Archive for April, 2014

On a break

On a break

Are you a CEO’s secretary? Just chill out, okay!?!

After working in the Customer Annoyance Industry for more years than I care to remember, I’ve found the number one customer I like to annoy is the CEO secretary. Which is not to say I don’t love annoying other customers, it’s just that the CEO secretary is typically an easy win when wanting to inflict irritation.

So you’re a CEO secretary? Ouch! Hopefully you’ll get over it soon. But yes, I understand your boss is a tyrant. Yes, I understand your boss has the biggest pay cheque in the organisation. Yes, I understand your boss is a demanding go getter who wants to “drive the organisation forward.” Yes, it must be painful for you to have a carrot stuck in… okay, we won’t discuss your personal relationships. But since we’ve already established that everyone is very busy and important in your department, there is no need to keep telling me this crap. I will classify your request as “high priority” which, coincidentally, is the same priority everyone else requests. I suspect this is because everyone is doing the “most important job” in the organisation. Not me though, I don’t see my role as an important “job” as such… I’m more of a steering committee.

Allow me to explain. You see, experienced Customer Annoyance Professionals (CAPs) like me, have a low threshold for “demands.” Think of yourself as a kind of terrorist. It is your job to get us to meet a set of unreasonable demands within a specified deadline. But having identified yourself as a terrorist by saying things like “this needs your immediate attention or else!” or “You need to respond to our demands NOW” etc. we are then forced into activating our brick wall protocol, which is “Under no circumstances do we negotiate with a terrorist.”

It’s not that we “can’t” meet your demands. It’s just that we choose not to. This is because firstly, you are being an ass and secondly, it’s bad for business to negotiate with terrorists for reasons that one would hope is abundantly obvious. Maybe a long time ago you were a nice person, maybe you used to feed starving pigeons (rats of the sky) in your lunch break, or supplied drugs to the homeless in your spare time. Frankly, I don’t care. In a CAPs world, we rank equality based on a person’s niceness and other subjective qualities which could be dependent on our prejudices, personal taste, or sexual preferences. Your rank determines the level and quality of service you are likely to receive. Remember the old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the oil?” Well that doesn’t work here. If you squeak, screech or scream, you go to the bottom of the pile, end of story. Think of it as a kind of tough love, an intervention if you will. Essentially we rate your value as a human being. It’s not about salary, rank or importance, it’s just whether you’re being an asshole or a patron saint. Oh and one more thing, we can smell a fraud from a mile away, so don’t try blowing smoke up our rear.

Be aware that CAPs are well versed in their organisational “systems.” Specifically, CAPs have intricate experience in bypassing organisational procedures and protocols in a way that safeguards their backside, while appearing to be performing their role to a high level of efficiency and effectiveness.

So remember, when you’re next calling customer service, remember that we are ranking you, judging you and what you get served is entirely up to you… unless you fail to meet our subjective standards, in which case you’re also screwed. Be nice!

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Dear Dr. Puffetic,

I’ve just turned 38 and most of my younger friends are now married with kids and have their own house. Although I’m flat broke, I still want to go out and have fun, meet lots of new people and travel to exotic destinations (I’d like to try space travel!), but my friends are telling me to settle down and find someone special before I miss the boat. What should I do?

Yours truly,
Party Person

Dear PP,

Never mind space travel, you’re high enough already. You are displaying the classic symptoms of an end of life crisis which is obviously exacerbated by a condition that we medical professionals refer to as EASY (Erroneous Anonymous Sexual Yuckiness). It is highly likely that you are reaching the final stage of the illness where you regress into un-datable syndrome, which unfortunately brings you to the end of a useful existence. The rapid and advanced aging process you have experienced is most likely due to your indulgence in illicit drugs and debauchery. The main reason you haven’t noticed this is because of your short attention span. Now I haven’t finished yet, so pay attention.

Unfortunately, although your friends have correctly assessed your condition, their proposal of settling down with a life long mortgage and a couple of delinquent children to squabble over your meagre possessions after you die of boredom is somewhat misguided. To be frank, the only possibility of you being committed to something, is if you are sentenced to a mental institution, which shouldn’t be ruled out.

Critically, you are now beyond society’s useful age and so your only option at this stage is to select an appropriate retirement village and wait out the inevitable. The inevitable of course being that this “aged” environment will enable you seek and pick up a rich person on their death bed, thus allowing you to pursue your chosen lifestyle with more vigour once you pay your respects and cash in the inheritance.

Yours knowingly,
Dr Puffetic

Do you or a friend suffer from EASY? Tell us your experience by commenting below.

Dear Dr. Puffetic,

Having recently taken up a position into middle management, I find myself alienated from my co-workers. In some cases, I am actually experiencing a large amount of resentment, which is from people who I still think of as close friends. I have explained to everyone that I am still the same person and that just because I am now their manager and on a bigger salary, doesn’t mean I am not approachable and can’t continue the same relationships that we always had. But I can’t seem to make them see reason. How can I be their friend again?

Yours truly,
Lonely Supervisor

Dear LS,

It would appear you are suffering from Alienated Supervisor Syndrome, which you’ll be comforted to know is quite a common condition amongst managers and supervisors. Sufferers of this condition often believe it is the non-managerial staff who contract this serious illness, however this is just part of their own affliction and one of the common symptoms is believing that everyone else has the problem. This unfortunate condition is the result of a physical change to the manager’s neural pathways that compels them to believe that they are superior. Unfortunately, the result of this change is that you become somewhat less intelligent, as previous information centers in your brain cease to operate. This in turn negates the Manager’s mental capacity to perceive their own stupidity, which Scientists have attributed to an evolutionary regression that is necessary to perform the new role. Interestingly, sufferers of this illness also have a much higher mortality rate than other humans in their age group.

Until better smart drugs can be developed, sufferers such as yourself can only recover from this ASS condition by resigning from your untenable position and focus on becoming a team player.

Yours knowingly,
Dr. Puffetic

Do you or a friend suffer from ASS? Let us know by commenting below.

So you just slammed into some moron’s Ferrari with your 90 model Hyundai. Yeah, the jerk was talking on his mobile, probably organising a sizeable money transfer to his charity organization called the “I Am A Tosser Foundation”, when he slammed on his brakes because he saw a school girl walking on the sidewalk who might not understand abuse as well as his previous 2 girlfriends, stupor models, that turned out to be his cousins who have since returned to prostitution. Unfortunately, your Hyundai doesn’t stop like a pedophile in a super car, so the collision was unavoidable. Luckily the damage was minimal, in fact you get away with just a scratch on the bumper.

Unfortunately that Ferrari just crumbled like some dot.com boom and because you ran into him and weren’t in the same criminal league, you passed on your details and effectively claimed liability. Luckily you had insurance! How thoughtful of you. Being a responsible adult, you spent hours and hours on the net researching insurance and found a reputable company called “Dodge E Insurance” in the Hey-Man Islands. Upon receiving your new policy, you received a policy disclosure document that was about the size of your average Fifty Shades of Manure novel, but even less compelling reading. You were sure there were some important clauses in there, but like most people, you have complete trust in multi-national conglomerates, or indeed, backyard unlicensed operators… if it saves you a dollar. Hey, were only human right? Well, except for my neighbor, I think he’s definitely from another planet, but that’s another story.

So what’s all this about? I mean, apart from the fact that I hate Ferrari drivers. Well, my insurance premium went up for no reason, so it’s open season on Insurance Companies. Huh?? What happened to the guy in the Ferrari? Oh, I don’t know, this post was getting too long and I was getting further and further away from the topic, which was actually my hatred for insurance companies. But don’t let that water down my distaste for Ferrari drivers. Let’s just say for the sake of completeness, the Ferrari driver was allegedly sent to jail for Donkey Molestation and all his assets were removed under some “Proceeds of Crime” act.

Anyway, you get a letter in the snail mail telling you that your insurance premium just went up 20 percent, even though you’re a rating one human being with no prior convictions of Donkey Molestation. In fact, you won’t find a finer citizen in the customer pays on time world, than yourself. You work hard, despite being viciously underpaid and you almost never go on killing sprees because of your suppressed personality, so naturally you’re inwardly outraged at this attack on your financial viability. You scream, you spit, you demand for some insurance company CEO’s blood while a bit of smoke comes out of your ears (you make a mental note to stop smoking Cuban cigars). You’re so furious, that instead of continuing to bottle it up inside like you normally would, you consider making a polite phone call, to find out if maybe the insurance company made an honest mistake and might consider giving you one of those student pensioner discounts that they give out when signing people up.

It goes something like this:
Insurance rep: “How can I help you today?”
Loyal Customer: “Yes, my premium just went up and I….”
Insurance rep: “Oh, so you’re an existing customer… yeah, all premiums have gone up, what do you want… I’m extremely busy you know?”
Loyal Customer: “Yes, well umm, it went up 20%, I think that’s a bit excessive”
Insurance rep: “It’s in line with industry expectations. There were some unforeseen weather events, wars and political situations that we didn’t forsee. So you need to pay for that.”
Loyal Customer: “What? Why! I won’t pay!”
Insurance rep: “Wow, is that a threat, good for you!”
Loyal Customer: “If it was an industry expectation, how can it be unforeseen? Surely it’s your business to forecast these events.”
Insurance rep: “Oh yes, most definitely. We factor in these events by regular and automatic premium increases, as specified in the Product Disclosure Statement.”
Loyal Customer: “I read it, there was no mention of a 20% increase in one year.”
Insurance rep: “Wow, I didn’t think anyone read those. Anyway, I think you’ll find on page 688, section 2.3.4, our company has the right to invoke the greed clause. This clause is further explained in our Product Non Disclosure Statement where I quote, ‘in the event that I SCREW U Enterprises (underwriter of Dodge E Insurance) requires additional profit, we may increase premiums by an unspecified amount with insufficient notification for the purposes of improving our bottom line. This may be necessary in times of low profitability, high profitability, to maintain our badass image, or just because we feel like it’.”
Loyal Customer: “Well… You… that’s just…. I am… You suck!”
Insurance rep: “Our company appreciates your valuable positive feedback and thanks you for your continued business. Have a nice day.”

Okay, so maybe I didn’t follow through with any call. But I did have to renew my insurance policy at even more exorbitant rates. So I reserve the right to be very, very pissed off. I feel much better now. Thanks for asking.

Odour is my companion and I really can’t pretend
That if I get too close to you, I’m likely to offend

Normally that’s okay, since I’m enclosed in a truck
If you rode inside with me, surely you would chuck

It’s not from a lack of showers, that I smell this way
The crap you discard, is what gives me this bouquet

Throw out a rotten egg and last night’s leftovers too
I see you still haven’t taught junior how to use the loo

Nothing to be embarrassed about, but I’ll be frank
The stuff you’re throwing out, is actually quite rank

Of course it’s my career, to clean up after your mess
To collect all those things that humans fail to digest

There’s scraps, there’s bottle caps and lets not forget
That I also have to pick up that poor expired pet

You’d think Rover could get a decent burial, but no
In the bin the old boy goes, along with your broken hoe

To make our mark, we need to surpass minimum wage
Yes there are a few by-products, in the disposable age

That’s the problem with society today, no one thinks
I might be the one that smells, but it’s you that stinks

There is a wealth of information out there about staff on long term leave returning to work. That’s all well and good for people recovering from serious illness or injury, but what about the people who are returning to work after a short term holiday?

You just can’t underestimate the difficulty in re-entering the workplace after a holiday. That is unless of course you work in a stress or thought free environment like an elected government official or if you just happen to like your job, such as in the case of a mobster, parking officer or some other psycho career choice. Although I don’t know why those types would even need a holiday? But if you’re not one of society’s undesirables, then returning to work can be somewhat traumatic.

Consider for example that you spent the last five days on holiday, lying on a beach with the warm sun baking your body, listening to the waves crashing in the background while dropping in and out of naps like a 90 year old watching an action movie. You got out of bed each morning because, wait for it, you wanted to! The only coffee you were drinking was a well prepared latte, for the purpose of self-indulgence rather than a caffeine enhancement to keep your eyes opened and even that dodgy takeaway meal just seemed to taste better when you are on holiday. Your only duty, to rest up, make sure you have enough energy for a big lunch, a massive dinner and a few nice glasses of wine and beer for dessert. The most stressful thing you had to deal with was jumping from the hot spa at the heated “wade in” swimming pool to the refreshing blue ocean.

But as fate has it, all good things must come to an end. It turns out, the best things in life are most certainly not free, therefore you must work your butt off to collate vast amounts of cold hard cash to afford more of these “best things,” like food, water, shelter and a luxury yacht. So like it or not, you’re suddenly knee deep again in the stench of your work environment until you can figure out the perfect crime to make the actual money you require.

So back to reality then, work. It’s such an ugly world. Unlike the tropical paradise you just came from, in this place, people are no longer queuing happily for their turn on the water slide. They’re not wearing a deeply satisfied smile as they ride the elevator up from their expensive hotel’s lobby. Nope, the people around you are now in fact screaming for service and for your blood if they don’t get it. What just over a day ago was a well prepared latte, is now an instant coffee that tastes something like stagnant water from a city swamp. For all you know, it IS stagnant water from a city swamp. It wouldn’t make a difference, hey, it may even be beneficial if it sends you to an early grave, preferably before you have to work a full week. So there you are, a bitter taste in your mouth and you’ve hit rock bottom after your beautiful holiday. You look like shit although the sunburn will fade, you feel like shit because you don’t want to be here and according to your boss, you ARE shit!

But fear not and don’t give up, if you are in fact just shit, then it’s your duty to stink up the workplace. Aside from that, there are a few things you can do to ease yourself back into the rat race. All it takes is a little preparation and the right mindset to combat those that thrive on your misery.

Firstly, the night before you are due to go back to work, leave a hammer next to your alarm clock. Smashing the clock when it goes off at your normal 5.30am wake up is the best way of getting you in the right frame of mind for a busy day. It’s probably a bit early to throw a sickie, but if your mental state is in such decay, don’t take it off the table. But generally, try to save sickies for when you are feeling at your best.

You’ve made it out of bed. Next, it’s the breakfast of champions. Over the past week, your stomach has become accustomed to the “big breakfast” option by the ever efficient room service at your resort hotel, or that nice little café overlooking the beach. Try to soften the shock by eating four breakfast bars, instead of your normal one. Eat it while you are overlooking your children’s sand pit, for the beach effect (if you don’t one, maybe your kitty’s litter box?). Wash it down with orange juice instead off instant coffee since you’re not ready for caffeine yet and also because orange juice is often a base to many holiday cocktails. The key is to “ease” yourself into things.

Now you’re on the road, don’t take on the F1 drivers on the way to work on your first morning like you normally do. Yes, we know that speeding and weaving through traffic will improve your overall position and give you a sense of self-satisfaction as you “win” between sets of traffic lights. But this added concentration is often at the expense of your calm. Instead, just drive to work extra slow, with your finger held high out the window in the customary “bird” position. Other driver’s will be sympathetic that you are returning from holiday and will courteously give you a wide birth. Their frequent honks are votes of support. Be content to waste a few extra minutes, don’t worry about being late, it’s expected.

Once you’re in the office, turn on your computer then find the lunchroom and relax until the IT staff come in, since you have forgotten all your computer passwords. It HAS been a week after all and forgetfulness symbolizes a great holiday. Make sure you let the IT nerds know that the network is running slowly, your computer is making an abnormal buzzing sound and that something appeared on your screen saying “virus detected,” but that you didn’t have time to read the full message, so you just pressed the “install” button. That will undoubtedly by you some more down time.

The computer nerds look worried since they couldn’t find anything, but you’re now logged in, the clock is running. You can start looking forward to going home now. Before reading any emails than have banked up, remember that your boss is a dumbass. He/she did not attend any “How not to be a dumbass” courses while you were on holiday. Even if they did, you can’t undo their troubled childhood and their lack of matches on dating sites. The smart drugs they require to bring them up to your intellectual level are simply not available yet. Sort your emails by name, find your bosses name, then delete them all. Once they’re in the office, don’t bother engaging them in conversation, just ignore them as you normally would. Yes, it’s difficult not to want to correct some of the garbage that spills from their blubbering mouth, but you are recovering from holidays, now is not the time, so ask them to call back next week when you’ll be far more ready for processing stupid requests.

As your co-workers settle in, they might ask you about how you enjoyed your holiday as they try to capitalise on your abnormally joyful mood. Remember that your work colleagues did not attend any “How not to be an incompetent annoying waste of space” classes while you were away. You didn’t talk to them before, today is not their day either. Tell them to stop sexually harassing you and immediately offload any work you have on to them.

It’s lunchtime and by now you are probably shaking with the DTs. This is your body’s response to a lack of strawberry daiquiris and a cool ocean breeze. There’s really only one option here. You need to drink more coffee until the involuntary convulsions increase to a frequency that is undetectable to the human eye. Once in this buzzed state, you will appear quite normal, however you may need to pause between words as your rate of speech increases substantially.

For the remainder of the day, it is a relatively simple exercise of “micro sleeping” at your desk. Given the amount of caffeine you have ingested, you should be able to achieve this vegetative state with your eyes open. If you’re in a more relaxed work place, just pull out your pillow and teddy bear and take a nap. Ask your colleagues to play your favourite sleepy time song. Before you know it, you will have reached the end of the working day and with any luck, by following these simple steps, by the end of the working week, you will be fully integrated into your depressing working life and ready to count down those pay cheques until your next holiday; it’s not that far away.