Lessons from One Month in Customer Service

Lessons from One Month in Customer Service

After a whopping one month at my new job, I have learned some things I think might be of interest to the public.

  1. A lot of times, the “support chat” messages you get that seem automated are from real people who are tailoring their messages to your specific situation.
  2. There’s also a very real chance that said support people aren’t just sitting around waiting for someone to call. There are tons of other things that people could be doing that are related to support.
  3. There is a LOT to know!
  4. As you may remember from your days in school, group projects suck. Turns out, though, that if you’re on the right team. I have an incredible pair of colleagues, and we are having a great time working hard, helping each other learn and tag-teaming tickets. I. Love. It.
November

November

So far in November,

  • I turned 35.
    • My rockstar husband made me his legendary chicken tequila. It was divine.
  • I got a job!
    • In tech, in customer service, in the mental health field – check out our mothership Evercommerce and the main subsidiary I work for GoodTherapy.org.
  • I started said job and love it.
First day of new job! Very exciting stuff. 🙂
  • I turned into one of those trendy public transit commuter professionals who work in LoDo and daily uses a Bevi machine.
  • I taught a K-1 Sunday School class in which no one cut themselves on tin foil.
  • I learned about spell casters and that people actually use them.
    • They’re supposedly witches; some of them Don’t do that.
  • I shoveled my first driveway.

I plan to resume normal posts once things calm down a bit.

I Have a Splinter in My Foot, or, Musings on Patience

I Have a Splinter in My Foot, or, Musings on Patience

This summer, my patience was tested by a number of circumstances. I can withstand children melting down, applying to job after job, and long waits before exciting things happen.

But apparently one of the limitations of my patience is the splinter in my foot.

So about a week ago, I got this splinter. I’m pretty sure it’s metal – we were taking apart and cleaning my outdoor sconces not long before I stepped on it (while sitting at the dining room table! COME ON!). When I initially tried to pull it out, it broke off.

It hurts.

I tried to get it out – with a sewing pin and tweezers and a baking soda paste. My husband tried to get it out, adding pointier tweezers to the mix. My mother-in-law, bless her, tried to get it out (she was in town, and why not ask for a little surgery?), soaking it for 20 min and then applying her gifts with all of the above. Then they tagteamed it. It went straight in, and every attempt to get it out was pushing it deeper into my heel. They decided that, in order to get it out, we’d need to excavate the area . No thank you.

Well it’s still in there. It’s closer to the surface of my skin – my heels are SUPER thick, so it’s taking a while. But I am weirdly obsessed with it. I’ve even had multiple dreams about it.

This reminded me that it’s easy for me to pat myself on the back for virtue that comes easily to me. Here I was thinking I had developed this incredible patience, when really, those instances of patience were not as hard for me personally to deal with. I was less uncomfortable having to be patient in those circumstances than I am in this one.

While this impatience does make sense psychologically – after years of chronic pain and illness, of course I would be more sensitive to physical pain, however stupid – it’s also a humbling reminder that I’ve not “mastered” patience. I mean, duh, but also, oh.

People Are Persons: An Introduction

People Are Persons: An Introduction

This is an introductory post in a new series on seeing and treating other people as actual humans. It sounds really simple, but there are so many ways in which we fail to do this.

So I was reading this really great book (click the pic for a good ole fashioned affiliate link – the Kindle version is on sale for $3.99!) yesterday. I’m only about a quarter of the way through – a full review is in order once I finish it – but I came to Ashley Williams’s chapter that really resonated with me and I posted this on IG and FB:


I’m reading Co-Laborers, Co-Heirs, a collection of pieces on the role of women in the #PCA, and this quote really stuck out to me. Here, Williams is talking about being a black single woman in the denomination, and the difference she notices between the way singles in particular are treated and celebrated in the church. This resonates because it is so true! We must be a people characterized by seeing and loving people because of their personhood. Single people are often treated as a separate category of church member – ESPECIALLY single women. It’s generally assumed that singles don’t want to be friends with married people, or at least with folks who have kids – which is completely bogus. The friendship between a single person and a married person (or, for that matter, between people or different ages) is not automatically a mentoring relationship because the married person is sharing their secrets with the single person who wants what their married friend has. What I’m saying is, singles are people too. Their promotions, their birthdays, their accomplishments and opportunities and gifts ought to be celebrated by their people, God’s family. They should be recognized and fully embraced as they are – not as a puzzle piece that we need to find a fit for. They have a place already – they belong to us, the Church.

Turns out that resonated with people. I suppose the time for this series is now.

Single women deserve their own post. (So do single men.) But for now, what I most want to say is this: People are people. Or, to put it in Charlotte Mason terms, people are persons. They are human beings, with innate dignity. It is so easy for us to think of people as less-than-persons in some way, even though our conscious minds would shrink at that idea. And as persons, we have got to start challenging that in ourselves. That’s what this series is all about.

[Don’t worry – there’ll be plenty of lighter posts mixed in because we can’t be serious all the time.]

Podcast Top 5: New Faves

Podcast Top 5: New Faves

I love podcasts. It started with two heavy hitters: Serial and Sorta Awesome. Not too long after I found gems like the epic true crime comedy podcast My Favorite Murder and the enthralling fictional show Limetown (that strikethrough is part of the logo).

These are still favorites, and there are many more I’ve listened to and loved, but I thought I would share my favorite newer (at least to me) shows that I cannot get enough of:

Against Diet Culture

  • Food Psych Podcast – Christy Harrison is an an anti-diet dietician on a mission to help people develop a healthy relationship with food and their bodies through intuitive eating and body acceptance. This podcast really does go a long way to accomplishign that. Not every episode is going to be directly relevant to every listener – but the ideas of intuitive eating make a lot of sense, and seeing them applied across circumstances by different people is really helpful.

On Books

  • Currently Reading – This podcast has literally transformed my reading life. I used to read a LOT more 2-3 star books, but hosts Meredith and Kaytee have led me to better-fit books for me over and over again in the last few months, and that’s leading to more joy in my reading as well as a willingness to DNF books that aren’t working for me, for whatever reason. As I’m learning with intuitive eating, when you know you can have “the good stuff,” you are less likely to fill up on stuff that isn’t so great. (Don’t worry; there’ll be a post about books coming soon.) Their bookish moments of the week make me feel less crazy, too.

On True Crime

  • The Murder Squad: Jensen & Holes – Is there any doubt that the rising star of true crime podcasts is this collaboration between two men – one a writer, the other a detective – who were instrumental in the identification and apprehension of Joseph DeAngelo, the alleged (but come on, he clearly did it) Golden State Killer?

On the Enneagram

  • The Enneagram Journey with Suzanne Stabile – If you’ve heard of the Enneagram, odds are good someone has mentioned the book The Road Back to You and told you to read it. Suzanne coauthored this book which has introduced so many of us to the ideas behind the Enneagram and how it can be useful. This podcast is a delight. Suzanne usually interviews a Christian with a big platform (pastors, writers, musicians, podcasters, etc.) about how they are their type in the world and in relationships. She also does Q&A episodes with her producer-son that are really helpful and insightful.
  • Typology with Ian Morgan Cron – Ian was the other half of the authorial team that brought us The Road Back to You, and while his podcast is similar to Suzanne’s, it has a different feel and approach due to his 4-ness (vs. Suzanne’s 2-ness). I would say he is more exploratory, while she is more therapeutic. I really appreciate both of these shows as I learn more about what the Enneagram has to offer us – and myself specifically – in terms of self-knowledge and paths to growth.

On the Christian Life

  • Thirty Minutes with the Perrys – Preston and Jackie Hill Perry, a married pair of spoken word poets whom I admire greatly, come at the dilemmas of life with humor, thoughtfulness, and a whole lotta Gospel. They started their podcast with a two-part episode on how they navigated Preston’s recent addiction to pornography. They are raw, intense, and real, and their understanding of God’s grace as mighty and transformative is really helpful. I freaking love them, and this podcast is phenom.
Easy, Drool-Worthy Everyday Seasoning

Easy, Drool-Worthy Everyday Seasoning

I don’t remember where I first learned about 7:2:1. I don’t *think* it was when I was looking for a cheap, homemade Christmas present to make for friends and family, but that’s exactly what wound up happening. Once I made it and we started using it on everything we made, I had to give it away. And it is the only gift I’ve given that has my people asking for it again.

Here’s a lovely fact: 7:2:1 is the easiest thing in the world to make.

  • You need salt. (Choose your variety! I’ve done Kosher, sea, table, and mixes of them.)
  • You need garlic powder. Not garlic salt. Garlic. Powder.
  • You need black pepper. (I usually use preground black peper for this. I suppose you could grind it. Have fun with that.)

Story break: A long, long time ago, in this very galaxy, there were these things called “analogies” on the SAT. The basic notation was all about colons. A “:” meant “is to” or “is related to” and “::” meant “as” or “in the same way as.”

You still see this sort of thing on some standardized tests; it’s just that they used to be really hard and an entire chunk of the Verbal Section and alllllllllll about vocabulary. So you’d have page after page of stuff like this:

You can see why they decided this was maybe not the best way to judge college readiness.

(Ignore the fact that obstreperous is not a sentence and the cursor bar. I made it up in Wrd and used the Snipping Tool – #snippingtoolforLIFE. But obviously my attention to detail was sorta lacking, and I didn’t save the Word doc, and it’s 1 am…)

BACK TO THE RECIPE.

The point of that story was to help you remember the recipe for 7:2:1. Because its basically saying 7 parts SALT, 2 parts GARLIC POWDER, 1 part BLACK PEPPER. It’s a relational recipe – 7 units : 2 units : 1 unit.

I usually do it in tablespoons. I typically think I have way more of something than I actually have, so doubling the recipe has had…less than favorable results. (Once, I had a spill and accidentally wound up with 7:2:2, which was a bit peppery for our tastes but some people love.)

Dump all that in a bowl.

Mix it up.

Clearly, it’s about time to make some more!

Now I usually decant into seasoning jars for gifts with a small funnel, but have started using this mason jar because we use it so much that I now wind up keeping most of it for myself (if not all) unless I’m specifically on a gift-making mission.

Y’all, it’s so good and simple and I use it in almost anywhere “salt and pepper” are called for. DE. LIcious.

Enjoy your 7:2:1. And the new SAT.

INGREDIENTS

7 T salt
2 T garlic powder
1 T ground black pepper

Instructions: Mix all. Decant into containers. Serve with everything.