The Return of Micro-MAN-ager

I joined the Navy right out of high school. I served from 1992-1998, from the ages of 18-24. Then I got out and got a “real job”. I’m glad I served, and I’d do it again, but I’m also glad I left active duty when I did. I have a lot of reasons for that.

The military seems geared toward micromanagers. I ran into a lot of micromanagers. I don’t know if it’s just the personalities that stay in the military long enough to make it into managerial positions, or if it’s just the culture. Maybe the military trains its managers to micromanage. Also, I’m willing to bet that the fact the military is made up of younger individuals with little experience plays a part too. I’m sure it’s a combination.

In any event, I resented the micromanagement. There’s a difference in being told WHAT to do and being told EXACTLY HOW, STEP BY STEP to do it, especially if it’s a task that you’re already familiar with.

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Why Are Job Descriptions So Poorly Written?

This is something that has always baffled me. When companies need to hire somebody, don’t they want to hire an experienced and talented person? If so, why do they make it so darn hard to figure out what the job actually is?

I like to keep an eye on what opportunities are out there. I wish I’d lived in a time when an employee could expect to stay with one company for an entire career. I don’t. While I do appreciate the company I currently work for, I’m under no illusions that their relationship with me can’t end at any time and for any reason on their part. Loyalty is a wonderful quality, but should not be misplaced.

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TUAW: iPhone 30% Profit Share of Apps, 30% Dropped Calls

According to The Unoffical Apple Weblog, AT&T's dropped call rate for iPhones in New York City are the exact same percentage as Apple gets in profit sharing from apps sold in the App Store: 30%. I'm not sure what AT&T's overall percentage of dropped calls is in New York City, but for the iPhone it's 30%. Wow. Not surprising though.

Ever since I got my iPhone, I've always said that AT&T is the weak link in the iPhone chain. I guess you can't say that I have any objective evidence from which to back that up. My previous few phones were Windows Mobile. You can read my rants on Windows Mobile in my archives. Windows Mobile is such a piece of crap that my phones never really ran well enough to notice whether or not I was having problems with AT&T. Once I got my iPhone, and I finally had a phone that ran stable enough, I noticed all kinds of problems. My work-issued Verizon BlackBerry didn't seem to have the same problems, although "the network" isn't without it's issues.

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Reader’s Digest Is Filing Bankrutcy? I’m Happy

My title might be a little bit attention grabbing. I came across an article stating that Reader's Digest is filing bankruptcy. Please keep in mind that bankruptcy does not mean "going out of business". It simply gives the company some court protection to rearrange finances and try to come out from under financial problems. Some bankrupt companies actually do survive. Remember when K-mart filed bankruptcy almost 8 or 9  years ago? They came out of it stronger and bought Sears. All they had to do was get rid of the idiot criminals who were running the company into the ground.

So why does Reader's Digest filing bankruptcy sort of make me happy? It's a fine magazine, but when I did business with the company, I came away from it with a horrible taste in my mouth and a vow to never again let my money fall into their hands.

I was a sailor once. I think it was about the time when I was 23 (around 1997). My poor ability to handle money left me with more month left at the end of my paycheck. I paid all my bills and blew plenty of money, but I never got ahead. I was feeling the pinch one particular month. I used to buy Reader's Digest, and I enjoyed reading it. I normally had a copy on the ship to read. Sometimes people would send them to me, and some of my shipmates read it so I never lacked a copy.

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When Surveys Get Pushy

I can remember back to the days of the last NJ Governor’s election in 2005. Let’s see, it was Demonican John Corzine vs. ideological duplication Republicrat Doug Forrester. Seriously, if I were voting AGAINST Corzine, what was my point of voting FOR Forrester, who came out at the last minute and basically said “I am Corzine!” Anyway, that’s not the point of this post. I don’t care about Demonicans and Republicrats.

During the course of the election, I had a knock at my door. It was a woman with a clipboard wanting to know who we were planning to vote for, and insistent that it be Corzine. I said I wasn’t likely to vote for either of the carbon-copy party candidates, and I would either vote Libertarian, or since voting anything BUT Demonican in New Jersey doesn’t count, maybe the New Jersey Weedman. He’s a stoner candidate. This woman wanted to know for sure who I was committed to. I don’t remember the exact date, but the election was somewhere between two months and three weeks away. Caleb was born that August, so he was between 1 and 3 months at the time. Neither of us got adequate sleep, but Christina took more of it. I decided to be nice and go back to the family room to ask her. When she said she didn’t care. I went back to the door.

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I Hate Having to do Other People’s Jobs for Them

OK, here’s the situation. In July, I visited a dentist’s office. Their business policy required me to pay for the visit up front, then they would send the claim to my insurance, and if any was covered by insurance, they would send it to me. I remember filling out a form telling them how I wanted the money refunded.

Somewhere along the way, I did get a notice from the insurance that the visit was covered and the money would be paid to the office. I heard nothing more from either. Recently, my wife has been on my case to call and find out where the money is. I hate making phone calls. I’ve documented some of the many painful hours I’ve spent trying to straighten out simple medical claims here on my blog. I finally broke down and called today.

I gave my name and the issue. The person who answered the phone immediately said “Oh, I have a note here to call you to ask what card you want this refunded to!” I decided to save any discussion of “OK, how long have you had that note, and why the heck haven’t you bothered to call me until now?” for my blog. So, here you go.

I am starting to believe that I should have the ability to bill businesses for my time when I have to call to follow up on problems that are caused by them. If they drop the ball, and I have to call to straighten things up, I should be able to send them a bill for the time I spend on the phone, plus gathering documents or searching my gmail and Evernote archives for any data related to the event. This should include Comcast and Verizon. Comcast definitely should pay me for the 40 minute phone call in which I was told by tech support that I lost my IP address and have to call Microsoft to get another one. I was also told that there were no managers or engineers (or anybody who understands DHCP networking) available. Comcast should also pay me for the last time when I called, was told I’d be transferred to Customer Service (you mean 1-800-COMCAST isn’t customer service?) and got a “The number you have dialed has been disconnected…). Seriously, Comcast, as soon I find a viable high speed internet provider, I’m leaving. Verizon DSL is NOT a viable high-speed internet provider. It was horrible, and Verizon couldn’t pay me and include my own personal 24 hour tech support to use it. FIOS might be viable, but there’s that whole Verizon stigma associated with it.

Vox Day vs. Federal Express

Vox Day is a Worldnetdaily columnist, blogger, and author. He’s also highly insightful. He currently lives in Europe and recently had a battle of wits with Federal Express in America. At least, in this recount, Vox Day was armed with wits, but FedEx was armed with business processes and morons who follow them legalistically. Vox makes some statements about humanity which I’ve been hesitant to utter myself. You should read them. Were it not for my own battles with Comcast, Aetna, Lowe’s, and several doctor’s offices, I might write Vox’s recount off as the rantings of an elitist. I understand what he went through all too well, however. You can ready some of my stories (though not all, I don’t have enough time to dig them up) of horrendous customer service and STUPID, MINDLESS business policies below.

I definitely need a good cheering up now. Why do we worship business policies and processes in this country?