26 September 2008

Just do the work/Tips are not compulsory

Filed under: Rants

I don’t have time to tell you how good you are, I have work to do. This video puts that better than I could have possibly done. However, since is this my little digital piece of real estate, I’m going to throw in my two cents.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to say this in the last few years to the generations that are now coming into the workforce in droves, called “Generation Y” or the “Millennials”. It’s all about “me” and “how good of a job I did”. It’s not about the work anymore. If I ask someone to do something, I need it done, and am asking someone to do it either because: a. It’s their job; or, b. Because I don’t have time to do it. In either case, they don’t need to send me a note back telling me it’s been done. I will know whether or not it’s been done, but, of course, that’s not what the note is for.

The note is a tip jar. It’s a reminder for you to thank you for what they’ve done and tell them how good they did it.

I’m sure we’ve all seen an explosion of tip jars lately. They’re everywhere: Starbucks, the dry cleaner, sandwich shops; I could go on forever. My question is this: You took that job knowing that you would be compensated at a fair market rate to do whatever job you’re being hired to do; be it dry clean shirts or make sandwiches.  Why is that not “fair” or “enough”? Because you think you’re so special, that salary isn’t enough for you, right?. You’re better than that. You deserve more than the person before you who took the job at the wage provided and did it to the best of their ability. So, since you’re so much better than everyone else, you put a little container there with a cute little note on it pontificating that my Karma will suffer if I don’t give you my change from the transaction for doing the job you were hired to do (and, I might add, seven times out of ten you don’t do right).

Here’s an idea. Do good work, good things will follow. Don’t “beg” for praise or extra money for doing what you are charged, and agreed, to do. Don’t bitch and complain about people you’ve just waited on when they don’t leave you a tip in full earshot of others you’ve been ignoring who have had empty water glasses for fifteen minutes. Just do the damn work you’ve been assinged, and agreed to do for the wage you agreed to do it for. If you want more money, fine, there’s nothing wrong with that. Get more skills and get a better job. Just don’t expect to extort more money out of me because you feel you “deserve” it.

Entitlement is a cancer that is slowly strangulating our society. Everyone feels like they deserve something. News flash: You don’t deserve anything, you earn it.

If these ideals of this generation were in place in the middle-part of the 20th century, we’d all be speaking German and Japanese right now because 1/3rd of the workforce would be standing around a coffee can that said “Kudos” in a festive hand waiting for someone to say “Hey, that’s a nice bomber you built there”.

If you liked this post, please take whatever tip you feel like giving me and spend it on yourself. You’ve earned it.


EDIT: I should point out that I’m not saying that all members of this generation exhibit these qualities, or that members of my own generation don’t do these things themselves. I’m merely agreeing with the video and making comments on my own experience.

21 January 2008

Can I borrow $145 billion?

Filed under: Rants

The President recently announced a plan to create a tax “break” for all Americans in order to fight the coming recession. The President said any plan should feature “direct and rapid income tax relief” to boost consumer spending. The thinking is that Americans are in such bad shape financially that they will head right from the mailbox to WalMart and blow the cash, which will in turn be good for the economy.

Um, what?

So we’ve exhausted any other plans then, huh? This is the best we’ve got? Banking on the fact that millions of people upside down in their mortgages and cars will rush out and blow a bunch of cash that the government was so nice to give them. Wow. What could possibly go wrong with that?

Well, let’s see…

First…where is this money coming from? The last time I checked, a few moments ago, we were borrowing money from China to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (COMING SOON, IRAN!), but we’re somehow going to find enough pennies in the couch in the Lincoln Bedroom to give BILLIONS of dollars away to taxpayers so they can buy a flat-panel TV to boost the American spirit?


It is a total waste of money which we don’t have. Which, ironically, makes it all the more American. What could be more patriotic than borrowing money for something we can’t afford which we don’t really need? It’s the recent American way! Six months from now nobody will even remember the checks anyway. The money will have been wasted on DVDs, getting fatter and all those other wonderful things that keep the economy going. After that, these same people will still have the same maxed-out credit cards, the same bills, and will ultimately be in the exact same shape they were before we wasted billions of dollars of money that we don’t have.

I’ve got a better idea. How about we start making our own stuff again? How about we stop relying on China, a country who is more or less laughing their collective asses of at us while they wait for our economy to collapse? How about we stop allowing greedy lenders plunder the uninformed masses with loans they know they can’t pay just to make a quick buck and move offshore before the currency is worth as much as a Zimbabwean Dollar?

This nation’s economy is in tatters, and it sickens me that the best thing our government can think of to do is send out a check to make us forget about it for 20 minutes.

End rant.

31 July 2007

We’re sorry but…

Filed under: Rants

As those of you that read this space know, I am a writer by trade.

Right now, my job is to write documentation for a large internet serivice provider to assist customers with the company’s software. I’ve done this sort of thing, in one flavor or another, for nearly two decades.

Perhaps that is why the following is so frustrating to me.

Last week I was switching BlackBerry devices and needed to change my device ID from one to another so my email could find me. This can be done on the handsets themselves, but it is easier to do it from my cell phone company’s website, or so I thought.

It was about 8pm on Thursday night when I went there to find the place in shambles. There were broken images and “we’re currently under maintenance” notices all over the place. This in itself was annoying enough, as it was frankly “prime time” for self-service web requirements, but what really got me about it was the fact that their SSL certificate wasn’t completely encrypting the pages.

For those of you who don’t know, a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate is a protocol that allows two computers to create a secure tunnel across the internet to transmit information that cannot be eavesdropped on. This is done via a certificate which is purchased by a company for their website from a trusted 3rd party who guarantees in various degrees based to the type of certificate that the website is who they say they are, and not a group of cyber-villains in a smoky room outside Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

So, here I am on the cell phone company’s website with a broken SSL connection. Now, for the most part, I like my cell phone company. I’ve been with them, in their various names, for more than 10 years and found them to provide reasonable service and do it well. With this in mind, I decided to send them an email telling them that they had a broken SSL connection (which may or may not have exposed the personal information of customers who did not realize that their connection was not encrypted to the outside world).

Side note: Don’t enter any information on a website that you wouldn’t feel comfortable having written on the bathroom wall at the Maricopa County jail in a sharpie without ensuring that the site you’re using has a valid and working SSL certificate. If you don’t see a padlock next to the web address or in the bottom status area of your screen, you may as well be writing your credit card number on index cards and throwing them out the window of your car.

I went to the website’s email form (which was also broken, SSL-wise), wrote up a detailed note explaining what the problems were and how to fix them, and sent it off. Then, between lingering mold spores and torrential rain storms I forgot all about it until I awoke this morning to my BlackBerry flashing with my morning mail.

Inside, with the three server cluster switches, my “on this day” WikiPedia article (very cool, by the way if you’re interested) and an offer for a cruise through the Russian heartland on a barge was a note from the cell phone company.

In it was a very poorly worded apology, stating that in effect that: “If” the website wasn’t working at the time I reported (which they would neither confirm or deny) and any other problems that “I” may have experienced (i.e. the SSL issue, which I presume they were referring to but didn’t mention by name) I should just clear my cookies and browser cache and everything would be fine. Nothing to be concerned about.

Excuse me?

This was obviously a canned message written by someone whose best career option is to work in email support at 3am. I understand that. However, wouldn’t you think that when said person got an email that was not the usual “cnt snd txt 2 my bff” and contained specific technical information about a frankly rather critical problem, that they would, oh, I don’t know, forward it to someone who actually knew what they were doing? (insert exasperated sigh here)

Are we to the point where all responses are just going to come in the form of canned answers?

“Thank you for contacting Online Support and for your purchase of a Renault Dingo, we’re sorry that your car isn’t working, but if you turn it off and back on again it will be fine.”

“Thank you for contacting Customer Support. We’re sorry that the Whizz-o-matic food processor cut your finger off. Cleaning the blades well with Aquafina bottled water and Whizz-o-matic brand cleaning solution will ensure that your processor brings years of repeated use.”

“We’re sorry, the number you have dialed, 9-1-2, is not in service. If you meant to call 9-1-1, please hang up; dial 0-212-555-1212, inserting your area code and assigned number for directory information in place of 0-212-555-1212. Ask for emergency services.

Note: If you do not know your assigned number for directory information, please visit our award winning customer service web page and look under Customer Services > Telephone Numbers > Local Services > Telephone Numbers > Emergency Services > Local Services > Telephone Numbers > Your Local Emergency Services Telephone Numbers and call the number buried in the contact information at the bottom to find your assigned number for directory information.

State to the automated operator exactly what type of emergency you are experiencing in descending order of classification. For example: Human; violence; break-in; robbery; man in house; with gun (state type and model of gun), etc.. If you continue to have issues, please clear your phone’s cookies and cache and try again. Thank you for your patronage of T-Mobile 9-1-1.”

Lovely, I can’t wait.

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