Sunday, June 22, 2008

Catching up

A little catch-up post here ...

Why? I haven't been posting much lately. I had gotten in the habit of posting in spare moments at work, but due to changes in the internet usage policy that isn't really an option anymore. Seems somebody was abusing the access and avoiding actual work. Or something. I'm not real clear on the reasoning. But whatever. I fill those spare moments reading cooking magazines or whatever, which is for some reason preferable.

But generally work is going as well as usual. I just won a $25 gift card as a reward for something. Not really sure what it was rewarding me for. Guess I'm doing an OK job :)

Watched the Netherlands vs. Russia quarterfinal from Euro 2008 today. I don't have cable, so getting a chance to see even a little international soccer on TV is a treat. We don't get much coverage on broadcast. Pretty fun game, too. If anyone is keeping track, Russia won in extra time.

Speaking of soccer, in an unofficial match timed to coincide with Euro 2008 Austria beat Germany 10-5. No, not the men's sides. Not the women either (although the teams were all-female). The game was contested by two 6-woman teams wearing only thongs. The Austrian side expressed hope that the men's national team would take the victory as a morale booster. Apparently not - in the actual tournament Germany beat Austria the next day.

Speaking of, well, the last two topics, I've stumbled across one of the more bizarre adult sites I've ever seen. I'm not talking gross or painful looking 'extreme' stuff - this was a fairly tame softcore site. With a theme. Reasonably attractive women in various stages of undress - the clothing being soccer jerseys. Or nude holding a soccer ball. Or standing in goal. Reminded me of the days when searching on just about any term in a search engine - even something decidedly unsuggestive like 'quadratic equation' - would turn up at least one adult site in the top 10 results. Ah, those were the days. Kids today have been spoiled by accurate and efficient search engines that return mostly relevant results.

And stumble across the site I did. I was searching for an online source for a jersey from German 4th (or is it 3rd?) division club SSV Ulm. I attended one of their matches in '86 when I was visiting Germany. That trip was my first introduction to soccer as a spectaor sport (I played the game - poorly - earlier in grade school). Sentimental interest in the club has lead me to search for a jersey many times over the past 20 odd years. I have as yet to find a source that will ship outside continental Europe. I look on and off regardless. I can be tenacious like that.

And thus ends this little rambling post. I often natter on about the more depressing bits of my existance. Figured we could use some light happy posts. Especially since the next is pretty.

I have this feeling that word has different resonace for me than for many other folks ...

Sunday, June 8, 2008


So, what do I do job wise? After all, I spend a considerable portion of my life either at or getting to work. But I rarely talk about it.

There are several reasons for that. The first being that you've probably had contact with my employer. If you live in the US (although the company is internationally active) that is. I hope that contact was positive, but I'm not naive. It may not have been. There is a tendency on the net to take anyone with a connection to a corporation and declare them a representative of said corporation. I'm not such a representative and do not want to be. I probably have different opinions from my 309,000 odd coworkers and they different from mine.

The second reason is the greater amount of freedom I have to discuss work if I leave exactly who I am working for nebulous. For the most part I haven't needed to vent, but it is nice to leave the option open. Never know when I'll wanna kvetch.

That being said, I still haven't answered the question of what I do. This is partly because my actual job duties are kind of a shifting target. My team often is given responsibilities only somewhat connected to what we theoretically do. Most of us are happy with that, being the types that frankly get bored with routine. We are given a fair amount of freedom to get things done, often without much of a guideline as to how. Of course we are expected to be mindful of company policy but we are also given a fair amount of trust that we will be able to reconcile the policy with the end goal.

The department I am with is called SPS - sustainment (not a real word) and production support. A coworker characterized what we do as "internal tech support", which is as accurate a description as any. Basically, when other employees (either reps within our call center or sales reps in our division of the company) have difficulty with the systems used to fill orders we either complete the order or assist them in doing so, whichever is appropriate.

Very often this involves reminding the rep of what they already know. One thing many of the folks we come in contact don't realize is that we really have very little access to resoueces beyond what they themselves do. The only real difference is in expertise and the ability to leverage that.

In real life terms I spend a considerable amount of time either on the phone or waiting for a call. I field around a dozen calls a day (but have had as many as 40!) from sales reps as well as take a few calls and resolve a few trouble cases from within my call center. Formerly this included work from a call center in Louisiana as well, but they focus exclusivly on smaller businesses now, whereas we deal with larger companies.

"Companies" being a key word. The division I work in deals with businesses and their enployees. The structure recently changed, and I don't quite have a handle on it. How it breaks down is roughly this: you have a large (if you weren't paying attention 309,000 employees) corporation. Within that corporation is a division that deals with business. Within that division is a group dealing with wireless communications. Within that group is a division serving large business. That division has a group dedicated to ordering and customer care, which has the SPS department, which has ... me.

Phew. See why I don't talk about work much? Too difficult :)