Contact Etiquette for Large Organizations

I work at a fairly large organization, the kind that gets lots and lots of phone calls every day. I also used to work at a doctor's office where I also dealt with lots and lots of phone calls.

I have learned that most people do not understand the optimal route for actually getting returned contact.

Here's a few tips. Use them, or don't. But it would probably be beneficial to use them. And if it seems like most of them are common sense, it's because they are. Doesn't mean the world (and possibly you) doesn't need a reminder.

  1. Prepare. 
    • If you have a student ID, account number, error message code, etc- HAVE IT WRITTEN DOWN BEFORE YOU DIAL ANYTHING. You WILL be asked for this information. It is likely how they will identify your account and see what is really going on.  
    • Make sure you understand exactly what the problem is. Don't just see there is a problem and freak out and call the first number you can find/Google. This sets you up for disappointment and frustration.
  2.  Call the correct department.
    • Those main numbers with lots of options? They can feel like a waste. So does taking the time to actually read the email or statement to find what department you need. But you know what happens when you don't spend that little bit of time? You talk to a lot of people who don't know how to help you. You get mad, they get mad, and you are still going to get transferred. If you don't get transferred, you will be put on hold numerous times while they try to find someone who does know how to help you. At this point you are taking up valuable time from two different people. Meanwhile, the people who actually need the incorrect person you contacted are getting a busy signal or having to leave a voicemail. You're clogging the system, basically.
  3. Leave a voicemail. 
    • This may be one of the single most important things I can tell you. SO MANY PEOPLE call and complain "I've been calling all morning and no one has called me back." And then we look at the call log and yes, they have called 6 times in two hours. But they never left a message. No one is going to call you back without a detailed message saying who you are and WHY you are calling. 
  4. Shot-gunning clogs up the system.
    •  You call one office, don't get an answer, so you call another office. And another, and another. While you are doing this, 5 other people are doing it also. You know what that means? NO ONE IS AVAILABLE TO TALK TO YOU because they are talking to other people, who they probably aren't equipped to assist anyway (see previous point #2). 
    • Email seems harmless, but again it does the same thing. PersonWhoCanNotAssistYou must go find PersonWhoActuallyCanAssistYou, which wastes their time. SecondPersonWhoCanNotAssistYou also eventually goes to talk to PersonWhoActuallyCanAssistYou, so PersonWhoActuallyCanAssistYou can't assist the additional people who need them. Or, more likely, they have to go find PersonWhoCanActuallyAssistSomeoneElse to take care of the messages incorrectly left for them because other people did not follow points #1 & #2.
    • Call, and/or email, ONE person.
  5. YOU call for YOUR business.
    • Getting a parent or spouse or whoever to call for you almost certainly guarantees that you will either need multiple calls, either because they don't know all the needed information OR they don't have permission to actually do whatever you want done.

Fake It Till You...Actually Are a Good Person?

 Photo by Asa Rodger on Unsplash

A few weeks ago a friend from high school reached out to my husband. He and his fiance were moving to town and wanted help moving. I was supposed to go work out that night, so said "Cool, just please be done in time to pick up Babycakes from daycare since I can't." So, around 5ish. "No problem."

Well, he messages me around the time to meet them that they are just now finished packing and heading this way- so the schedule will be about 3 hours off from what they originally stated.

Y'all, I got super pissed. 

Hubs reminded me that we have moved a LOT and it never goes smoothly. Which I complete agree with.

BUT- I like to think I am the kind of person who wouldn't expect someone I barely talked to for 10 years to block out 2/3 of their day and provide physical labor without a deep gratitude and open communication.

To be clear, they didn't even message him that they would be late. He saw them post on Facebook.

This meant that he could pick up Babycakes but either take her to their house and hope the fiance could "baby-sit" while he helped move the heavy stuff or I could take Babycakes with me to workout. Now, I've done that before- but it's not great. If there is running, I basically can't, because toddlers have short legs and get distracted by everything.

Also it meant I would have to feed her and bath her and miss out on the few hours a weekday I get to see my husband, which was an added energy expense I had not planned on.

Hubs was all zen and it didn't bother him- but why would it? He didn't have to adjust the one fucking hour per week he gets to himself. 

So, I was pissed. But I agreed because I do remember what it's like and it was the nice thing to do.

That didn't stop me from having to complain a LOT about it first to work it out of my system, to which Hubs pointed out that I agreed to it so why was I acting like he was purposefully being a dick?

 And I had to ask, do you really have to have only good feelings about something for it to be a generous act? 

Is "fake it till you make it" applicable in being a good person?

Truthfully, I have been around people who did me "favors" but bitched about it and I really wished they just hadn't done the thing. But I wasn't bitching to these people- I was bitching to my husband, which IMO should be a safe space. I knew is was a good thing, but it didn't feel good right then. I had some incredibly selfish feelings that were partially related to the situation and partially related to a bunch of other internal shit.

 Is this hypocritical? How else do you do it? 

Are there people out there who have literally zero issues putting others before themselves? 

Because y'all, compared to most people I know, I complain way less. Like, I make it a point to avoid it or to avoid complaining about certain kinds of situations. But I also make it a point to go out of my way to express gratitude and respect people's time and that's what really pissed me off here. It was just expected that our day/night/who knows how long was infinitely available.

I was over it by the time I finished my workout. Babycakes did fine during the workout. My group is super supportive and encouraging and always welcoming to kids. I was back to my happy place, and I was glad to have a husband who is willing to help others.

But I would not have gotten there if I hadn't worked out that initial "Who the fuck do they think they are?" attitude. 

So, what do you think? Is it the action or the attitude that matters? Or half & half? Can you be a good person and do nice things but still have to work out some shit, or am I just a terrible person?

Current Thoughts: June 2018

  • How often are you supposed to apply lipstick? I really don't understand. It gets all over my coffee and water cups. I don't like wearing it out with my family because if I kiss Hubs or Babycakes it gets all over them. It feels silly to reapply mid-morning when no one is looking at me because I'm just sitting at my desk looking at a computer. I like wearing it, but not sure the proper amount.
  • Got a new diaper bag. Ain't even sorry- I used to love big purses, now I love diaper bags, obviously I'm a bag lady. I have very few vices, so I'm at peace with it. JuJuBe had a huge sale and I got a Be Right Back bookbag style bag for 60% off. It's GORGEOUS, I've already gotten so many compliments, and I love it. My BFF was great but it definitely felt stuffed to the max (tbf, I hate having to take things in/out of bags so I probably carry more than strictly necessary). I wanted just a touch more space so I could carry my BuJo or jackets in the winter or, if/when we get a foster child, an extra set of clothes/etc for multiple kids. It packs differently but I think I'm a fan- although  I've only had it about a week ;) 
  •  It appears my anxiety is reappearing. Not fully in the bad place yet, but the shadows are getting longer and closer. Hoping the fact that I am recognizing the warning signs is something positive?
  • Vitamins work! Gave blood & my iron was great, while it's usually just on the border.

What's up with you lately?

Show Us Your Books Link-Up: June 2018

Time to talk books! Let's get right too it.

Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley
This was a cute book I found in a Little Free Library. It discusses a Quaker (I think) pastor in a small little town and some of the daily life that the townspeople deal with. It was wonderful quaint read that I didn't expect to love as much as I did.

Safe Harbor by Luanne Rice
This book was fine, for what it is. Although I spent the entire time thinking I had read it already, but I actually think I just read a really similar book which is not great. But overall it was fine. Slightly cheesy but a good beach read.

Because We Are Bad: OCD and a Girl Lost in Thought by Lily Bailey
I highly enjoyed this book. It is told by a young woman and chronicles her journey with OCD. It was fascinating to see firsthand the way someone reacts to a disorder and diagnosis and treatment. I especially appreciated the way she talks about her OCD not being the way it is stereotypically presented and how that was confusing to her and later to others.

Daisy in Chains by Sharon J. Bolton
This was probably my favorite of the month, tied with Because We Are Bad.  I kind of guessed the ending but only like 50% of it, and not until fairly close to the end.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
This book felt like I was reading a Lifetime movie. It was told from two different perspectives, and truly I found the second half of the book much more interesting. I had an idea of what the second half would be, but not the last few chapters. Some parts were really good and others were super simplistic. It was meh at best.

What have you been reading this month?
Link-up & share! 

Life According to Steph

Dealing with My Anxiety

So...I've started feeling anxious again.

I don't really know why.

Maybe it's hubby's new job, which is great but has thrown off our routine- and routines are basically my lifeblood now. It's how I cope, and I am not doing well with revamping them.

Maybe it is my lack of sleep...or maybe my lack of sleep is because of the anxiety. It's a "chicken or egg" conundrum.

Maybe it's my birthday coming up? A stereotypical freak-out about being one year closer to 30?

Maybe it's the fact that I've worked out a little more than normal, but not taking the time to stretch/etc properly? (although working out is kind of addicting right now also and feels like it might be the only thing keeping me from slipping all the way into the shadows)

I tried looking up anti-anxiety techniques, but most of the ones I can find are for panic attacks specifically which is not really what I experience. It's more of a creeping feeling, but last time it lead to an anxiety attack after a few months so I really want to find a way to deal with it before I get to that point.

Anyway...that's where I am lately.

To Colorado, a Past Love

Dear Colorado,

I still think about you sometimes. You weren't my forever, but you were so much more than just a good time.

You were the place I grew up. You were the place I was young, (not really but kinda) wild, and truly free.

You were the place I felt no expectations.

You were the place I could explore.

I explored your mountains, your deserts, your dunes, and your cities. I explored my own life and personality and character and desires.

You were the place I grew strong. You were the place I experienced some of the hardest days, and some of the greatest achievements.

You will always be my freedom, my building block, my touchstone, and one of my true joys.


Add It To My List: May 2018

  • Jada Pinkett Smith's emotional interview with Will Smith's ex-wife Sheree Fletcher
    •  Saw this on Mother's Day weekend and it was wonderful to see two women acknowledge past wrongs, and have an honest and emotional talk about hard things.
  • Lil' Scrubbie Facial Cleaning Pads
    •  I have an ongoing war with cleaning my face- I know, random. But I don't want to keep using cleaning wipes, but I hate using wash clothes because they consistently stay wet which freaks me out...anyway, it's a whole big thing in my life. Which is why I LOVE these lil scrubbies. TBF, the suction cups does NOT work at all for me, but I give it a pass. I've used it with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, and Neutrogena with them all.
  • Tomi Adeyemi Wanted ‘Children Of Blood And Bone’ To Be ‘So Good... So Black’
    • HuffPo interview with Tomi Adeyemi; found this via We Need Diverse Books and this author seems awesome and I'm totally checking those out from my library ASAP
  • Silicone Makeup Sponge
    •  I'm still getting used to this, but I think I really like it. Feels like my makeup stays on longer. The issue is that since I'm used to using sponges which soak up the makeup before putting it on your face, I sometimes use too much with this and it looks cakey once I put it on. But that is a total user error and one that I think I'm correcting. Another plus- it's super easy to rinse off and wipe off and it stays dry- see above.
  • Vikings (TV series)
    •  Story based on the legend of Viking hero Ragnar Lothbrok- from what I can tell, kind of a Robin Hood/Odysseus type Norse story. Interesting- gory, and no clue how much is historically accurate, but interesting.
What are you loving this month?