Telecommunications dots

One of the processes I am most proud of defining, developing and delivering during my tenure was the onboarding process. Kudos to my leadership for tossing it my way and allowing me to do it on my own.
Every onboarding activity I did was personalized. Yes, the basics where ‘check-the-box’ simple, but everyone who joined our ranks was an individual and they deserved individual attention.

There are a lot of things that have to be remembered whenever you start something new. Finally, I standardized on converting my checklist to individual notebooks created as the hiring processes proceeded.

This became the new hire’s ‘touch stone’ to be used as a start. This became a shared activity between the new hire and the various team members. Folks who were more adventurous enjoyed doing these activities like a scavenger hunt. Others who were more linear requested more ‘checklists’. That was a lot less fun.

Standardizing the work station provided for each resource went a long ways toward simplifying the time to productivity for each resource we brought in.
Writing the requirements for the ‘work station’ provided really helped set the baseline for the expectations the new hire would be able to perform on the first day.
It is much more difficult to produce a baseline for industry knowledge. Every industry has its own set of facts and history that new hires should be exposed. Pique their curiosity.
We were in the telecommunications industry. We were doing ‘mobile first’ design and delivery, so it really doesn’t hurt understand a little bit about the history of telecommunications. I like to focus on telecommunications in the United States.

I am old. I remember when Ma bell was the only game in town. I remember when it was illegal to own a telephone. My mother was a telephone operator in the 40’s and 50’s. Heck she was downsized by ‘mama bell’ because she chose to follow her husband when they shipped him to Colorado after they shot him with an atomic bomb. But that is a story for another day.

Day 2

This has been a week.  This has been a year and it is only March!  Yikes!

Today’s challenges – attempting to convince a corporate IT guy that it is okay to technically break the rules, because my boss said so.  Yea, that went about as far you might think it would or should.  Why do we have all of these processes and procedures if all it takes is a handshake agreement to get a ‘pass’?

I don’t care and none of this would be bothering me if it wasn’t interfering with the rest of my workload!  I am not one of those people sitting on a lackadaisical job here.  The woman who reminds me a minimum of 3 times per week to do a task that I have been doing religiously for almost 5 years – she has a lackadaisical job, but I digress.

These are the things that delay my progress in onboarding a new team member.  I reiterate, my process works as long as you dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”.  Folks there are no shortcuts.  Every step is there for a reason.  Each task has a prerequisite.  If you skip one or the other, or take a left instead of a right, that will cause a delay in your processing toward productivity.

I digressed again.  I think this is bothering me so much because this delay in processing is really putting a crimp in my week.  If we had followed the process, we would be done.  I would be able to focus on my personal life during my off hours.  But no.  Not this week!  This week, I have to keep noodling on creative ideas to solve this randomly introduced hiccup into the whole process.  What pisses me off!  (Here comes the truest statement I have written in weeks!)  This whole damn thing could have been avoided!  I stated very clearly in August that if we did this option, my process would not only break, but I would not be able to use my secret sauce to get ‘er done.

If I wasn’t already annoyed about the whole chaos step introduced into my world at work, my life gets a nasty wrinkle too.  Guess this is a reminder to care about what is important. We have an appointment to do our taxes tomorrow – that means homework for me tonight.  Then had my nightly family call.  The news is the oncologist will be doing additional research, putting together the history and present it to essentially a board of experts.  We should have treatment recommendations next week at this time.

Yeppers this has been a challenging week.



Blast You 404 Error!

This image was selected as a picture of the we...
This image was selected as a picture of the week on the Malay Wikipedia for the 44th week, 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Open complaint to anyone who owns a website.  If you move a page, update ALL of the links!

For the past couple of days I have been trying to assist my father with a task that has become a project.  This is more than a little challenging as his computer literacy is minimal and we live across the great wide open from each other.  The task is to submit information to receive disability compensation from the VA.  Shocking that they are finally admitting that they may have some responsibility for the health issues he has had since the ’50’s.  I don’t know something to do with being forced to stand up and allow the shock wave of an atomic bomb blast to hit his chest just may have a little impact on a person’s health.

He has been dutifully gathering documentation and submitting it, as requested when requested.  The latest request came for him to complete some DBQs (Disability Benefits Questionnaire) for some of the symptoms he has and work with his physicians to complete their portions of these forms.  For a couple of days he kept telling me he was clicking on the links but was having difficulties finding the forms.  I told him to send me the information, I would locate the forms and send them back to him.  Not overly efficient, but effective.  Low and behold, today he finally sent me the link the VA had sent to him – it resulted in a 404 error.  He was absolutely correct, he couldn’t find the forms using the information that had been provided.  His limited computer literacy prevented him from being able to navigate around the ‘Page Not Found‘ error.

This is where I got to look like a hero.  404 errors don’t stop me.  Now that I knew what we were looking for, I was able to find the correct link he needed, heck, I found a couple of them.  I downloaded a couple of the forms, because I know some of the symptoms that are directly correlated to the atomic bomb blast, but I don’t know all of them.  I sent him the 2 forms and links to the remaining forms so he can peruse through the overwhelming list and figure out which ones he needs to submit.  The list is long, so he will be busy for at least a couple of days.  There are the forms for the multiple cancers he suffered, but I laughed at how sexist the VA site was as breast lumps are indexed under gynecological.  I realize most men don’t get cancer, but men have breasts.

We ended our adventure with him reviewing the emails I had sent and making a list of questions for him to take back to the VA processor.  I figure he will be filling out forms for at least a week before he can get to the next step in the processing but at least they are evaluating his case, that is a huge improvement over the outright denial of the last 50 plus years and he learned an internet usage lesson for the day, just because the site says the page isn’t found, doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t exist.

Thinking about Father’s Day

I am blessed. My father is still alive and I have the pleasure of calling him every day. It would be nicer to live closer, but that isn’t my reality, so I have to be satisfied with being able to talk with him.

My father is a remarkable man. He shouldn’t be alive. If he had looked at his circumstances and let them rule his life, he wouldn’t be here and neither would I. Some will think that is an exaggeration, but it isn’t.
My father was born and raised on a small farm in the heartland of America. He lost his mother the same year he graduated high school. I believe this was an experience that fueled many of decisions that formed the life he built.
He was drafted toward the end of World War II, but was inured prior to being shipped overseas so he didn’t serve. Years later, he was called back when the US was entrenched in the Korean Conflict. In boot camp, his extreme intelligence shot him to the top of his class. He excelled at trigonometry, interesting as he had been educated in a one room schoolhouse near his childhood farm.
This exceptional math ability changed the trajectory of military career. Rather than be shipped to the front-line, he was selected to participate in Guided Missile training and teach trigonometry to his fellow enlistees.  About this time, our government was experimenting with atomic energy and needed guinea pigs. For reasons I will never understand, the US military chose the best and the brightest to use as testers.
Early May 1953, my father was one of those chosen to participate in Operation Upshot-Knothole. Lucky him. He was subject to an experience none of us can imagine. He had the ‘pleasure’ to climb into a bunker to witness the explosion of an atomic bomb less than a mile away. The group he was serving with was ordered to stand and absorb the full shock wave of the blast with their bodies then climb out of the bunkers and walk toward the impact sight to take measurements and record their observations.  These are the men who are now acknowledged as Atomic Veterans.  My father is an Atomic Veteran.
This was the bomb changed our lives. The hospitals were ill equipped to diagnose the illnesses that beset my father following the bomb. The irony is they didn’t diagnose him with radiation sickness, which is what he had, they continued to take more x-rays trying to diagnose him with tuberculosis. The poor man would endure daily x-rays in a machine that was built somewhat like an iron lung. How he survived all of the radiation he was treated with, one will never know. I am just grateful that he did and that he has continued to live his life with that same intestinal fortitude. I am hoping just a smidgen of it has worn off on me.

Happy Father’s Day!