I have gone from a job, where my desk was literally a folding table in the area of town called, “The Rock Dump” to a cubicle in a corporate office in one of the world’s headlining cities…..Miami.
My days have gone from trying to keep busy to being so busy I barely have time to pee. My brain is filled with so much information I have to make a mental note as to where I park because I may not remember at the end of the day. I can only put so much in this little nutshell on a daily basis. Pretty soon, I’ll end up like the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live….trying to stuff too much into this little walnut.
I brought in a couple of temporary employees to help with our increasing workload. (Just trying to get ahead of the giant snowball that’s currently trying to run us down. What the snowball didn’t count on was ME running with a blowtorch…)
The temps trained with several of our team members before being set loose on their own. Apparently, in hindsight, I should have left the training wheels on a little longer for one. Or maybe upgraded them to a Big Wheel bike.
I knew we were in trouble on our first solo attempt.
Some things, when you see them – you know it’s not a good sign.
When employees come running into your cubicle, nearly knocking down everyone in their way, with eyes as big as saucers….you just know…..like you know the traffic is going to suck in the morning….something has gone south.
And not just a little south., like you missed the turn off on I-95.
I’m talking full on, slippery slope, greased up with Crisco and sliding down on a freshly polished baking sheet kind of slippery.
Without a crash helmet.
In the middle of the night.
During a blizzard.
Without your shoes.
Snot freezing to your upper lip.
The employee I was speaking with suddenly stops …. mid-sentence…. and quickly vanishes before being run over. I swear, she must be related to David Copperfield cause she disappeared so quickly I saw a little puff of smoke and some white rabbit fur in the air.
My immediate thought was, “Well, this can’t be good.”
The first thing out of my mouth?
“Hey. What’s shaking?”
Looking at the sight in front of me….one temp and a distraught employee.
Another deep breath.
Better hitch up your waders, things are about to get deep
Oh yeah….and we’re going to step in it.
The employee says, “I was trying to explain how I would answer the email.”
Okay so tell me about the email.
BACKGROUND (Cue elevator music): One of the jobs in our department is to answer inquires that arrive via email. An email had come in that morning from an individual we will call Ms. Smith. The message, in its entirety, said:
“I had sent a previous email but haven’t heard back. Could you please call me at (000) 123-4567? Thank you, Ms. Smith”
All right then, so what’s the problem? The employee says she advised the temp to look for the previous email, find out their question and get the answer before calling. Please note, this employee is about the most gentle and mild mannered employee one could ask for anywhere. She’s fantastic, so I was a little baffled by the current situation.
Apparently, the temp ignored the employee’s suggestion and picked up the phone and called Ms. Smith. Why? “To make the connection with our customer,” she said. Which was something I stressed in an earlier meeting with the temps.
CUE: The crickets – about 20 of them.
Clearing of the throat…..waiting.
The employee explains her position again and how she pulled the temp aside and very quietly told her that she would have advised to approach it differently. She goes on to say she was trying to explain her approach but maybe she didn’t explain it as best she could have in reality.
Now, the temp is wiping tears away and standing with her arms crossed. Looking at the floor. Well hell, this is awkward on several levels:
A.) We’re all fully certified grown adults.
B.) I can’t figure out what all the drama is about.
C.) I don’t do tears.
Okay. I explain how everyone has a different way of seeing things. While we work for a giant corporation, which you could call the giant pink panda in the room….in reality, our portion is just a toenail of the entire process. We’re not even a whole toe….just the toenail. No big deal – we just have this tiny little area to concern ourselves with in order to make the big pink panda a complete pink panda.
They both agree.
The employee says, “She wanted a manager present.”
Here I am….in my hip-waders. Can’t get any more present than I am currently.
“For the apology.”
Blink . Blink.
“She wanted a manager present for the apology.”
I look at the temp. She confirmed, “I wanted a manager present.” Eyes back to the floor.
Now I’m totally confused. Apology? It’s obvious, I must have nodded off somewhere between the tears and the toenail. Apology for what exactly?
The employee explains, “She didn’t like my tone of voice. I’m sorry.”
CUE: The crickets. Strike that. CRICKET. Only one required. One slightly confused cricket would be perfect.
Apology noted on behalf of all parties via the manager. (Seriously? I mean seriously? WHERE was the entrance to the rabbit hold I just fell down?)
Temp accepts the apology and walks out of the cubicle.
I reassure the employee life will go on and it’s fine – don’t worry. She leaves the cubicle.
Very quietly, I stand up. Listen to the surroundings. No indication of anyone approaching the immediate area. I take off the hip-waders, hang them up on the peg and ponder to myself….
Why do I have such a pain in my side?
Oh yeah, I have to go pee.