Communication Breakdown

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Question Everything

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Communication Breakdown, its always the same. I’m having a nervous breakdown. Drive me insane”. ~ Led Zeppelin

“Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes.. . . Here it comes my 19th Nervous Breakdown.” ~ Jagger/Richards

“What we have is a failyah to commyunicayte.” ~ from ‘Cool Hand Luke

Warning: Semi-Snarky (new favorite word bt dub) Post in 5.4.3.2…..

I’ve been dealing with variations on this theme for over a week now at home and at work and I’m going slowly, irrevocably crazy. Apparently people think I am a mind reader, or psychic?. Is there a sign on my forehead that says “All Seeing / All Knowing”? When was I notified that I am responsible for things outside my normal purview?

Today at work for example: I don’t normally do any ordering for our fax/copier/scanner machines’ supplies (ie toner etc) – never have. So imagine my consternation when my boss comes around the corner frantically asking why our sites are ordering supplies from the wrong source? How would I know? I was informed that I had (supposedly) sent an email to everyone about this when we ordered new machines (apparently there’s a contract with the company) BUT a close review of my received and sent email shows two things – 1. I was never instructed to send such an email 2. said email was never written and sent (because I was never instructed to do so). “You are in contact with the computer tech officers” (that is true) but they don’t order supplies either soooo….. The logic would appear to be flawed… Fascinating, Mr. Spock…. Therefore the argument is invalid… Boom!

Then, dealing with the state bureaucracy/idiocracy was fun today too. We received a request that we continue to process some incident reports, through the states web based reporting system. Unfortunately we did not provide services to the people involved at the time, so cannot even view these reports-never mind process them. The list attached to the request even clearly indicated that it was another agencies responsibility. So I had to call Boston directly. The communication breakdown occurred because Boston assumed our agency assimilated the other one. (Resistance is futile!) When in fact, we only took over one of their programs when they lost the contract. Do the local state offices communicate with Boston? Apparently not as effectively as one might wish. Because the local office knew the situation and yet strangely the request to fix the reports originated with them. I’ve given up trying to understand the bureaucratic mentality. Things that should be straightforward and simple turn into a ginormous cluster***k the second any bureaucracy steps in.

And then on the home front: Is it default “mom” status that I’m just supposed to know what’s going on at all times?. Or be the read-between-the-lines interpreter? Sorry, but “I need a little information to work with” first. I’m also constantly being asked if I know where stuff is. I don’t, usually. But I can find it if need be, I guess… Lately these questions seem to be revolving around missing clothing items (in the dirty laundry perhaps??) Both girls are certainly more than old enough to do their own laundry and I’ve been letting them. Less work for me for sure – but I am still being asked where things are. And, I’m also expected to remember what their plans are because one or both of the girls mentioned them to me in passing – once. (they were probably walking through the room and not looking directly at me when they were speaking, or I wasn’t paying close enough attention.) Have people forgotten that my hearing is shot? (I blame AC/DC for this “Back in Black” Tour, 1980 ) So they get annoyed because I ask what’s going on and they respond “I told you that already Mom.” And they did – but I didn’t hear them, they didn’t write it down anywhere, or put it on the calendar for me to refer to. I’ll put a request in for them to do this… right away… again…

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So anyway – today: My older daughter forgot her work shirt last night when she packed to stay over at a friend’s house. And apparently there is a half day today at the elementary schools so she would not be able to be a bus monitor at 11:30am since she is in class at the University till about 2:45pm. So she texts me at lunchtime ‘IDK how I’m getting to work. Nevermind about my work shirt.” I took this to mean that she forgot that I myself am transportation-less at the moment. “Nevermind about the work shirt” meaning that she had wanted me to get it and drop it off to her at work -which has had to be done in the past by the way, and therefore not outside the realm of possibility. So I texted her back that I don’t have a car today and she got a little snarky with me in response. Sometimes texting is straightforward, and sometimes it’s foggy. Today was certainly a poor visibility day, text-wise anyway.

I tend to be in “mom” mode 24/7 and I generally assume that if you are texting me with an issue or asking me a question – you are implicitly inferring that this is something you need my advice or help with. This is not the case every time. Soooo NOTE TO SELF: (singing) I must remember this: A text is just a text… (a sigh is just a sigh) … At least some of the time anyway. Or unless/until someone says otherwise. Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Roger that. Over and Out.

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6 thoughts on “Communication Breakdown

  1. Holy cannoli, can I relate to the “mom mode,” except I tend to do it with absolutely everyone. You cannot imagine the amount of trouble this has landed me in with my in-laws 😉

  2. Today I had a break down in communication that was a combinations of faulty expectations (office manager) and reading what I anticipated, not what was written (me). I was working on scheduling a client, and noticed that my client schedule has a meeting blocked on the Friday the 30th. I needed to know whether the meeting was at our office or the other location a couple miles up the road, in order to leave sufficient time to drive back to see this client. I ran into to the office manager, who said that she thought that it was at the other building, but I should check the e-mail that she sent to me a last month. So, I checked the e-mail and read “Friday 16th” (though the message actually read that our calendars would be blocked by February 16, my mistake). I went back to the manager to ask if the meeting was on Friday the 16th or Friday the 30th. She said that I should check the calendar, which I told her I had, but then I realized that I was looking at the client schedule, not the web-based “calendar”, to which I then had to confess that I never use that calendar, because I have a little desk calendar that the local funeral home sends me every year. She rolled her eyes when she saw that I printed out e-mails (she is into the “paperless office”) and stick them under the funeral home calendar. To which she replied, when you accepted the e-mail, it automatically puts it on your calendar. “Accept an e-mails? What does that mean?” She rolled her eyes again, and asked me to open the e-mail, which I thought that I did, but she informed me that I had “opened” it, I was just “viewing” it. I had to double click on this little icon next to the e-mail, then I could “accept” it. Huh? I’ve been using this e-mail system for nine years and never knew that I had to go to all those extra steps to open-accept-put-stuff-on-my-calendar?! That was went I noticed that the message about the date and time of the meeting was in the subject line, which I could not read in the “view” mode. So, why did you put the important data in the subject line and not in the body of the message? As she began to roll her eyes again, I just smiled and said, “I’m over 50. I don’t know how all this stuff works. Do you expect that I’m supposed to remember to open up this web-based calendar now?” Good thing, we like each other. When I returned to schedule the client, someone else in the office and put another client in the spot I was planning to use. Oh, well.
    Oscar

    • Sounds like my office!!! can totally relate. I’m 50 and I’m expected to know a lot of this stuff too. It is part of my job to be computer savvy and I am to an extent but I’m certainly no guru by any means. And I need some info to work with to start -which can be like pulling teeth!! I am glad to hear I am not alone! D.

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