jenny, God love her, sweet as she is, just really isn’t ready right now for this as a full time responsibility — she has a toddler and works out of her home. She barely gets any facetime with me, and when she does, nobody takes things seriously, because — it’s like, they just know I will always be there.

You know, there isn’t enough time in the day for me to sit down and just DO everything I need to do to keep these sites up. I’m so very far behind on some basic maintenance items, that it’s not even funny. You throw in a daily support mystery to solve, and I’m perpetually behind. This is without a doubt a very full time job. Jenny was a needed assistant and is appreciated.

I cannot help but wonder, however, day to day what Mac actually does. WHAT does he do, really? How does he spend his 8 hours 5 days a week? He can’t do support. He can’t actually answer any questions for customers. He travels, sure, to give us a “face” with our existing customers, but he can’t even tell our product from a competitors and causes more questions than he answers. Sure he can sell a couple pimp orders, but there again only after I’ve damn well put it out in writing what the differences in service levels are so he stops selling the whole boat for the price of an oar.

I am frustrated beyond my ability to express it, to be honest. I don’t want to leave. I think Mary and Jenny and I can keep this going, but Mac is more than on my raw last nerve — and I’m waiting for someone to explain to me what hell he is good for. If we ditch him and split up his salary, awesome. You know, I might have to travel instead of him, but I can do that and would with a bit of a pay increase.

If I thought he’d give a single shit about it, I’d consider another meeting with Lloyd. As is, I’m going to have to say all this to Mary to relay to him. And… when as I suspect she will inevitably just tell me to “deal with it” and “play nice”…. I’m going to have to decide if I can handle the blood pressure spikes or whether I want to deal with looking for work right now.



  1. schlemaggle has made a Comment


    You need a drink.

    October 7, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

  2. aoide has made a Comment

    Ok, I gotta say this. YOU need a back bone. Seriously. You have been bitching about this job and its destruction of your health and psyche for years now. It’s not like Mac is going to change. It’s not like you haven’t taken the steps to fix the problems. You have an over developed sense of guilt. It is NOT your problem if the company goes under. It’s not like you are getting shareholder money out of this (that I know of) so really you are just a patsy. Get a new job and let them all sink. Unless you feel everyone else making money and having all the things they want while doing nothing, at the expense of your health is fair. In which case, do as Mary says and suck it up.

    October 7, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

  3. flerly has made a Comment

    I don’t have an overdeveloped sense of guilt, what I have is an enhanced selfish laziness. I do not have to go to an office. I am the backbone of this particular business. I am GOOD at this, and with our customer base right now — we are on cruise control with a minimal effort required to keep going. This is an easy, and generally 99% perks job… considering I just tell them when I’m taking a day, and who is counting the days off. I’m getting paid now more than I’ve made anywhere with any other job, and in general there is no stress… with the job itself.

    This is 100% stress with a coworker who I simply don’t have the authority to outright fire, and am continually frustrated that I’m apparently the only one who finds him so incompetant. BUT I’ll take my few days of shit to deal with every couple months over a 9-5, traffic, 2 week vacation, dress clothes, do my errands AFTER work job any day…

    Though, it is very manly of you to try to fix me when I just want to vent. I think your second notion was fairer … I do and will “suck it up”, because the benefit is completely worth the hassle, though I also can and will muse on the many ways I would like to tell them to shove it all up their asses because some other no-brainer job has fallen into my lap.

    The occasional vent at least reminds hubby to be nice to me every once in a while with a night out, so they will likely continue, however. I warned you it was SSDD, though, so if it really makes you that angry to hear, maybe you might want to skip these entries.

    October 7, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  4. flerly has made a Comment

    Oh, this is all going in my book.

    And, the better cure tonight was sushi, but the drink was a good suggestion, too!

    October 7, 2008 @ 8:35 pm

  5. aoide has made a Comment

    SSDD, does this stand for something? Angry? Is that what I am? Maybe I am. However if your request is for me to skip over you, be careful what you wish for.

    October 8, 2008 @ 12:06 am

  6. flerly has made a Comment

    Same Shit Different Day, goob.

    And just skip the work crap, because you do get too angry on my behalf. =P

    October 8, 2008 @ 12:54 am

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