Thursday, May 31, 2012

Information Suuuuper Highway

Ok, I'm a tech support agent for an internet company, my job is all about getting people connected to the internet, right?

So when the company is requiring me to attend training to allow me to better perform that job that they want me to do, and I'm doing my damndest to get the information to do so, one would think they would be happy to provide said information, right?

Apparently, sometimes the information superhighway is more like the information parking lot, cause that info just ain't coming. Granted I have more information about it today than I did yesterday but somehow they keep leaving out one key piece... like the time.

On the other hand, I can complete this training either today or tomorrow. So it's not like there's any pressure or anythi.... Oh look, a new email "EXTREMELY URGENT YOU MUST ATTEND ONE OF THESE".... and no time given.

On the bright side I will have the ability once I clock in to pester a couple of supervisors until they give me actual information.

Meh, it'll make an interesting change from a whole day of "I have my modem plugged into my satellite box and I can't get any internet!" (protip: when you have a "bundle" that includes satellite tv and internet, that doesn't mean you get your DSL internet from a satellite.)

I kid, for the most part I enjoy my job, and my favorite calls are the ones who are well aware that they don't know what they're doing, and thus are grateful when I help them and explain why they're doing each step. Even the older people that require me to come up with more inventive simplified explanations of what, to anyone under 60, is already a simple concept, are generally pleasant to help, simply because they aren't giving me the speech about how they know what they're doing and don't want to be treated like an idiot, followed by the resolution to their problem being something that clearly illustrates that they are, indeed, sort of dumb.

All in all it's not half bad, and I still say my favorite part of the job is my furry little office mates, even if one of them is kind of an attention whore....

ETA one of my supervisors responded to the email I sent him with his personal cell number and answered all of the questions I had about it, and told me flat out if I ever had a problem and couldn't get a hold of anyone else to call him on his cell whether he was working or not. Sometimes it may take a bit but in this company it does appear that there are supervisors that are actually interested in helping us peons succeed.

Friday, May 25, 2012


The commercial space shuttle has docked at the ISS.

In twenty years, will we look back on this as the beginning of a new era? Or will it be a footnote in history?

Regardless, today is one for the history books, and congratulations to the entire team that made Dragon possible!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Round Tuit

Almost a year ago, dear friend R got a tattoo on her foot in memory of our little brother, Jeff. I found it a fine idea and after a brief conversation with R, (consisting of me pointing and asking "would you mind if I?" "Dude, go for it.") I resolved to match it.... at some point.

R found another tatt she wanted and she also wanted to run away for a day so she contacted me earlier in the week and asked if I would come with her, and offered to spring for the memorial tatt for me, if I wanted to go ahead and do it. I did, and so today, we finally got a Round Tuit.

We spent a lot of the day talking about memories, of Jeff and others that we've lost, and arrived at the tattoo shop she'd used for her memorial tatt in that sad-but-good mood. On arrival we discovered that the artist who had done her foot had left, but the artist that came up free next didn't bat an eye at being asked to copy a tattoo from someone else's foot. She simply grabbed some tracing paper, knelt down, and traced off a rough outline, studied the details for a moment, and vanished, to re appear with a drawing that if it wasn't identical was so close as to render any differences moot.

Then I got tattooed... in a place that I won't spend a lot of time explaining what the image means, because the people likely to see it in the flesh in an everyday situation will know what it's all about.

About the time I started feeling the needle and doing deep breathing exercises to prevent tensing up and making things difficult, R started choking on suppressed laughter. After a few moments I asked her what in the world the problem was, and this followed:

"I keep hearing Jeff like he's over my shoulder."

"What's he saying?"


At which point the artist had to pause because I started laughing, simply because I could hear it too.

Love you little bro, you are always with me.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


It's mother's day again, so make sure you hug your mom or at least tell her you love her.

I freely admit that I have the most awesome Mom ever, and totally lucked out in that regard.

She may not have made every concert I performed in, every game I cheered at (shut up I was in junior high) or every award ceremony where they gave me yet another certificate for being good at whatever it was that week... but there was always food on the table. She kissed every bruised knee, held my hand when I was scared, kept it together to get me to the ER when I broke my arm.

She gave me a good portion of my sense of humor, all of my ability to keep going through the worst, and a shining example to live up to.

She has held my hand through everything from a broken arm, to a broken heart, when I lost a pet, and when we've lost someone dear to us.

She's taught me so much, I don't even know where to start. From how to tie my shoes to how to tie a horse to how to tie down a load. Cooking and ethics and history, heritage and honor. Vet care and breeding plans and training tricks and an honest love for any animal under my care.

She has served as an example to me, both in the best of what I want to be and where I could stand to make some improvements.

She's helped me out in so many ways, so many times, more than she could possibly have been expected to, truly above and beyond the call of duty in every way.

She's my best friend, my confidante, my harbor in stormy seas. She's my wonderful, crazy, awesome, funny, amazing Mom, and I would be utterly lost in this world without her.

I love you, Farmmom.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tech Support

For those who don't know, I have managed to dive into yet another job, this time, tech support working from home.

So far it's been pretty all right, everything considered. I've been "on the phones" for a week now, and have to say that I've gotten pretty lucky with customers. My co workers are another matter.

There were several people in my training class that had worked from home in customer service before. For the most part, they're the worst about asking stupid questions. I manage to maintain a cheery facade all the way through the day, jolly customers out of cranky moods (well, yeah, they're calling because something is broken on a service they're paying for, of course they're cranky!) and end my calls on an up note. I'm not in the target range for call time, yet, but we're told to take our time until we get in the swing of it, so I'm not sweating that too much.

I've been assessed on one call, and missed a couple of things in the call flow, mostly because the call that they picked was so very simple that I simply handled the issue... the customer simply wanted to know where to find a piece of information that was available on her equipment. The answer was "pick it up, look at the sticker on the bottom, it will be labeled. Go ahead and look, I'll make sure you find it before we end this call so that you don't have to call back in."

Of course they didn't listen to the marathon troubleshooting sessions that ended with the problem NOT being resolved (it was something further up the line or something that I was unable to troubleshoot,) but the customer STILL thanking me profusely for my help. Or the customer that was on hold for twenty minutes in two minute bites and still made a joke about asking for my phone number at the end of the call. Ah well.

But really, the absolute best part of this job? My office mates. More often than not, Fuzzy Pup hops up on the footstool I have arranged by my desk for getting a little more comfortable in the chair I'm glued to all day, and snuggles up against my legs. Across the room I've got the fishtank, with my pretty fish swimming about being fish like. And Farmdog, well, she's not all that impressed with this whole me being home but not playing with her thing, but she just stares at me hopefully for a moment every once in a while when I'm between calls, and then sighs and goes outside, or to lay down somewhere and nap.

I'm still learning and still working, but I'm getting there, and doing the best job I can, and if I miss a few things on the call flow, well, the customer thanking me for giving them exactly the information they needed is validation enough for me. Eventually they'll pick one of those calls where the customer is absolutely irate when I answer, and by the end of it thanks me for my help, whether I've been able to solve their problem or not, and I'll get the recognition from the company that I already know I have from the customers I talk to. In the mean time, I'll keep helping little old ladies remember to plug their modem in after the storm, and reassuring them that there's no charge for calling in.