Month: March 2018

Elderly client

He calls almost every day. FYI, I am going to be a bit cryptic here because:

  1. I think it’s really uncool and messed up when bloggers blog about things that should remain private. I will bet money that most of what is revealed online was never meant to be known.
  2. If I blog about someone, I think in the name of trust, I need to keep it vague.
  3. I believe that violating trust is one of the worst things you can do.

But this gentleman resonates with me because he a sweet old man who worries about a very particular bill.

His bills are always paid and if there was a problem, I would have called him. In the last week, he has called about 20 times.

We have the same conversation and he understands. Then the following day, he must start to worry about his bill, so he calls again. I don’t know what triggers this but something does. Perhaps he forgets, but I don’t think so because he remembers our previous conversations.

I’ve even called up the corporate ladder to be assured that his account is fine. I let him know. He thanks me profusely and hangs-up. I pull up his account every day, see that it’s paid for another year and tell him so.

This will run for however long it takes for him to know that his account is fine. It’s not a large account, but it is to him because it’s all that he has.

If it’s important to him, it’s important to us. If it worries him, we’re there for him. I contacted a family member of his just to make sure there’s nothing else we can do. They appreciated it and are aware this goes on. We’ve assured them that it’s fine and our only concern is his well-being.

This is why I love working where I work. It’s a start-up and the pay isn’t great yet BUT I work with someone of like mind and philosophy:

Take care of our clients, no matter what. Be there for them and put their interests first. Always.

Things are tough right now. I know we’ll get there eventually, but I’m happy to work with people who care about our clients as much as I do.

It’s good to have us watch over you.

Photo courtesy Tim Doerfler

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Condescending twit

I couldn’t believe it. I mean the guy was so arrogant that I thought he was kidding. I had a message from Dave who said he got our name from our client, Bob. Bob and I have always gotten along great. I wrote some of his insurance recently for a second home he purchased late last year. His plan was to rent it out and stay in his current home.

I called Dave back, thinking he was a referral for insurance from Bob. Yay! Love that.

But, no. Not at all. He said he was the realtor for Bob’s property that was in escrow and about to close but the buyer’s insurance agent was having problems getting the insurance secure.

This surprised me as I wasn’t aware Bob was selling his house. I hadn’t had any problems with getting the coverage placed and couldn’t imagine why another agent would.

“Oh? Bob is selling his house?” I asked. A most valid question.

He sighs. “I really don’t have the time or the patience to repeat myself. What did I say that wasn’t very clear? If you can’t understand me, then I’m afraid it’s a waste of my time to deal with you.”

WTF?

I stop. He can’t be serious, right?

Wrong.

“I beg your pardon,” I say. “I don’t think me asking to clarify what you are talking about is out of line…”

“If you can’t even understand one thing that I’m saying…”

“Yeah, well, you know what? I’m done here. Good luck with that property,” I say and hang-up. I would have said a bit more, but no matter how condescending this arrogant prick is, I am going to be professional. That doesn’t mean I roll over and let this dickless wonder be an asshole to me.

But what it does mean is I’m done talking to him.

I sit back and decide the best thing to do is call my client, Bob. He picks up the phone immediately.

“Susan!” he says. “How the hell are you? Wassup, girl?”

I laugh. “Hey Bob, I just got off the phone with Dave…”

“Oh God, what did he say?” he says, all very serious and concerned now.

“Ah! You know he’s an asshole then,” I say. Huge relief because I gotta tell you, anytime I’ve had an upset or disagreement in business, 99% of the time, it comes back that I’m overreacting, being too emotional, being a woman, and shit like that.

There have been times when I have grossly overreacted, did get emotional and even cried a few times. So I’ve learned to gather my thoughts, take a breath and communicate in an effective way without the hysterics.

It also helps that the client is cool and appreciates all the work I’ve done for him.

I tell him about the conversation and he’s furious at Dave. Apparently this is how Dave is and Bob has told him on a few occasions to tone it down.

“Well, Bob, my 2-cents is to get another realtor. God knows they are just like us insurance agents – on every street corner. You don’t need that crap in your life.”

“I’m so sorry, Susan. That was not cool and you don’t deserve that. I really appreciate all that you’ve done for me.”

That was nice. That made me feel better. Finally there was a man on my side. Finally there was someone who didn’t immediately judge that it was my fault because I’m packing a vagina.

“Bob, I’m a big girl. I’ve been in business a long time and I know that there are men like him who think they can talk to women like that. He just needs to grow up, come out of the 1950’s and take it like a man. Tell him to take a Midol, eat a pizza, watch some chick flicks with a heating pad and have some chocolate and wine.”

This caused both of us to laugh.

“My only concern is that the sale of your house goes well, so have the agent call me and let me help them with it. It ain’t no big deal,” I say.

And it isn’t.

“I’m going to call him and insist he apologize to you,” he said.

I almost cried because someone finally understood me.

I don’t know if he’ll ever call, but that’s OK. Dave can go on with his little life and prey on others that may not be able to stand up for themselves.

He picked the wrong #BadAss to mess with.

A rough but interesting week

I don’t know about you, but not only are my weeks long, but so are my days. Working for a startup isn’t easy. Obviously I have faith in the potential of the company and the people who work there and the products that we produce. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother.

I’m part time until we can get the business where it needs to be for me to be full-time.

But I need full-time work, so rather than call myself part-time, I consider myself semi-retired.

It has a nice ring and feel to it, don’t you think?

I spend 10 hours a day putting together seven hours of paid work. I have three part-time jobs to equal one full-time job and it’s still not enough. Some weekends, I Uber when I feel like it and am confident I can keep my snark to a minimum and enjoy the people.

Recently,  I jumped in and started telemarketing. The leads and names were just sitting there, gathering dust, so we put together a script and off I went. It’s been years since I’ve done cold calling. Things have really changed since the days of calling a phone (that was always a land line because cell phones didn’t exist) so I don’t expect people to answer. But when they do, there’s always a moment where I don’t know what to say.

I’m a telemarketer you want to talk to. But I know nobody wants to talk to me, any more than I want to talk to a stranger on the phone, so it’s a fun game. What I mean by that is I know I am sincere and I know how much we can help people, but I also understand they don’t want to talk to me and I don’t blame them.

The fun is seeing if I can get them to talk to me and if not, can, how quickly they curse at me and hang up.

I started doing it this last week. Some days were good and some days were horrible but what made it good was that I kept going.

I’ve learned that I am a very determined woman and I don’t like to quit. Learning at this age is just as difficult as it was at a much younger age. The trick is if you want to learn and or not.

Personally, my ideal job would be people throwing money at me just because I exist. But the last time I checked Craigslist, that wasn’t available.

The downside to what I do is because I now spend 95% of my week on the phones, I really don’t want to talk to anyone when I leave work. Thank God for texting!

It is a miracle to get me to answer the phone nowadays, as many of my friends can attest. But it’s not personal.

It’s that I just don’t want to talk to anybody when my day is done. I even added a reject text on my phone. It says “Please text me rather than call.”

It’s that I don’t want to talk anymore at the end of the day. I just want to sit quietly, watch Netflix, read and enjoy some peace and quiet until the next day starts again.

It’s not you. It’s me and I don’t want to talk to you.

Love you! Mean it! Have your people call my people and we’ll do lunch.

Just don’t call.

#KThnxBye

 

Shit I’m glad I have

Every so often, I’ll try to do a gratitude log. I figure since it seems like such a popular thing that people do, I’ll give it a try. But it ends up being some sort of theetie-wheetie piece of bull shit. Like I’m writing down the things I’m supposed to be grateful for, such as family, friends, blah blah blah. If I have to actually write those things down in order to be grateful for them, then I’m doing something very wrong. Of COURSE I’m grateful for those people! No need to write them down and be redundant.

Plus it’s never in “my” voice. It’s always in some motivational guru’s voice, which annoys the shit out of me, so why am I writing this crap?

Well, I don’t. I re-read what I wrote and have no idea who just took over my mind, writing, and journal.

I went to do it again this morning after waking-up early and in the midst of a fit of terror. Yeah, as usual, waking-up is brutal for me. I’m at my most vulnerable – sleepy, in pain from my neck and back – and not in good fighting shape. That’s what my demons know and they lay in wait. Every morning we fight and every morning I win, but it’s a shitty way to start the day.

I decided to write what I wanted to write. I mean, I usually do, so why was I changing that? I dunno either.

Here a short list of the shit that I’m glad I have:

  1. Netflix. I mean, really, how could I possibly survive without it? It distracts me from all that I know is there, pinging my head constantly – bills coming in daily in my email and constant text messages from people who always want something from me – and Netflix only cares about what I want. It’s on my phone, my Kindle, my laptop. Netflix is always with me no matter where I go, always ready to entertain me and play with me. Unconditional love for me 24/7. It never closes. It never judges me. It tells me what it thinks I might enjoy watching because it cares about me more than anyone I ever dated. Netflix is relentless in its pursuit of MY happiness.  Yeah, super grateful for its existence.
  2. Cheap pens. I buy them all the time and sometimes they end up being the best pen I ever had. Then it runs out of ink and I can’t find any more, so that sort of sucks. Cheap pens come and go. Then I’m pissed and then I’m not because it was cheap and I don’t get all twitchy and weird when I finally admit to myself the pen it out of ink. I have to scribble with it a few times on paper, put it back in the drawer and then try again later. It usually takes me 5 tries before I concede that’s it dead. I always feel sad as I toss it into the garbage, like I’ve lost a friend. That’s why the funeral garbage toss takes me a while to let go and move on with my life.
  3. Used books. I love that they are broken in and someone loved and cared enough about the book to haul it around until they found a new home for it. That’s love and dedication right there. Paperbacks are the best. Sometimes you’ll find notes or highlighted passages, which I read immediately as they were obviously important enough for the previous reader to note them. I always wonder who that reader was and why is this important? Guess I’ll never know,
  4. B-1 Yes, the vitamin of the Gods. Why? Because it backs down my demons off enough that I can start to get back to more of my “You’re-not-playing-by-the-right-rules” person that I am. B-1 calms own my nervous and anxious or generally fucked up mind for a bit. It’s not a cure but it gives my mind and body a break from the demons. I’ll not tame my demons, but I can put them on a short leash and reign them in a bit. Similar to a “time out” for a child who won’t shut the fuck up and stop pulling the cat’s tail. On one particularly bad day, I popped 100 mg an hour, all day. No one died that day, I didn’t get arrested for assault and I slept. I consider that a good day.
  5. Stupid people. In small doses, they give me a most wonderful and desperately needed chuckle. In large doses, a gin and tonic helps, but that’s not always possible during the day. There’s nothing more fun than having a conversation with someone who is an absolute idiot and has no idea what they’re talking about, but they are certain beyond reproach they are right. No sense trying to discuss or argue with them. Just sip your coffee (or gin and tonic), smile as you glance at them over your glasses and politely nod and enjoy the cheap entertainment. They’ll appreciate your rapt attention to them and their insanity and you’ll be grateful you aren’t them. It’s a win-win situation and everyone goes home happy.
  6. Journals. This is a picture of the few I have gone through in the last few months.I have a box, or two or three, of my other ones. I buy cheap and expensive ones. I am addicted to them and it’s a great addiction because I HAVE TO WRITE IN THEM! I swear for every word I publish, there are 10,000 that will never see the light of day. I even have taken to digital journals that I can then print or save to gazzilion apps but…nothing replaces the beauty and isolation of pen to paper, the sound the pen or pencil makes, the feel of turning the page and smoothing it down. A blank page in a journal is an adventure to me. A blank page on a computer is death to me.

These are just a few things I’m glad are on this planet and in my life.

What are some of yours?