Placation

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I am not sure if that is the right word or not. Generally, I am not at a loss for words but the definition for placation kind of fits but doesn’t at the same time.

The definition means that there is some sort of concession or giving of ground. But what if that isn’t really the case? What if someone has just told you something, like “Let’s discuss this at a later date,” but has not intention of actually following through with their statement. They just said it to shut you up.

Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, I don’t like being treated that way either. Whatever word is appropriate to be used for that situation. Appeasement? Maybe, but again it implies that something was given up by the other party. Concession? No, that’s not it. Patronize? Yeah, maybe that’s it.

I don’t know. I just know I don’t like being treated like that.

 

Teams

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Transition is hard. Lots of people hate change and resist it when it happens. I am not really one for change for change’s sake and I don’t really fear it, but sometimes change just isn’t necessary. – especially when you have something that serves the purpose fine the way it is.

Software changes should make your life better (either more convenient, streamlined, or all encompassing). At the very least, it should make your life less complicated right off the top. At work, we are going in the wrong direction for ease and internal communication.

We are switching from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. Never heard of it? Yeah, me neither until now.

I am just learning about this new software and how to use it, but so far I am not all that impressed. It seems to have taken the social media approach to business communication. Teams doesn’t integrate Outlook with it, so not only do I have to have Teams open but I also have to have a separate program open for my calendar and email. How is that really streamlining things? It’s not. At least not yet.

Guess you could say I am not feeling much like a Teams player…

**Thank you, thank you…I’ll be here all week…**

Stepped in it

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I made the mistake of working with a client on an issue that was outside of my knowledge wheelhouse. It really wasn’t that big of a deal and should have been an easy solve for those who are more knowledgeable than I in this particular area. However, as it turns out, not only am I a “middle guy” but so is the client. So you have two middle guys passing information back and forth only to have two larger organizations duking it out above us as they blame the issue for each other.

As such, I was trying to keep my head down and just play my part in passing along information.

Well, as I was following up on this issue this morning (I hadn’t heard anything for several days, going back to last week), I found out that there were at least three other people involved, but didn’t now know that because I wasn’t included in the follow up emails as the issue continues to cause problems.

To add even more confusion, one of my colleagues who was trying to be helpful (though she often steps where she shouldn’t) saw an email in our customer support account that wasn’t addressed properly and started an completely new client ticket before looking to see if there was history on the issue. Now, the issue is in giant CF mode!

I didn’t want to deal with this issue in the first place, so I am going to do what anyone else in my position would do when they venture onto the farm and promptly step into a big pile of B*LLSH#$%…pass it to a colleague who should have been dealing with it in the first place.

Now, I need to find a rag to wipe off my shoes.

Planning

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So, I am doing a training today. Teaching teachers to use the software the should be using for grading students.

I am usually the type of guy who doesn’t mind someone pointing at something and say, “Do it.” I show up, and do it.

BUT, this morning is a bit different. I wasn’t a part of the planning of this and I found out yesterday there are all kinds of factors that could make this morning go very poorly.

First, this training was supposed to be to one district who requested the training. Somehow members of another district managed to get into the training. I think I nicely took care of that issue by letting them know that the training was indeed intended for a specific district and that they weren’t really invited.

Second, the registration website being used to sign participants up for the training says the training starts at 8:30am. My calendar says it starts at 9:00am. So which is it? OK, I am flexible and can go with the flow….except for the last thing…

Finally, there is a meeting scheduled in the room where the training is supposed to take place. The meeting is scheduled from 7:30-9:00am. Uh, that is a problem! Not only can I not set up and prepare for my training, but if the training is truly supposed to be at 8:30am what am I supposed to do with the people who show up on time for the training?

Yeah. This could turn into a CF real quick.

I know my stuff. I don’t have an issue working on the fly. Hell, I taught high school for 15 years. I can go with the flow with the best of them…but at least I had some control of my environment to some degree. In this case, I have little to none.

And on top of it all? I am wearing slacks on a Friday, which is supposed to be casual day at the office. Damn.

 

Survival mode

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One day. Just make it through the day.

Friday before a long weekend. Will it be busy? The hope is that it won’t be because district employees will be taking advantage of their last long weekend of the summer. Alas, the hope had died on the vine…

We are already running and I don’t think we have hit the ground yet.

The flood of support tickets continues. At one point yesterday, I had six open support tickets and trying to support them all at the same time. Today, I already have two to start with. Hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.

Watch out people! The weekend is nearly upon us. Keep your head down today, enter survival mode, and make it through the day. Just one last push to weekend freedom!

Do your job

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The job I have is to help people with the software they use every day. I help them extract data from the software and help then fix issues when it doesn’t work correctly.

What I don’t like doing is their jobs for them.

We often get requests that are a are a regular function of their job, something they should know how to do after years of working at the job. Yes, there are those who are new to the position so I can understand asking for help at that point.

However, there are lots of people who call us on a regular basis to help them get data from the system they should have learned how to do by now. They just refuse to figure it out.

“Oh, it’s just easier if you do it.” 

“I know it is accurate when you do it.” Um, no, not necessarily. It’s your data. We don’t know if it is accurate. We just tell you what we see.

“It takes too much time to learn this stuff.”

Good grief…just freaking do your job.


Anyone else out there tired of doing someone else’s job? What is it and why do you do it?

System malfunction

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I work in software support. I am an analyst. I solve problems. I train people on the software. I make suggestions for improvement.

Yesterday, I discovered a major issue with the new product that could potentially put the brakes on software migration from the old version to the new version. It won’t stop it, but it has the potential to slow the process drastically until it is fixed (which could take months).

Needless to say, I am not on everyone’s “happy list” today.

I love my job.

 

Sit down and shut up

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One thing I know for sure, teaching a class or training people never goes quite as planned. There are always things you can’t account for, even when you have experience and account for things you know will happen – because they always do.

I was a high school teacher for 15 years. One thing I got used to was that students, no matter how engaging the lesson was, never were really invested in what they were learning. I mean who are we kidding, right? Students don’t see how what they are doing now prepares them for something down the road, in the future. They are too focused on today to understand that. So interest in class was always a challenge, no matter the subject.

Now that I am no longer in the classroom, I am teaching at a different level, so to speak. I am teaching adults (teachers and school district employees) about how to use the software they use every day. Now, we are talking about people with different life experiences than students. People who know that what they are being taught will be useful to them immediately, or at the very least in the very near future. YET, they are, in some cases, a worse audience than high school students!

Teachers are a notoriously bad audience. I know because I was one of those bad audience members. But I see it all the time from adults. They sit and have side conversations, text, look at email, grade papers, etc. I even had one teacher watching the World Cup on his computer while at a training class. Yeah, real professional, buddy.

Listen, I get that teachers have a millions of things on their mind and a billion other things to do. I can totally relate! BUT, if you won’t let your students (or at least have the expectation that your students will not) act this way, why do you think it is acceptable to act that way when you’re in class? You’re an adult, for pete’s sake. Have a little more self-control than your 4th graders for crying out loud.

So, SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!

Software updates

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“We’re sorry, the software update over the weekend broke the software. Your job will be impossible until it is fixed. Please be patient as the squirrels work magic to make it work again.”

OR

“Daylight Savings, in conjunction with a software update over the weekend, has broken your software. Please freak out and give us a call.”

Damn, we have a bad case of the Mondays today….

Error 404

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I am not totally sure what that means, but I do know it means whatever I was trying to do on the internet isn’t working, and it is frustrating as hell.

“Page not found.”

“We’ve encountered a problem. Try again.”

“HTTP server not found.”

It all means that whatever is trying to be done ain’t working and everything comes to a grinding halt.

Ugh, tech problems are the worst!

Anyone else have a “favorite” that short circuits their day?