Thursday, June 29, 2006

What a Day...

Today was notification day. A day which several departments within my company would notify each of their employees what their future with Verizon will be.

Fortunately I was given the good news that my employment will continue and I may have new or more responsibilities as they determine the right positions for the remaining employees. I never felt that I had anything to worry about although I tried to be aware that I could be one of them.

It is a good feeling to know that the hard work we put in does not go unnoticed. I have always believed that if people were asked to rate themselves that they would be honest about their value. As all the speculation has taken place over the last month the most interesting thing is the people that said they felt they were safe were and those that said they were scared ended up being the ones let go. I think something I learned today is that we all know our own value as employees and how we are perceived by those that matter.

For those people that were let go today, many of them were friends of mine, I wish them the best. It is not a good thing to see anyone lose their job. I hope that they are able to use this as a new door opening and they can step through it and achieve even more.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things I remember about Fourth of July and Summer Vacations

1. Waiting to help Grandpa turn the crank for the ice cream maker on their porch in Swainsboro, GA.
2. Rides on Grandpa’s riding mower with the triangle shaped steering wheel
3. Dad being Uncle Sam and reciting Red Skelton’s commentary on the Pledge of Allegiance
4. Fourth of July Festival at Riverhills Park
5. Homosassa
6. Tampa Bay Rowdies games
7. Learning the Cherokee Indian Rain Dance
8. Dad’s Big Mac shirt
9. Camping at Stone Mountain, going to the baseball game and that HORRIBLE storm.
10. Camp Endeavour
11. Playing in the woods around the river when it was dried up.
12. The pool at the Country Club
13. Camp Indian Head

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1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Wordless Wednesday: No Braids Here...

The Sky is Falling….Someday We Will Look Back and Laugh…

So as I read the comments left by my Dad I am left to consider how true it really is. As I think back through my life and the things that I thought were the end of the world, I realize that he is 100% correct. Things become more trivial and we realize as we get older that you just cannot worry about the things you cannot control.

I think back through the things in my life that gave me hard times and I thought my world was coming to an end. There could be nothing worse that could happen to anyone in the whole world, “The Sky Was Falling”. I remember things like my Dad coming to meet all my teachers the day after report cards would come out. Boy was my world crashing around me at that time. I avoided any part of the school that I thought I might run into my Dad for that entire day. I realize today that my Dad checking in with my teachers was not so bad. It just meant that he cared and that he wanted nothing but the best for me. He knew I could do better and that he was just trying to learn how to get the most out of me.

I think about the time I lost my sport coat, I persuaded my sister to sign me out of school and take me shopping to get a new one, I had to replace it before it was found out that I lost it. It was Christmastime and we went to the mall so I could buy a new one. While parking there was my father’s car in the parking lot, they were Christmas shopping. Boy we scrammed away from that mall fast. Now what really would have happened had I admitted to losing my sport coat? What if we had been caught signing me out of school. I made my sister promise to never tell a soul. At the time it would have not been something that I or my Sister would like to find out the reaction to. Today we laugh about it. She kept the tags from that sport coat for a long time and would hold them over my head.

Then there is everyone’s favorite, the “Dress Rehearsal Graduation”. Man it seemed like the end of the world, I thought I had hit rock bottom. I had not gotten all my facts straight and found that I was not able to graduate when I thought I was. How was I ever going to tell them? People were traveling to see me graduate, it would embarrass me and my parents if I had to tell everyone the whole thing was off. Today I can look back at it and chuckle about it. I even tell people about it when they tell me how bad they think their issues might be at the time. If nothing else it is always good for a laugh.

I can see how those perceptions do change. My Dad used to give us all a little saying when we would tease him about getting older and right now I am going to turn it around a little. “Remember you have those years, we still got them to get.” By the way, I am proud to have grown up swimming in the “gene pool” that I did.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Need to Follow Up.....

Ok, I have read all the comments from my last post as well as talked to some of my friends that read it and must say that I feel the need to follow-up. I do understand that this is just the way it is and these are the things I cannot change. I do not let it bother me too much they are just the things that make me shake my head.

Coming from a sales/customer service background I think it is ashame that so many companies have lost site of what made them as successful as they are. My own company forgets this at times. Having to deal with them face to face and to be the one to try and smooth over the company procedures and policies with the customer's perception is never an easy task. Many customers still deal with businesses under the belief that the customer is always right. We know that the customer is definitely not always right.

While I have argued many times with those same ideas, there are many times that I can admit I definitely was not in the right. I always try to step back and look at things from both sides. I also try to remember the person I am dealing with does not make the rules they are only the voice to communicate them.

I think what get's lost in everything is the customer just does not understand and too many times the company representative just quotes the rule rather than the reason. For instance in my Microsoft/Dell dilemma I could not understand why I register and activate my software yet they cannot help me retrieve any of my information from it. The technology has to be there. Perhaps someone could have just explained it to me. They could have told me anything rather than just saying no.

Anyway, I am going to let that all go. It really did not bother me too much, I found it more comical than anything as I thought back through it. I also know the answer to the question of the post. I control my life not anyone else. Had I returned that software back to where it belonged the last time I used it, I would not have been in that situation. I really did not like the title I put there but I was honestly too tired to stop and change it to something else.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Who really controls our lives....

What a weekend this was. I did not do the big project I wanted to it really was too hot to spend a lot of time in the yard digging, building a wall and redoing the landscape. I did manage to get some things done that needed to be done.

It started on Friday, I went to Home Depot to pick up my trimmer that was supposed to have been repaired under warranty. To quickly bring you up to speed, they tried to tell me i would have to pay to have it fixed when it was still in warranty and I bought their extended warranty. If it was determined that it was not a manufacturer's defect I would have to pay. If I did not want it fixed I had to pay for that too. So....I go and pick it up and the first thing they say is it was not a manufacturer's defect and I had to pay $37.90. I explained to them quickly that my agreement when I brought it in there was that I would not have to pay anything. They quickly found the notes and agreed. My question at that point was who decides if it is a product defect or my misuse of the equipment. Afterall, the gas hose broke off inside the gas tank on mine. Is it really possible that I could have had something to do with that. Nonetheless after arguing when I dropped this off Home Depot covered the cost.

Saturday I was having some computer problems. Was not anyone to blame but myself. I get impatient sometimes when things seem to not be working and I cancelled an upgrade before it was done. Then I could not remove or correct the issue. I kept getting an annoying popup message about every 3 minutes and I had just about had it. So I decide I am going to reload my entire computer. Normally this is not so difficult except I cannot locate my Microsoft Office CD. However, Dell makes it easy now as they hide a copy of your system on your own hard drive and you can use it to correct any problem. The only drawback is you lose anything you have added and any files you might have on there. No problem, I backed that all up. Was not really a big deal. I go to confirm I have all my disks and I am unable to locate my Microsoft Office CD. Now it is not totally necessary since according to Dell my system will be EXACTLY as it was when I unboxed it. I even chatted with their online support and they confirmed this.

I decide to move forward and venture into this project. I am confident based on what they told me that it was true. Heck I even have it in writing and I saved it. The reload goes very easy. Completed in about 5 minutes. I proceed to set everything up again and I am unable to set up Microsoft Office. You see, you have to have the CD's, or I guess I should say the product code off the cd's/certificate of authenticity. Now what am I going to do, I cannot find that darn disk. I have every system disk but that one.

I go back to Dell and they say "Sorry 'bout your luck call Microsoft". I then call Microsoft and after I explain everything the guy says no problem can you please get your Office CD. I stop and I say if you had listened to me at all instead of following your script you would have heard me say I did not have them. He then shuts down and says well sir there is nothing we can do if you do not have them. Mind you I registered and activated my software with them originally, why can't they help me? What is the point in registering/activating it. But they tell me I will have to buy a new copy of this software.

Now does Bill Gates really need this $374 from me just so I can use the software I have already purchased? Doesn't it seem a company with the technology of Microsoft should be able to verify my identity from when I activated the software previously and provide me with the information I need. What is the point in activating/registering this software.

Bill Gates and Michael Dell have a combined net-worth of $69 Billion. Just to put that in perspective, lets put it like this: $69,000,000,000. Now those are a lot of zeros. These two men basically OWN the world of home computing and I would venture to say pretty close to the entire computer world. Now $69 billion is enough to give everyone in the country $230. Do they really need another $374 from me? I think not.

Things like these just make you wonder who controls our lives. We are really at the mercy of others all the time. I had no choice and could not voice an opinion on my trimmer being a manufacturer defect. No one at Microsoft or Dell really cares about you misplacing your copy of their software and it does not matter that you register/activate it they are not going to help you. Where has customer service gone to these days. Does anyone care what we have to say.

The good news....My trimmer is back and I was able to mow, edge and trim the lawn and it looks fantastic. Today I dug around some more and located my original Microsoft Office CD's with the certificate of authenticity and was able to activate it. All is now well with me. But it sure is frustrating to think that so few people control so much of our lives.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

This Sums My Week Up...

A friend of mine sent me this cartoon this week. I have to say this pretty much sums up the projects I have been working on lately. I feel like Dilbert in this strip. Thank you Scott Adams for summarizing my week. I hope everyone Has a great weekend, enjoy the cartoon strip....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

...And we're back

Yes I am aware it has been a while since I last blogged. But I have been inspired and moved to jump back into this. I really have no good excuse as to why I stopped blogging other than I was just plain busy. At work I had to sit through 10 days straight of some pretty intense training on a new system. About 7 days into this training I was informed that I was expected to be the subject matter expert for 67 retail stores across our beautiful country. So I had to immediately begin learning this system differently than how I started out.

Shortly after the training my company (Verizon) informed all employees that there would be significant cuts in headcount. It began at 2%, raised to 6.6% within two days and at the end of one week we had our exact number and that was that we have to reduce our organization by 12%. Well we are a small group within a very large company so that number can be significant when you really narrow it down and look at it. Needless to say, many people have been on edge and difficult to work with. That has not made for a great work environment at the moment.

On the upside, they were recently working with me to expand my responsibilities and provide me with more visibility so that I could have more opportunities to advance within the company. Knowing that that was in the works before the announcement has given me the peace of mind to feel that I am not in any danger of losing my job. I do know the reality is I could but I really am confident that I am safe.

Oh yeah one other excuse I can use for not blogging...I had a fantastic visit with my Dad and stepmom. I took a week off of work and they flew out to Dallas to celebrate my birthday with me and visit me for the first time since I built new home. I put a lot of time into trying to make sure that everything was perfect for their visit. I wanted my home to feel like a home and wanted them to feel comfortable staying in it. I wanted them to see the pride that I have in taking care of my house and all the upkeep. I enjoy the yard work and trying to make it the nicest on the block. It is not yet there by any means but I am working on it. This weekend I will do a lot to help that, I am going to be building a brick border for my flower bed in the front of the house. Hopefully all will go smooth with that.

Now to my inspiration for jumping back into my blog. I am sure most of you reading this have read my sister's blog. She is the person that pretty much got me going in the first place. Well her and my cousin after I made one post and did not touch it again for months.

My sister and I have always been very close. We shared many of the same interests growing up. We both were active in the church, band and choir in high school, we enjoy theater and we both love the simple things in life like sitting on a porch swing. She has become an inspiration to me in that she pursues all her dreams while raising a family. I have so many dreams and things I would love to do and for whatever reason I seem to not be able to make the time for them. That is a sad fact when she is a wife, mother of four, school teacher, author and a consultant to other teachers all over the country. She also finds the time to fit in all the things she loves. I do not know how she does it but she sure does. It makes me feel bad for not even finding the time to do something simple like write a blog.

When our family would get together often times the subject of a blog or two would come up I believe this lead to my brother deciding to jump into this blogging world. Well I figure that if he is able to do it, then I definitely can do it. You see, I admire my little brother. I think about all the fun/silly things we did growing up, the fights we would get into, the trouble we would get into, the relationship we had and now I look at him not as my little brother anymore but as a role model. Heck he was the reason I learned the meaning of the word "Antagonize" at an early age. He has grown to be the man that I also want to be. He has grown into a great husband, fantastic father and good provider of his family. He works hard to give them the things they need and he is always giving of himself. If you need a hand with something you can ALWAYS count on him. He is the most reliable person I know.

Living so far away from my family is difficult. We are a very close family and always have been. It has always seemed that no matter how far apart we live or how long it had been since we had last talked or seen each other, we were always able to slip right back into our close relationships as if we had never been a part. Even more interesting than that is the fact that it is also true of our extended family. It amazes me to hear other people talk as if they are merely acquaintances with their family when I feel so close to all of mine. I cannot imagine feeling uncomfortable or that I am with a stranger if I were with anyone of them. I have my theories on why that is and I will share those more later.

For now I am going to close saying that I am back. Thank you to both my Sister and Brother for inspiring me to jump back into the blogging world. I know it is Thursday and I am posting a Thursday Thirteen but next week I assure you that I will be on board with everything. Susan and Greg I love you guys and I could not ask for a better brother or sister. You guys are awesome. Hopefully I will get back to Florida soon so we can all spend some time together.