30 January 2010
Week in Review 30 January 2010
Not much to report this week. I had no therapist, psychiatrist or GP appointments for a change
Work: This full-time work week hit me like a ton of bricks. It is as if all my clients all knew I was back in the office all on the same day. I simply cannot keep up with the email, nor respond as quickly as I used to with some of my more high-profile clients. I still have emails unread dating back to this past Monday 25 January.
I had one major escalation that was a forefront priority for me that I had to stay on top of from the start. The problem was presented to me last Friday afternoon and it resulted in a client wanting a particular service on a product we offer. I let the client know that I understood the importance of a speedy reply to see if we could accommodate his request. No one on my team could give me a firm answer, so I was directed to Technical Operations.
Well, that group did not respond back as quickly as I hoped, but I dropped the ball by not keeping the client completely in the loop in just continuing to communicate that we were still looking into it, but so far, we had not heard back from Tech Ops. The client decided to escalate the issue above me that did not put me in the fairest of light (sometimes you learn your lessons best the hard way).
When all was said and done and Tech Ops told me that we could not accommodate the client’s request, my main concern was regarding who should be the one to tell him: someone from Tech Ops or me (I figured Tech Ops could explain better the technical details of why we could not provide the requested service).
After getting a few other emails from the account team who was also working with this issue, including my manager, and realized that no one had STILL not communicated anything to the client—now a week later—I decided to be proactive.
I called him and reiterated just how important this issue was for them; I told him I that I was remiss in not keeping the lines of communication more fluid in the intervening time, and offered my apologies for the duration of time it took for me to give him a final answer that we could not technically provide the requested service. He was very understanding. He said that he knew I was working hard behind the scenes. I still took responsibility for my lack of communication, and we parted amicably. He said he would contact me next week about some other information he would be requesting, more notably the specifics of the services offered by the products we were supporting for them.
This whole ordeal probably put a smear in my column in my manager’s eye, but I just have to chalk it up to an experience learned. I have always felt very strongly about providing excellent customer service to my clients; I do not know why I dropped the ball on this.
My other problem, which might have leant itself to the aforementioned issue, was the enormous amounts of email that kept streaming in. At the end of every day, there have been approximately 80-90 emails I still have not read, some stemming back, as I said, from Monday the 25th. I only have eight hours in a day (no overtime allowed) and can only process so much. I quickly scan throughout the day the subject headers to ferret out what might be higher priority items. I catch what I can, but I know there are clients who are still awaiting a response from me. In some cases, the questions I am being asked require me to run reports which take 24 hours to run, so that already puts me behind a day. Then I get emails where I simply do not know how to take care of the problem (my memory is still wreaking havoc). Thankfully I have a 12-member team who I can reach out to, but I fear they will get tired of my questions soon enough. What I fear is that they will not remember that I was only on this new job for two-and-a-half months before being out on a three-month medical leave. Essentially, I am still on my learning curve. There are parts of this job I just have not been exposed to yet which is resulting in me being slow on the uptake.
The bright side of this week was my performance review that my manager held with me on Tuesday. He said he was remarkably pleased at just how far I have come in gaining experience in the position and how fast I was learning everything. He pointed to my desire to provide superior customer service as one of my strengths, and the one thing I needed to develop was my sense of self-confidence in performing my job. If he only knew! I did discover that the company approved raises for everyone and I merited a 3.5% increase. Well, it is better than nothing! I also found out that the company has approved a performance bonus this year payable in early March. I am not sure what mine will be, but I will be happy to receive whatever I get. (business has been good, thankfully).
My Car: Well, ole Betsy (never her real name, just seemed fitting at the moment) has retired. I have been spending the last two weeks searching for another car. I want to stay with a Honda as mine lasted for 16 years with mega-mileage. I looked at several dealerships thinking I would examine their certified used cars that came with a warranty. In each case, all they had were Civics comparable to mine —somewhat new, but with massive mileage. Sure, affordable, but I would be right back where I was in a short time. The other choices were the high-end Accords that were not affordable. I had already examined a new 2010 Honda Fit Sport that, when we got down to negotiating, was a far cry lower than the Accords. At this point, why should I pay more money for a used Accord when I can have a brand new Fit for a few thousand less? Moreover, this one comes with a lifetime power train warranty (the very thing that went out on my old car that never had more that the standard bumper-to-bumper three years or 36,000 miles). I did negotiate a good deal and got rid of the sales person and dealt directly with the manager who ultimately had the final say so. We must have pushed the proverbially piece of paper back and forth about five times. Nuts and bolts, I will be getting the car at $3500 less MSRP plus some of the options I wanted. I have never been afraid to negotiate and walk out the door, and this particular dealership (the last of the three locally, two of which I had already walked out when they didn’t meet my price) started hedging when I said that I was prepared to drive 90 miles or so across the state line to get a better deal. Then they started singing my song. I will be picking up the car next Saturday.
General Info: Aside from the constant anxiety at work, my bipolar appears still to be in balance. In addition, my sleep patterns are almost back to normal. It has been such a long time since I have been able to say that. Currently, I am not depressed or manic. Is this what “normal” is supposed to feel like? I would not know; I have never been here before.
Next week I have my appointment with my therapist and psychiatrist. I did have quite an unexpected expense this week. I had to get my bipolar meds refilled. I already know that I have to stay on them, so I bit the bullet and called my insurance’s 90-day prescription by mail program. I had to fill my Geodon and Provigil (not generic) and my Lamictal. Because I still had $1150 of my $1200 deductible, one or some of those meds were going to have to be a full retail price. I almost fell off my chair when they quoted me the Geodon at roughly $1172 for a 90-day supply. So, that drug alone covered my deductible and I got the other two dugs with the insurance cap. Now, how many people can say that they’ve met their medical insurance deductible by the third week in January…LOL.©2009