Monday, April 12, 2010

'I am the Office Girl' - or - Heads up! It's Not the Forties Any More!

This post has a point to make, but I'll save that for the end.

First, I'll indulge in some reminiscences. These really do have something to do with this post's topic.

I am the Office Girl

Back in the late seventies, I worked for a company called Pellegrini Refrigeration. I was the only employee permanently stationed in their San Francisco plant. My job title was something like "general clerical:" I was responsible for taking messages, keeping things filed, copying blueprints as needed, tracking petty cash: that sort of thing.

I'd been told that there was a particular customer who had been calling rather regularly. The issue seemed to be that he'd received services, and didn't want to pay. Well, I could see his point: but Mr. Pellegrini had bills to pay, too.

Anyway, I'd been told what to say to him, so I wasn't at a loss when he called.

He didn't like the courteously-worded 'I can't do anything, talk to the main office' message I had. But, since there were multiple incoming lines and I'd been told to be polite, he and I had a mildly extended conversation.

Near the end of our dialog, he said, "look here, I've been talking to the office girl. Let me talk to the office girl." I replied, quite accurately, "I am the office girl."

It took him a second or two to respond. Then he said, "oh." Followed by another longish pause.

He addressed me as "sir" after that. And he never called again.

I think it might have something to do with my sounding quite a bit like James Earl Jones. The actor who played Thulsa Doom and was the voice of Darth Vader?

Why Talk To Me? She's the One Who Called

My wife's family are competent, and she's no exception. Let's put it this way. I'm the one with a computer, she's the one with power tools.

Sure, I can disassemble a lock - but I'm getting off-topic.

A few years ago, she noticed an issue with our home's electrical system and called an electrician. I have a notion she could have handled it herself, but the Sauk Centre city government is calmer when electrical work is done by someone with a license. I can see their point. I'm getting off-topic again.

So, the electrician comes. He and my wife are in the kitchen. I'm there too, just to see what was happening. (I've learned a lot by listening to technicians talk with other people.)

The electrician has a question. He asks me. Not my wife. She's closer to him, and started the discussion. But no, the electrician asks me a question.

I explain that I haven't a clue and ask my wife the same question. She replies. To the electrician. He doesn't respond. Until I tell him exactly what my wife told him.

After a while, we settled into a routine. The electrician said something, I'd tell my wife, she'd say something, I'd tell the electrician.

Hey, don't knock it: We got the job done.

And I think it's hilarious. My wife, not so much: but she sees the funny side of it.

Then there's the time, back in the day, when one of my sisters-in-law took shop class - that'll wait for another post. Maybe in another blog.

Got a Business, in America?

Guys? If you're a man and run a business, I'll tell you something you should already know. American women aren't any less competent than we are. Many of them stopped putting up quietly with male dimwits who hadn't caught on a long time ago.

I'm not on the same page as the bra-burners, but let's face it guys: America isn't an all-boys club.

Personally, I like it that way.

But even if you'd like the 'little women' to act like it was still pre-WWII America: that's not the way it is.

I played along with the electrician's cultural blinders because he had the skills and certification we needed. And because I don't mind adapting to cultural norms, when I can.

But not everybody's like that.

Never mind the chance of a discrimination or abuse lawsuit: does anybody in business want to lose the customers?

Well, That's Interesting: Blog2PrintTM

"Got a Blog? Make a Book!"

"Next time someone asks "How can I print my blog?" send them to Blog2Print. With a couple of clicks, you choose a cover, the posts you'd like to include, and you're on your way to creating your own Blog Book!..."

At last count, I've got 11 blogs. A few of which might be worth converting to print format. This is something I'm going to think about.

The blogs I think might, maybe, be print-worthy are:

In each case, the number of posts is the count as of 23:55 UTC, April 12, 2010.

Narcissus-X (106 posts) is a possibility, too: but that angsty and arguably-insane artiste's posts are very short, there aren't that many of them, and I'm not sure people would be interested enough to actually pay for a book of them.

I may have left out the blog which, in print format, would make me a bigger best-selling author than Stephen King. But I doubt it.

Related post:

Friday, April 2, 2010

That's My Son-In-Law Who's Doing That!

Three years ago this June, I posted "Hiring Relatives and the Chinese Business Model." It was a sort of good news/bad news look at the potentials and perils of working with relatives.

In America, nepotism has a bad reputation - it's something that many companies specifically forbid. For good reason, I think: too many nitwit brothers-in-law and incompetent cousins can ruin morale and wreck a company.

On the other hand, having relatives work in the family business works pretty well among people with a Chinese cultural background - and in my family.

My oldest daughter and I have cooperated on a few projects - successfully, I think - and now I'm doing a little work for my son-in-law. He's the Executive Producer of Oasis Productions: and is managing production of "Art of Serenity: A Journey of Faith." (anoasisproduction, YouTube (February 23, 2010), video 4:13.)

We touched base earlier today: work on the documentary is on schedule. It's coming out by the end of August, 2010. Barring something like a Haiti-level disaster here in central North America.

He also set me up with an email service that'll allow us to exchange decent-size files. As a sort of test of the system, he sent me photos of the new office and workroom of Oasis Productions. These are scaled-down copies:

Video editing - the computer's doing the work at this point. April, 2010.

I'll want to ask - but I suspect the lighting is a little contrived in this photo. The lighting isn't quite that dramatic.

Production / editing area, Oasis Productions. April, 2010.

That's my daughter, at the editing station. There'd been discussion of my doing at least some of that work: but she's got transferable skills - and she's on-site, so it's her job now.

Like I said, family businesses can work well or fail spectacularly. It depends on the family. I think we'll do okay.

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