September 2007

I started my new job this week, and it’s been fun. I enjoy being in such a comfortable atmosphere. No one seems stressed out. People are nice, patient and generally happy. I have a very strong feeling that, when I was deciding among the three positions I was offered, I lucked out and made the right choice.

I’ve never been in a work environment where I felt so immediately at ease.  Everyone has made me feel so welcome, and I feel like I can just be myself.  I’m in training this week, and through that, I’ve become acquainted with several of the help desk technicians, and I’m impressed with all of them. I know they’re going to be a real asset when I start working on the manuals. These guys really know their stuff.

My only struggle, as far as I can see, will be my own ego. So much of my self esteem is From www.taskboy.comtied up into what I do, and I’m not a manager now.  A big part of me wants that back, but that goes against my goal to scale down a bit. I’ll need to work to keep that part of me in check, lest I do what I always do and end up taking on ridiculous amounts of work just to prove my worth. If they see value in me, they’ll promote me sooner or later. I just need to trust in that.

I’m really looking forward to getting out of training, so I can start writing again.  I told my trainer yesterday that if I didn’t get into a computer soon that I’d go nuts, and that’s double today. I’m not made for sitting and watching. I need to get out there!  But I know that the learning is fundamental to my job, so I’ll happily do it.

I can’t wait until I have a handle on all the information, so I can do a good job documenting it all.  So…I guess training is a necessary evil, even though I’m chomping at the bit to get out of there!

It’s been years since I had a real vacation. As a Communications professional, my life is full of deadlines; I’m used to that and, in fact, I thrive on it. But there comes a time when too much is too much, and that’s the situation I was in at my previous place of employment.

Working for a company that started from grass roots has its positives. In that environment, someone with real initiative can fill holes the company doesn’t even realize it has. That’s what I did. I got a shovel and started filling holes. Prior to my joining the company, they had no system of communications; instead, information was passed in an ever increasing number of confusing, frustrating and often conflicting emails. But, by the time I left, they had a pretty decent system of communications going.

The flip side of initiative, though, is that there are often a lot of holes to fill. I saw a need for better manuals, so I started writing those. Then, I saw an even bigger need for editorial services, fixing everyone’s grammar, so we would look smarter. Add that to writing speeches, answering questions and running the Intranet (among many other things), before I knew it, I was doing the work of an entire Communications team. It was crazy - doing the work of five people isn’t easy - but I loved it.

Still, I didn’t realize how tired I was until about a week after I walked out the door for the last time. I’d forgotten what it was like to relax. I needed it more than I think I’ve needed anything in my life. It was rejuvenating and renewing.

Monday, I start my new job, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be doing one thing. One. I’ll be writing technical documentation. Sure, it’s not as creatively satisfying as communications work, but think of it…

I’ll be doing technical writing.

That’s it.

ONE thing.


I can’t wait to see what it feels like to have a job I’ll have a handle on. I’m excited that I’ll be able to give it my all, that I won’t be spread so thin that I can’t really dig in. Once I learn the ropes, I hope I’ll not only give them what they hired me for to do but much more than they expect. It’ll be so much fun!

I hear the company is a joy to work for, too, and if the people I’ve met are any indication, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy working with the other employees. I couldn’t be happier!

Life, as they say, is good!

I have visited
my father’s grave
(I cannot tell you how I feel;
I do not know myself.)
But, there I stood
and looked at      His Stone
and touched its coolness, and ran
my fingers along its grooves
and crevices      bitterly empty
and thought,

“This is as close as
I can ever come to knowing
your existence.

(Pictures don’t do it –
they are images of a man
long dead.)

But, you are here
[or what is left of you]
You are here, and it’s
the story of our lives:

Six feet separate
our physical selves. Six
feet that might as well
be six million…

Six feet.

And, still, I can’t touch
you, and, still, I have no                (one)
proof that you once were.
Here you are — forever
beyond my reach.”

I visited my father’s grave
and stood above him
thinking darkening thoughts
that made me want
to rip with ragged fingernails, to
grasp a shred of
rotted flesh and paper
bone. Thinking that,
if I didn’t turn to leave,

(and soon)

that I might make it so.

And, so,
judging my sanity
and the half moons of
my nails
innocent for now,
I turned and left the digging
for another day.

Copyright 7-26-1990
by Margaret Floeter
(All rights reserved.)

In 1964, a 26 year old rhythm and blues singer named Lenny Welch rLenny Welch at 26eleased a single that became one of the nations biggest records. Since I Fell for You was a huge hit, and it was among the 45s that my older sister, Marianne, had in her collection. I listened to that song and it’s “B” side, Are You Sincere? so many times that I knew them by heart by the time I was six years old.

Lenny was huge at that time. In 1962, even before Since I Fell for You came out, Lenny released the first vocal version of A Taste of Honey, which was later covered by The Beatles on their Please, Please Me album. (More about them in just a sec’.) That song would become a standard.

Even as a small child, I was struck by the quality of Lenny Welch’s voice. So pure, hearing it always reminds me of warm honey…rich, full and delicious. In a perfect world, Lenny Welch would have been a huge star, and if it weren’t for really bad timing, he would be one today. Only one thing stood between him and immortality.

John, Paul, George and Ringo.

February 7, 1964, The Beatles deplaned in New York to find thousands of teenagers, The Beatles logomostly female - screaming and crying - out of sheer excitement at the opportunity to get a glimpse of them. That was the day Lenny Welch’s burgeoning career was cut short.

Don’t get me wrong. Lenny has had a good career. His songs have been used in movies, he’s had huge hits, he’s performed at great venues across the world, he’s even appeared on General Hospital, for goodness sakes! But do you know his name? And if perhaps you do, does it have the same significance as Elvis, The Beatles, The Stones?


I think if Lenny Welch’s career had begun just a few short years sooner, he would have Lenny Wlch now - from his official websitebecome a household name. Momentum would have carried him through when The Beatles invaded the world. Instead, he faded into the background.

I hope people will rediscover his fabulous voice and style. He truly is amazing. Check out these samples from his website

Since I Fell for You

You Don’t Know Me

Ebb Tide

Here’s a great video of David and Maddie dancing to Since I Fell for You on the Moonlighting pilot.

I‘ve never understood people who think it’s acceptable behavior to call for help and then treat the person on the other end of the phone like they are trash. What makes these people think it’s okay to do that? What’s more, what makes them want to do that?

If you ask these people, they will tell you that their behavior is their way of gaining control, of getting what they want. I’m sure they’re telling the truth, but we all know that it’s not necessary to treat strangers poorly to get what you want. In fact, you can get more by treating the person on the other end of the line with kindness and respect.

So, why do they do it?

Abusive behavior often originates from a sense of entitlement. It is classic misuse of power and control within a customer service context. Sadly, abusing strangers is a learned behavior. Those who do it probably grew up watching their parents do the same thing. In addition, people who abuse frequently avoid taking responsibility for their behavior at all, blaming their abuse on the situation or the company itself. Sound familiar?

I’ve learned that there is only one way to deal with abusive callers. The first rule is that you never show your anger; doing so gives the abuser the upper hand. The second rule is to use their own behavior and account history against them. Here’s a little story to illustrate what I mean.

Years ago, while working in the retentions department at a call center, I got a call from a man whose bill had been in arrears for so long that it had been with a third party collector for over a year. This meant that the man hadn’t paid his bill in over a year and a half! I answered the call in my usual pleasant way only to have this man spit vulgarities at me at an extremely high volume. His beef was that he couldn’t get another cell phone because we had sent him to a collection agency, and he’d tried calling our call center numerous times only to be told to call the third party collector, who had told him to call us.

I let him abuse me until he stopped to take a breath, and then I said, “Sir, you’ve been run back and forth between companies unnecessarily, and I’m very sorry that happened. I would like to be the one person to do this right, but I can’t do it as long as you continue to abuse me.” This resulted in escalated abuse. The fact that I’d dared to stay calm during his tirade made his anger even worse. At this point, I chuckled audibly and said, “Sir, do you realize you’re abusing the one person who’s willing to help you? Do you think that’s a good idea? After all, I’m in control over whether this situation is handled right here and now, or whether you’ll have to continue to call in.”

Taking away his illusion of control flustered him, but the abuse continued. At this point, I pulled out the big guns. My friendly tone was replaced with a stony tone, and I said, “Sir, I’m not responsible for this problem; you are. I’m not the one who didn’t pay my bill for six months, in spite of at least 50 attempts to work with me. I’m also not the one who continued to let the bill languish at a collection agency for a year in spite of numerous calls and letters from them. Finally, I’m not , I just work for them. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at yourself, be mad at the company if you want, but don’t be mad at me. I’ve never talked to you before. I’ve never looked at your account. You are abusing a perfect stranger whose only sin is trying to help you finally clear it up.”

This was answered by silence, at first, and then by an apology. The rest of the call went perfectly. I dropped the stony voice and told him I’d do my best to help him, and I did.

This is exactly what usually happens when someone stands up to the schoolyard bully. They’re so used to lording it over the weak guys that they don’t know how to handle it when someone stands up for themselves. I’ve used this tactic numerous times as a phone rep, and it always works.

If you’re someone who abuses strangers trying to help you, remember this - the stranger on the other end of the line is truly the one in control over whether you hang up satisfied or frustrated. He or she can help you, or he or she can make the situation worse. Just as a waiter can spit in your food if you mistreat him before he’s brought it to the table, so can a call center rep hang up on you, or worse, create even more “errors” in your account.

So do what’s best for yourself. Treat the person on the other end of the line with respect and courtesy. If you don’t, you’re likely to spend a great deal more time in a state of stress and frustration.

And remember this - your violent behavior only hurts you in the end. Don’t kick the family dog or beat your wife and kids. Get some help for yourself. Abuse is abuse, no matter who it’s directed at.

Is that the person you really want to be? If so, what’s your account number? I’d be happy to take care of you. };>

I love cats.

They are they are sweet, loving and loyal. I know, I know; you think I made a mistake…that I’m talking about dogs. No; I love dogs (I have two big ones), but I really am talking about cats.

Cats are misunderstood by people who aren’t cat lovers. These people refer to them as aloof, distant, and selfish, among other things; and they are right. Unlike most dogs who will take up with just about anyone who pays them a little attention, cats are exactly what you put into them. If you don’t put time into them, they’ll be nothing more than expensive door stops.

Give them love and attention, though, and they bloom, their personalities flourish and they become so much more than little furry balls.

I have four cats - not by choice, of course. [No sane person has four cats and two dogs by choice. I saved all but one of mine from either being run over or from the pound.]

Because my son and I give them lots of love and attention, they have developed four very distinct personalities, four distinct sets of preferences - even their common language varies when they “talk” to us. The affection they give us is deliberate. The head butts and hugs saved for their humans only.

As expensive as they all are, as much of a pain in the you-know-what they can sometimes be, I can’t imagine life without my pets. They enrich our lives so much.

I know I’m preaching to the choir here. Those of you who don’t like cats will probably continue to not like them. But I hope that some of you will consider getting to really know a cat. I think you might find out you were wrong.

For those of you who don’t want to try, here’s a tip: If you don’t want the cat to pay more attention to you than he/she does anyone else, give him/her lots of attention. Most cats are very wary of attention from strangers, which is why they’re drawn to the one person who is ignoring them. When you ooo and ahhh over them, they move on to the next person who’s leaving them alone.

Here’s a neat little video. We’ve all heard the story of the lion with the thorn in its paw and how grateful it was to its rescuer. This video shows that, at least in one case, the story is true. This big guy really loves his rescuer. :)

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