Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who's Your Competiton?

I'm talking "personal" competition.

Are you competing with the person down the street or "over there", so you can have what they have?

Or are you competing with you, because you know you can better and are capable of more...

If it's the first, I bet you have headaches...


Friday, August 21, 2009

I Fired the Boss!

I found this button some years ago. Oddly, I think I found it in the drawer of my new desk, when I started my last job. It was a job I was actually pretty happy with. It seemed I'd fallen into the perfect setup -- the perfect job for me, with the perfect boss. I've written about him previously, so I won't rehash that now. Suffice it to say, I decided long ago that he would be the last supervisor I ever worked for. He raised the bar so, that I couldn't see myself ever working for anyone else.

But at the close of business next Friday -- August 28, 2009 -- I declare Kelvin's Independence Day, because despite how great Bob Shprintzen was to work for, I have a personal dream -- in The Alchemist he calls it a personal legend -- that outgrew the job. As much as I loved helping the people that I connected with through Dr. Shprintzen, I believe I have a greater purpose and can be of greater service pursuing my dream; so... here go, I.

So, although the button says "I fired the boss," it's not strictly true. It was a very tough decision, and a huge chunk of my heart stays with him and his VCFS practice, and the friends I have made over the last 12 years, among both staff and patients. And I sincerely hope that part of my thanks and legacy to him enables me to help raise funds he needs to keep that practice running, because he does a great work at the VCFS International Center for the 1-in-1200 children born yearly with that syndrome.

If you check the VCFS Center link, watch the video. If you watch long enough you'll even see my big head pop up in one of the scenes during a team consult.

"Thank you, Dr. Shprintzen" for giving me the admiration and opportunities you have in the past 12 years, treating me like a member of your family, and for being wholly supportive in my decision to leave, even though you know it cripples your program. (That's the kind of man he is.) "Thank you, world," for giving me the opportunity to be a bigger part of the grand plan. I won't let you down.

Have an awesome day, all.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Let's see if this works! (smile)

I was chatting with a friend on Friday and she told me about some strange coincidences she'd encountered.

She and a friend were driving someplace and her friend said, "You know... I've never had a speeding ticket before..." and within the hour she was stopped by a police officer and received a speeding ticket. A little later, they were talking and the friend said, "You know, I was just thinking; I've never been in a car accident before..." and later that night... she hit a dear that ran out in front of her car. Yesterday, I visited a photographer friend and his family. He was bragging that his wife had been using her camera constantly for a year and it was still on the original battery... and within 5 minutes, the red low-battery icon started flashing on the LCD screen.

So, I'm going to see if this works...

You know, I've never had anyone send me a check, made out to me, for $100,000 before...

I'll keep you posted.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Customer Service: Alive and Well at Sears!!!

800#s and voice mail loops. HATE them. Yes, occasionally there's a happy ending.

My garage door opener decided to go whacko last month. It thought there was something in the way so the safety sensors wouldn't let it close. I ended up disconnecting the door from the motor so I could close it. The maintenance contract was long expired, I dreaded every minute of thinking how much it would cost me to get it fixed. I kept hearing the conceptual cha-ching of SEARS' cash register -- I think it's like $129 for them to get in the truck, then there's parts and labor... So for two weeks or so, I'd drive home, get out of the car, manually lift the garage door, prop it open (too heavy to stay up by itself), pull the car in, go put the door down, etc... Tedious and annoying.

So I finally broke down and called Sears and their automated menu system that asked me technical type questions -- does the door stop and the lights flash 10 times...? -- so it could put me in the right menu. THEN, when I got a LONG recording that gave me troubleshooting tips for all those symptoms. "I've done all that!"

I was annoyed until I realized they were actually trying to save me money by checking things I'd be paying the technician to check on site. But alas, I'd done all they suggested was finally grant phone audience with a REAL person. I wish I remember the man's name at the Craftsman Garage Door Opener Center (honest) in Tucson! Let's call him Dave.

Dave asked for my phone number & verified I was in fact a SEARS customer, then asked what the problem was. I told him. I ALSO told him I'd already done that long list of stuff the recording said to do. He laughed, then sent me into my garage with phone in hand to go through that same checklist, and tell him what I was seeing. Things still weren't making sense. Dave ascertained that I was a pretty technical guy (ha!), WAITED on the phone for me to move my car out of the garage, so I could do some other tests (part of which involved wire cutters and screwdrivers and by-passing circuits to verify where the problem was.) He waited patiently for me to fumble through all of that -- no huffs, no muffled comments -- then figured out where the problem was. Then he told ME how to fix it, and wished me a good day.

No "can I have your credit card number?," no "We'll need to send a technician out, Mr. Ringold." Nothing. NO charge, no ads, no up-sell to another maintenance contract; just pleasant, patient technical assistance, and sent me on my merry way, with my $200 (or more) still in my bank account. THANKS, Dave!

It's been a while since I experienced that kind of service -- especially from a large company. I just thought it was worth mentioning. Maybe I'll go ahead and renew that maintenance contract on my grill -- it's cheaper than the cost of replacing the burners ;-) and I might not get Dave to talk me through that one :-) Yeah!

Have an awesome day.