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The Last Straw (MASSIVE RANT ATTACK)

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,921
Points
71
God I LOVE government work. It is so cool. Man, is it fun. There is such an evolved sense of "equality and fairness" everywhere you turn. As an example of this "equality" I cite a recent action by the city's top brass. Zoning Administrators, Deputy Directors, Planners and other professionals are now required to wear telephone headsets while manning the telephones at the front desk. Why, you ask? Because department secretaries have to wear them and heavens knows there is NO difference between clerical workers and office professional workers - after all they both talk on the phone and type letters all day, right????? Hell, I have 8 yrs of college to put on my resume and 6 as a planner....now I can easily get a job at ANY drive-thru window in the land. It doesn't matter which one...Wendy's, Burger King, KFC...you name it I HAVE THE SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE!!!!! At job interviews I can impress prospective employers with with my wireless acumen.."so, it looks like your franchise is using a model XC-110 cordless at the order window. Those are real beuts..."
I guess I should wrap up this rant. I have to practice my front counter/telephone etiquette......"OK, so you'd like one site plan review, a variance application form and two FOIA requests. Would you care for some fries with that...."
 

Floridays

Cyburbian
Messages
769
Points
21
Oh, I can definitely relate! The front counter is staffed by planners at all times. We also have a really groovy "touch screen" cash register to ring up permits and impact fees, just like the ones they use at fast food restaurants. I refer to it as the "MacPermit" machine. Maybe one day we can put a drive thru permitting window in the building. I'm glad that I earned my master's degree so I could participate in these transactions. Perhaps all accredited schools should incorporate a "Mac Permit 101" in the classroom...
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
|-)

Needless to say, Maister and I are not the happiest people in the world right now. I second everything he said. It is not that I am bothered with wearing the head set, but a particular staff secretary does not do her job as it is, I can just imagine it now... I am utilizing a urinal, and the phone starts to ring, and ring... "City of... This is Mike. Oh you would like to speak to .... can you hold on for a moment.... FLUSH... (I run back to the desk, because we can not transfer calls from the head set)

|-)
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
14,148
Points
58
I agree it's hard being a counter planner.

Here's you in the 24th century:


Virtual reality zoning code enforcement!
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Now you've done it.

I want a telephone headset now.

We have no clerical staff, so all three planners in the office answer the phone.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
28,921
Points
71
SGB said:
Now you've done it.

I want a telephone headset now.

We have no clerical staff, so all three planners in the office answer the phone.
I'll sell you mine cheap!!!! :-#
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
michaelskis said:
|-)
...I can just imagine it now... I am utilizing a urinal ...

Hold on a minute. You're secretary doesn't use a urinal so now you won't be allowed to either. Sorry, man, the boss says sitting only. :-\ Really, your situation sounds like a really dumb attempt at fairness.
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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28,921
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71
Seabishop said:
Really, your situation sounds like a really dumb attempt at fairness.

That's it. Michaelskis and I are getting bent over a barrel and not even given any vaseline!!!! It's "fair" in the same sense that one could reason 'coal miners need headlamps - why don't we treat everyone the same and make sure that people working as: rodeo clowns, concert pianists, and assembly line workers have 'em too.'
It really staggers my imagination...... :-0
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
Messages
2,549
Points
25
Sounds like someone needs a "Life Aint Fair" lecture. Some of the bulls**t that goes on in the quest for "fairness" is ridiculous. Sounds like this headset thing is one of them. Maybe you can rig it up so you can listen to some tunes instead of talking on the phone. ;)

People need to realize that we are not all "equals" at the workplace. Planners and secretaries are different people with different skills, different education, and different pay. Whats next? Will you have to clean out the toilets because it isn't fair that the janitors have to do it every day? Will the janitor then get to review the plans for the next development project? Maybe everyone should make the same amount of money too.
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
Messages
5,995
Points
31
If it was me I'd pretend I was an air traffic contoller until they took my head set away. To get a little variety in your routine you could also pretend to be a tank commander, Maverick in Top Gun (Call everyone by their call sign - Boss=Iceman...), or you could pretend to be Garth Brooks or Janet Jackson... Wear that puppy everywhere. Go to the john and council meetings with it. Just enjoy it too much. That should solve the problem. Should the City Manager also wear one?
 

ludes98

Cyburbian
Messages
1,264
Points
22
First let me say that I don't answer the phone at my current job, but I have in the past. Why is secretatial work given so much slack? Our current secretary continuously makes errors that are embarassing to the company or cost money. She has been striped of duties because she does so poorly. We apparently are incapable of firing her like we should. Ridiculous!
 

Seabishop

Cyburbian
Messages
3,838
Points
25
Repo Man said:
People need to realize that we are not all "equals" at the workplace. Planners and secretaries are different people with different skills, different education, and different pay. Whats next? Will you have to clean out the toilets because it isn't fair that the janitors have to do it every day? Will the janitor then get to review the plans for the next development project? Maybe everyone should make the same amount of money too.

We now have to use vacation or personal days if there's a bad snow storm. Why? Becuase the Highway guys who plow the snow complained that they don't get the day off during a storm. Even though its their job to plow snow! I don't make everyone sit through Planning Board meetings with me.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
After limited thinking about it… tomorrow morning when I am have to put on the head set because I have morning shift at the front desk, I am going to pretend that I am a NASCAR track spotter for Dale Jr. I will inform people to watch out on the high side for heavy traffic as they are walking around the corner into the office, or if some one drops something, warn people about the wreck up ahead.
 

BiteMeElmo

Cyburbian
Messages
324
Points
11
Attempts at equality in the workplace are nice to see, but sometimes the practices lose something in the translation.

(Most) secretaries spend most of their work day answering the phone, typing up documents, or some other communication-related duty. It drives me nuts when these supposed "professionals" get away with doing their jobs poorly. If you can't type, spell, or speak clearly and professionally on the phone, you are doing your employer a true disservice, and they should recognize that.

I do tend to get bent out of shape about details, but I think this should be a universal thing.
 

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
30
Seabishop said:
I don't make everyone sit through Planning Board meetings with me.

I use this a lot. One of our secretaries complains a lot about having to cover the phones when some other people (including me) leave early on a Friday afternoon. I'll say quite bluntly, "look, I was here until 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night covering for the whole department at a public hearing, I'll gladly take covering the phones on Fridays between 4:30 and 5:00." Gee, I wonder why I'm not miss popularity. ;) But after years of hearing these things in four different municipalities, you just get sick of the comparisons.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
nerudite said:
I use this a lot. One of our secretaries complains a lot about having to cover the phones when some other people (including me) leave early on a Friday afternoon. I'll say quite bluntly, "look, I was here until 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday night covering for the whole department at a public hearing, I'll gladly take covering the phones on Fridays between 4:30 and 5:00." Gee, I wonder why I'm not miss popularity. ;) But after years of hearing these things in four different municipalities, you just get sick of the comparisons.

All Im going to say is you rock!!! I wish some one would do that here...
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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28,921
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71
mendelman said:
I agree it's hard being a counter planner.

Here's you in the 24th century:


Virtual reality zoning code enforcement!
No, that's me TOMORROW!!!
I have a plan, though. Every time someone comes up to the front counter and starts to talk to me I will say "All your base are belong to us". When they say "what?" I will act like I am talking to someone else on the headset.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Oh, can I relate! We are not equals. If the secretaries do not like wearing a headset, rather than complain that management and technical staff should have to wear one, why don't they get a college degree and the experience and talents it takes to be a planner or manager? Professional staff should not be forced to act like clerical staff. If they expect to treat you that way, then they should not expect you to act like professionals.

My idiot assistant can't spell, can't add, can't take a decent phone message... let's just say she is complete dead weight. I have gradually stripped her of her duties so that I count on her for at most 3-4 things, which she still gets wrong. Unfortunately, unions make dumping her a difficult and protracted proposition. Where does she think she can get off leaving 3-4 times a week to run her personal errands during business hours? Because I am out of the office does not mean I am off doing my own thing. My job involves meetings in the city and around the state, from seven in the morning to midnight, at times. Her place is here covering the desk. Her kids can walk home from school or ride their bikes to a friend's house.

It really ticks me off that people like this see management and professional staff "getting something" and thinking they should have the same entitlement. Our leaving early occassionally comes at the price of staying late often. Our snow days mean the snow plowers are making overtime, but our late meetings are part of the job without any additional compensation. We don't answer the phones but we have to have the knowledge to answer the caller's questions or take the heat when they are upset about something. We get paid more but also need far greater skills and have the responsibility for decisions that may involve millions of dollars and hundreds of people.

Oh, yeah, our hourly wage staff is a pain.

(Thanks for the use of your rant space.)
 

Bear Up North

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
9,329
Points
31
As one (1) of nine (9) owners of a 150-employee distribution warehouse, I'm reading your RANTS with some amusement. Thinking, during the read, that I'm glad our company isn't that way with our employees.

Trying to provide a "fair" environment in the workplace can be a challenge. Many employees who ask for that fairness may be seeing a few too many perks for those "in the power suites", etc. In this day and age of cost-cutting, return-on-investment guarantees, etc. many employees (some good workers, some bad workers) feel threatened so they seek fairness, sometimes just as a "test" to see if an employer is listening.

Sometimes we don't listen, and that's our fault. Sometimes those employees don't listen (or don't care, or don't try, etc.) and that's their fault AND our fault for not correcting their behavior. (Fortunately, many of our pro-employee policies have kept us as a non-union employer, in a used-to-be strong union town.)

My rambling point? Most issues have multiple sides and stories. Hate to admit it, but bottom-lines are still a fact in private business.....and bottom-lines enforced as budget limits in public offices are probably just as important.

When it all flushes away, it still seems pretty dumb to have well-educated planning associates walking around with headphones.

Bear's Other (Dark) Side
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
31
A "support" staff member did me in in my last position. Elected officials would listen to her rants without seeking to verify...enough said.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,477
Points
40
Amen, Cardinal.

Our secretaries recommended that everyone address their own envelopes because it took too much time for them to do it. Most of the technical staff was dumbfounded by the request, so I reminded them all that we already type our own letters and it shouldn't be too much to expect the clerical staff to type envelopes. Enough said.

And then, in April, we all took them to lunch....
 

Zoning Goddess

Cyburbian
Messages
13,852
Points
39
I have a great secretary. She does everything when needed, volunteers for extra duties, is studying to be a CPM, etc. (Even though our employer eliminated flex-time last year, making it difficult for her to get that competitive degree). Of course, this after 7 years of "support" staff who didn't have a clue.

Here's one: in my last year or so in Planning, we all had to give up lunches at least once a week to man the counters, so the secretaries could go chow down. And I get really grumpy when I don't get lunch.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
When I worked in Reading, our secritary was amazing. She should have gotten paid more than the CD director...

This job... well... ah...
never mind...
 

Budgie

Cyburbian
Messages
5,270
Points
30
Maister said:
I guess I should wrap up this rant.
I can appreciate the frustration with what appears to be irrational higher ups. But, remember you are a pawn in the budget justification game. Perhaps, you are being frustrated to prove someone elses point, which is probably your point. I love nothing more than playing by the rules to prove that the rules suck !!! I either play be the book or change the book. Playing strictly by the book will give your supervisors justification to change the book.
 

JNA

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
26,010
Points
64
we answer our phones the old fashion way - no head set.
I appreciate having 2 great secretaries.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
AHHHH… I am stuck up here at the front counter (which is no big deal, and can be fun at times) but I have to wear this stupid thing…



to make it worse… our secretary called in “sick”… so I get to answer all the phone calls this morning. YEA So much for getting anything done…

Even the Deputy Director has to wear it when she is up here, and the rest of the departments are shocked that anyone other than our secretary has to wear it.

Would you like to biggie size that?
 

Maister

Chairman of the bored
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Budgie said:
I can appreciate the frustration with what appears to be irrational higher ups. But, remember you are a pawn in the budget justification game. Perhaps, you are being frustrated to prove someone elses point, which is probably your point. I love nothing more than playing by the rules to prove that the rules suck !!! I either play be the book or change the book. Playing strictly by the book will give your supervisors justification to change the book.
A valid point.....who can accuse you of wrongdoing for following the letter of the law, right? That's usually the point where the higherups say "use some common sense" and apparently mean it with absolutely NO irony intended.

and I wonder why the bar tab is the single largest household expense......
 

plannerkat

Cyburbian
Messages
204
Points
9
Maister said:
and I wonder why the bar tab is the single largest household expense......

Yup, it seems that we planners are the biggest lushes of all professions! Given the day I've had and the fact that it won't end until at least 8, I'm looking forward imbibing myself this evening.
 

Rumpy Tunanator

Cyburbian
Messages
4,473
Points
25
plannerkat said:
Yup, it seems that we planners are the biggest lushes of all professions! Given the day I've had and the fact that it won't end until at least 8, I'm looking forward imbibing myself this evening.

You go Plannerkat, chase that dragon;) :b:

Hey Maister & Michaelskis, I worked drive-thru at McDonalds back in high school, can I join your team?;)
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
Messages
10,623
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34
Maister said:
No, that's me TOMORROW!!!
I have a plan, though. Every time someone comes up to the front counter and starts to talk to me I will say "All your base are belong to us". When they say "what?" I will act like I am talking to someone else on the headset.


YOU ROCK! :)
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
Chet said:
YOU ROCK! :)


Here is the scary part... HE DID THAT... more than a few times, and he was bad mouthing other employees (fake talking to someone).

It was funny... then he did it do the CD director... I think that he got a chuckle out of it.
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,232
Points
52
Rumpy Tunanator said:
Hey Maister & Michaelskis, I worked drive-thru at McDonalds back in high school, can I join your team?;)

Maybe you can come over and show us how it is done... And if we are doing anything wrong. (other than everything)
 
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