Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Gee, that was fast!

[[Thanks Donna.
We actually have a candidate that we have already interviewed in the past and have brought back for a second interview that we are already considering for placement.]]

My guess is that this is one of the people they spoke to the LAST time they had an opening, a few months ago. That time, they hired an external candidate with prior claims experience. If I were a gambler, I'd bet money that this candidate has prior claims experience as well.

Oh, and that person that H from my department has been filling in for? The one that transferred into H's old job, after H transferred into THIS department? That person is coming back from her medical leave tomorrow. So H will be down here again, and they'll be vectoring at least some of my work to her again.

I'm so tired of feeling like someone higher up considers my position expendable, and they're gonna try rerouting my work to every freakin' person who works here, until they find some combination of people that can add my workload to theirs and get it all done on time. :o( I wish the higher-up(s) would listen to the people who actually WORK in this department, the ones who directly benefit from having someone doing my job and accelerating the workflow. THEY can describe the difference between having someone do this job and not having someone at all... they lived through it for
several months before finally getting a temp to help out.

Sometimes I feel like all I ever do is vent.
They posted another opening for a Claims Assistant today. That's Karla's department.

I didn't get picked the last time, but maybe I'll have better luck this time around. If not, well, I'm no worse off than before. (Besides the bout of depression that's likely to follow if it doesn't pan out. Big whoop -- what else is new?)

Karla warned me after the LAST go-round that her boss reeeeeeally wants people with experience. So even though I have ALL the qualifications mentioned in the job posting, I still might not be considered, thanks to not having CLAIMS experience (which is NOT mentioned on the job posting, not even in passing). But hey, who knows? I definitely won't be considered if I don't even try.

I was tempted not to even MENTION that I tried for this claims position, in case nothing comes of it. I hate seeing other people get disappointed even worse than I hate getting disappointed myself. But I decided that I'd rather let you know what's up so people can at least send up a few prayers that this works out. ;o)

Wish me luck.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The latest upgrade to our workflow here is the Departmental Mailbox. Brokers can now email their submissions directly to the Departmental Mailbox, instead of to our underwriters. When our underwriters receive a submission in their email, they either print them out and hand them to me, or else forward them to my email so I can print them out and process them. Using the Departmental Mailbox eliminates that step, as I can go in and print the submissions in there, and process them without waiting for the underwriters to receive them and forward them along.

A day or two after this system was implemented, there were a few submissions that acted strangely when I worked on them. Between the time I printed them and the time I clicked the "marked as printed" button, someone else had accessed them and made changes to them, and I got an error message saying so. I chalked it up to some bugs in this recently-created system, clicked OK to save them anyway, and kept on working.

On Wednesday, my supervisor mentioned that H (the one who transferred into this department) has been working at her old job upstairs, but processing a few submissions a day just to keep in practice. But H reported the same errors I did, and surprise -- it was on the same submissions that gave ME errors. Well, THAT mystery is solved. The reason that I got errors that someone had changed the file was that *H* was going in there and printing them, too. Both of us trying to mark the same item as printed was what caused the error.

So I thought of a nice little way to avoid this in the future. Now I check the Departmental Inbox *very* frequently throughout the day. I figure that if I get to the submissions ASAP and get them printed, nobody else will have TIME to get in there and cause a conflict by trying to modify the same file. :o) So far, it's worked well.

Besides, what are people here going to say about it? "You're working too hard and getting too much done?"

So what if I'm territorial about my work coming to ME, and double so what if I don't LIKE the idea that the company has been trying to see if I'm redundant practically from the time I started here. Anyone who wants to convince me that my getting a lot of work done in a day is a BAD thing for this department will have a heck of a time doing so.

For the record, by the way, I like H. She's very nice. It's not HER fault that the people above this department are being penny wise and dollar foolish by not realizing that my job needs to be a permanent position. If there's something I dislike, it's the decisions being made by the people above my supervisor's level. The people I work with and for are great.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Today I got an IM from a friend who saw a Jeep in the same strange color as the one I described yesterday. So I decided to go the Jeep website to find out what THEY think this indescribable hue is called.

According to THEM, it's called "Light Khaki". I even found a couple of pictures of Jeeps in that color. Bear in mind that photos rarely or never render in quite the same color on a PC screen as they do in real life. Even so, here's a digital approximation of the shade I was posting about:

Now, how bizarre is THAT combo of grey/tan?

Maybe I should explain my obsession with colors... first of all, I've never encountered a color that I couldn't even BEGIN to name before. Never.

Second, and more importantly, I pay a lot more attention to them since the deaf-blind camp I volunteered at in 1991. (YIKES, has it been that long? It doesn't seem like it.) I was talking to the camper I was assigned with, who had Usher Syndrome (deafness and Retinitis Pigmentosa) and had been legally blind for some time. He said that what little he could see now was like looking at everything through a fog, and he missed being able to really see colors. I thought about that conversation for a LONG time after it was over. In a way, I've thought about it ever since. Every time I see a color that I find really striking, I can't help but think, "WOW, is that nice", and just appreciate it for at least a few moments.

Anyway, one thing's for sure -- I don't know if/when I'll be replacing my little old car with a newer one. But whenever that happens, the new(er) car is going to be painted with a color that I WON'T have to look up online to find out what it's called. ;o)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

As I was driving to work this morning, I found myself behind an SUV. Not that THAT'S anything unusual, since there are lots of SUVs on the road these days.
But the entire time it was ahead of me, all I could think was, "What the heck COLOR is that thing?"
I couldn't quite say it was a metallic medium-gray because there was a hint of tan in there. Well, more than just a hint. But it wasn't really a metallic medium shade of tan, either, because there was WAY too much gray in it.
For a moment, I thought maybe my sunglasses were the problem. But when I lifted them and regarded the SUV again, the color was no more identifiable than before.
Mind you, I'm getting used to seeing cars on the road that make me feel as though I'm in a black-and-white movie. Along with the actual white and black cars, there are cars in shades of the palest silver or champagne, which are as close to white as you can get without actually HAVING a white car. Then there are the cars in deep, dark shades of navy blue, forest green, maroon/burgundy, purple, etc that need to be viewed in bright sunlight or else they look black.
This has been the trend for the past few years, resulting in an absolute profusion of cars whose paint job encompasses one extreme of the spectrum or the other. One day last winter, I looked out the window toward the parking lot and saw leafless strees whose bark was a pale shade of greyish brown, cars that were white or nearly white, cars that were black or nearly black, and ONE bold yellow jeep. Everything else in view of the window was so drab,  the jeep looked like it was the one computer-colorized feature in a black-and-white photograph.
None of which speculation brings me any closer to knowing what the heck color that SUV I saw this morning is. If anyone sees one like it, though, feel free to venture a guess. I'm curious.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Interesting -- someone was nuts enough to blog Hurricane Charley. Or should I say, his employer weatherbug.com was nuts enough to SEND him to blog the hurricane.

Read it here:

Storm Central

I hope the guy's all right. That was one wicked Category 4 hurricane that rampaged through Florida yesterday/last night.

There are several posters from Flyersphans.com who were in or near the path of the hurricane. Fortunately, all but a couple of them have either posted to the message board themselves that they're OK, or have called other board regulars to post for them (if their electricity and/or internet access is out).

*UN*fortunately, those one or two (it might be down to just one, I have to check again) are people who were in Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, which caught the full brunt of Charley right when it made landfall as a Category 4. The rest of us from flyersphans.com are praying like mad that they're all right. The damage in that area was severe, and there are some preliminary reports of multiple casualties.

I hate this. I feel like checking flyersphans.com every two seconds to see if, by chance, our last few people have checked in somehow with a status report (either firsthand or via another poster whose internet access is intact).

I'm worried.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

LOL, the things in my outbox...

I have before me a submission with an interesting
cover letter!! The person who submitted it ended
nearly every sentence with at least one exclamation
point! Sometimes he even used two!!

Even the sentence about sending financial info under
separate cover was exciting enough to rate a pair of
exclamation points!!

Of course, loss runs are a lot less exciting of a
topic, which is probably why the sentence that
mentions them ends with a period.

But the advice to give a call if further info is
required is cause for additional enthusiasm, so you
can guess how that sentence was punctuated!


Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.

I just got a submission to enter into the computer
system, and the company seeking insurance is one that
I interviewed with back when I first got downsized.

It gave me a bit of a start to recognize a name on a
submission. Particularly when I realized where I'd
seen the name before.

As soon as I finish re-consigning the past to the
past, I'll put the submission in.

Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Why did I get no sleep last night? I'll TELL you why. Because at midnight, I saw Harmony standing guard over one of these, sitting motionless under it and staring intently as it clung to the wall, up near the living room ceiling.

My bug phobia is LEGENDARY among those who know me, but I wasn't about to wake Mark in the middle of the night to deal with a centipede. So I headed down to the basement (and had to walk UNDER said many-legged invader in the process, ew ew ew ew, oh my freaking NERVES) to retrieve the can of Raid.

A quick dose of Raid and it scooted along the wall before tumbling to the floor (EW EW EW EW it's unnatural for anything that small to move that fast AACK get that thing away from me).

Somehow I got up enough nerve to approach closely enough to cleanly dispatch it with my sneaker. I didn't want it to suffer and I didn't want Harmony getting hold of it, since I recall reading somewhere that centipedes can be toxic to pets. (Even the ones that WEREN'T recently sprayed with Raid.)

So the centipede was gone, but for its revenge, I was SERIOUSLY creeped-out and unnerved for the rest of the night. Took me forever to fall asleep. GEESH I hate this bug phobia stuff.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Just before 5 PM this evening, my supervisor came into my cube to let me know what's up.

First of all, H has been upstairs helping out at her old job because the in-house person who transferred to her old job has been on medical leave, and is likely to be out until September. (At least, that's the plan as of right now, but it's not certain when she'll be returning.) So H's progress at learning her new position in my department has been on hold.

Second of all, someone else in my department will be going on maternity leave in the not-too-distant future (October). So when H comes back to this department, she's still going to be in the process of being trained. Heck, for that matter, when her REPLACEMENT returns to the company from medical leave, SHE is still going to be in the process of being trained.

All this adds up to the reason why my supervisor was able to successfully prolong my stay at the company for the immediate future. I also found out today that I'll have two weeks' notice once my services are no longer required.

I'm rather hoping that in the intervening time, someone in a decision-making position grows a few more brain cells and realizes that the job I'm doing needs to be filled permanently, regardless of whether I personally find employment elsewhere. I'm not sure what dialect of English my supervisor has to use to convince HER boss that THERE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH WORK TO KEEP ME BUSY at all times. I'd hate to see them find out the hard way by having chaos ensue after I vacate the position. What's worse is that my supervisor's boss won't be the one feeling the pinch if my work doesn't get done on a timely basis. The OTHER people in my department will be the ones tearing their hair out, not him.

Isn't that how it goes with companies, anway? The ones making the decisions are rarely the ones who get impacted if the people under them are understaffed and overburdened. I learned that from my experience with downsizing three years ago. Between the people whose jobs ended at the same time mine did, and the people who left in the next round of downsizing four months later, I cringe to think about what my former workplace was like for the people who remained. And of course, the high muck-a-mucks who ordered THOSE job cuts have absolutely no clue what kind of human-power it takes to get the work done, so what did THEY care if their personnel decisions left chaos in their wake?

At least I have a marginal amount of job security... marginal enough to know that I won't be rendered superfluous until at least sometime in September. And that's provided that H's replacement comes BACK then. Then once H finishes training her replacement, and finishes being trained on her new job in OUR department, here's hoping that it's time for that other person in my department to go on maternity leave. BTW, it appears that H has to learn her new job in my department from scratch... which leaves me wondering what exactly the benefit was of hiring someone from within instead of me? It seems that she's on at least as much of a learning curve as I would have been, if I'd been chosen for the job. SIGH...
OK, that does it. The ability to comment on posts has been REMOVED from this blog.

Nobody was using it anyway. Nobody except some people who decided to take their case for/against a certain job recruiting site into a war of words on MY COMMENTS PAGES. (See my 6/23/04 post for the one and only reference to said site.)

Sorry, folks, but it's GAME OVER. I didn't add a comments feature so complete strangers could get into a spitting contest over something I *mentioned* in a post. Right now, I don't care WHO has been reported for fraud, WHICH site is accused of being staffed by convicts being paid to register false complaints, and who else has done what else to whom else. I'm just POed that my comments feature was hijacked by at least two anonymous posters, and I've taken it down.

I hereby repeat the same things I said in my post, as well as in my RESPONSE to the comments before things got out of hand. If any company (including the one I mentioned in said post) sends you a recruiting message out of the blue, LOOK THEM UP and find the most current info about them that you can.

That's what I did about the company I mentioned in my post. Frankly, I was NOT comfortable with the information that I found, and so I chose not to pursue the recruitment effort. That's my right. It's also my right to say so (particularly in MY OWN WEB LOG).

I still have no idea who any of these people who posted comments are, except that they must be running the name of that company through a search engine and then posting comments for/against it wherever they find the opportunity. Please take your fight elsewhere, people, because my comments pages are now CLOSED.

Anyone who tries to shift said battle into my guestbook will find their posts deleted the moment I see them. I don't have the time or energy for this. Personally, I have my opinions as to who's being straightforward and who's not, but I'll keep them to myself since that's all they are. Opinions. But this much, I *will* say: if only one of the combatting parties is crooked, and the other one is being honest, then I hope the crooked one gets punished to the fullest extent of the law. And if BOTH sides are dishonest, well, a pox on both their houses and may they both answer for it. Now I'm telling both combatants to kindly get the @#*$& away from my blog and continue their bickering on some other site. Gosh knows there are enough forums that already contain statements from both parties, several of which sites I found by using Google.

P.S. I think I can keep the fanatics and nutballs away from my blog from now on. I replaced all occurrences of said company's name with a JPG IMAGE of their name. That won't register in any search engine. In case you were curious what company sparked the brouhaha in my now-defunct comments pages, it's . So there.

BTW, if I was uncomfortable about hooking up with said company BEFORE, I'm ten times as uneasy about them now, after seeing the war of words that their supporter(s) and detractor(s) had for one another in my comments page. I don't know WHAT the fighting's all about, but I'm staying WAY the heck away from ALL of these people.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Oh, man, am I ever an idiot.

I finally got my hands on some boxes big enough to move my stereo from the old house (no a/c) and take it home. So I did, on Saturday.

Now, mind you, my CAR has no a/c either, thanks to the broken compressor. And even though I parked it in a shady spot, plus put the windshield screen in place to block out even more sunlight, the car was still sweltering hot by the time I got in it.

When I was packing the stereo in order to move it, I had a fan on. So that wasn't toooo bad.

But getting everything out the door, down the front steps, and into the car, I started to get very overheated and tired. My heart was racing really badly, but I chalked it up to too much exertion and figured it would go away soon.

I had my hazard lights on while I was loading the car, since I had to double-park to load the stereo (and speakers and wooden stand) into the back of the car. Dang, was I out of breath by the time that was over. And still had a rapid heartbeat and was feeling REALLY tired, kind of like I'd just woken up. But hey, it's only a few minutes' drive to get home, right? No problem... right?

I made my few minutes' drive home with no particular problem, THANK GOD, other than feeling ill the entire way.

When I got home and parked, only then did I realize that the hazard lights were STILL on. Not only did I not turn them off, the tick-tick-tick noise that accompanied them never once registered with me during the drive home. I was still out of breath, my heart was still pounding, and I was still tired, and now I was thinking, "Gee, I probably shouldn't have been operating the car feeling like this, should I?"

No kidding, I shouldn't have. I just looked up the symptoms of heat exhaustion, and NOW I realize that I was about this-close to a medical emergency.


Thank God, nothing disastrous happened. But the cat must have known something was amiss. After I got home and had Mark help me bring the stereo inside, I hooked it all back up and wilted onto the sofa for the rest of the day. Harmony never moved more than six inches away from me the entire time. Smart cat. Dumb me. Live and learn.