Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Party Shuffle

I hear the sound of someone running down a hallway, anticipating without knowing it, the sound of a woman laughing. And then Spice Girls start belting out "Wannabe" on my computer speakers.

It makes me ponder, lost deep in thought, about what they truly meant by "I wanna ziga-zig-ah!" This leads to thoughts of, "Why am I not rich and famous?"

I don't know what iTunes is thinking tonight. The party shuffle is playing the oddest songs, ones I never listen to and I'm feeling like I've been thrown back into junior high/high school.

Do you remember Tiffany? Like Cher, Madonna, and Jewel, here is a female artist who felt her first name was significant enough to launch a career. The song, "I Think We're Alone Now" was playing. You know the main difference between Cher, Madonna, or Jewel and Tiffany is? The first three have unique first names. Other than a man, I have yet to meet anyone named Jewel. I have never met a Cher or Madonna either. But I have met many Tiffanys.

I learned during the 8-hour meeting yesterday that 15 minutes of deep gut laughter has the same physical effect of a moderate jog for 10-minutes. I laugh all the time. Why am I not skinny?

Work is a blast still. Tonight I was able to deliver my first review and give a banker a raise. That was fun! I also had the opportunity to build rapport with one of my newer bankers. Deep gut laughter came from Steve's entertainment during the night. He has now decided that he is a (and I'm taking mucho liberty with the spelling here because this is what I imagine the word to look like as he says it) "fill-off-is-sizer" and that he is "fill-off-is-sizing" everything. He had this epiphany during the past weekend when he said the phrase, "I have learned much from things I do not understand." He now finds "profound" things to say and follows each with, "Think about it." The only skill, according to Steve, required to be a "fill-off-is-sizer" is telling people to "think about it".

Four-letter words can cause fear, happiness, shock, and appreciation. Think about it. I thought about it tonight, as I was walking from a parking spot five times farther from my apartment than my assigned spot. 'Why did you park so far away?" you may be asking. I will tell you. My apartment complex divides the lot into two sections. They are creative in their titling of the sections, calling one "Section A" and the other "Section B". When we have a certain white form of precipitation, they want to hire a removal service, AKA Mr. Plow, to clear the lot. This is a two-day process. One day is spent plowing Section B and then the next day is spent plowing Section A. Why do they start with Section B? I do not know, but it annoys me. My assigned spot is in Section B. This means I have to find a visitor parking spot in Section A, which would not be much a problem, except for the fact that Section A is not plowed and the people who park there decide that a little bit of white precipitation means they can all take up two spots. What may bother me the most is the fact my spot is already cleared, but if I park in the cleared spot, they will tow my car. They use the same process each time. I wish they would alternate and make it fair to everyone.

The four letter word causing me annoyance tonight is snow. Now, earlier this evening, while running through the snow, frolicking if you will, this four-letter word brought me happiness. Watching snow flakes fall on people and landing in eye lashes made me smile. Trekking through the parking lot at home did not.

The boots I am wearing to work each day have an interesting tread pattern on the bottom of them. There are stars! I leave the most adorable footprints!

Healthy respect for one's boss is important. I have a very healthy respect for my manager. She is full of spunk, tells it like it is, and treats her employees with respect. And she scares me because I don't ever want to make her mad. I am not afraid physically, but I understand fully that if I were to deliberately go against her promises or expectations that it will be discussed. One of my fellow co-workers does not have the same level of respect for our manager and he is not in a happy place right now. I tried very hard when he started to welcome him to our call center and appreciate his experience, but now my opinion is leaning towards what others have thought of him. What he did will make little sense here, mainly because many would not know what our daily operations at work are like. What I can say is that during our manager meetings, lead by my manager, we've discussed repeatedly the importance of every banker being able to attend meetings. My manager has made it clear, multiple times, how much she values this. We've all agreed. We've had bankers from other teams join our meetings. And then yesterday, he decided he did not want two bankers from another team in his meeting and told them to roam the building for an hour. He did this AFTER the supervisor of those bankers expressed his dislike for the idea. When confronted, the supervisor who felt the wrath of my manager today, managed to ignore the problem and insult our manager. The words he may have used may have been along the lines of, "She's just too high-strung and cranky lately. What's she going to do to me?" We had many ideas. Taking away his bonus was the nicest.

Speaking of bonuses, my team is performing very well this quarter. We're qualifying for bonus and we're hitting numbers that will pay out a large bonus. Amazingly enough, Steve and I only noticed our own payouts a week or so ago. We've been focusing on helping the bankers so much that we didn't notice how the overall numbers looked. My goal is to have every banker on the team qualifying for the bonus. I figure if they are all qualifying, I probably will get something.

We've done well on some of the various campaigns around the center lately. Our team won a contest involving a sales tool for the month of November without much effort (not saying the other teams didn't try, but that we have made our expectations clear about this tool that it didn't require much pushing to get the bankers to use it). We're getting gift cards for that. There was another contest for November and we ended up hitting some good numbers and we're getting some Visa gift cards at the end of the month or early January. Pretty cool. Especially since we didn't focus on the contests.

Call centers are usually a drain for companies when it comes to profit. Running call centers cost quite a bit of money and historically N.A.B.A.B.N.A. loses money on its call centers each year. At our meeting yesterday, we found out that we're within about 60 million dollars of break even. Our center was exceeded our 2005 goals and we're even closer than the other centers in actually making a profit. This is exciting news. I would expect to see our center making a profit within the next 5 years.

iTunes has now turned to Tom Cochrane and the song, "Life is a Highway." I posted about this song once a long time ago, when I was confused by the artist's name. For some random reason, I confused Tom Cochrane with Johnny Cochrane. At least I had the last names correct.

At the end of last week, I termed a banker. I was not happy about the situation and it was somewhat my choice to process the termination, but I had to follow some strict guidelines and policies of our call center. The banker had a choice in the matter and that choice would have been to SHOW UP TO WORK. If the situation had been as simple as his lack of motivation to be at work, I would have no problem with it. The concern I have is over a medical problem that may or may not be present for the individual. Unfortunately, all the times the person was not there had nothing to do with the possible medical condition. But let's just say firing someone who might have cancer does not make one feel good.

"Can't explain all the feelings you're making me feel, my heart's in overdrive and you're behind the steering wheel!" - iTunes has moved onto The Darkness now and a song called, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." This band cracks me up. It is hard rock, similar to Queen or AC/DC. The lead singer thinks he's Freddy Mercury and the bass line sounds like it could come right off of "Back in Black." If you ever have a chance, watch the video for this song and wonder why giant aquatic creatures are in outerspace. Drugs. Has to be.

Speaking of drugs, was Kurt Vonnegut known for partaking in them? This book is strange. One of the main characters believes that all the people on the Earth, except for one random stranger, are actually robots. Automobiles are actually aliens from another planet and the little alien from yet another planet brought them here. That little alien seems to have found his end when someone mistook him for a match in a bar and tried to light him by scraping him under the bar railing. I may not be in the correct mindset for this story. It reads like a random jumble of incoherent thought, much like some random blog posts I've written. This may be where I start to think KRAAAAZZZZZIIIIEE doesn't sell. At least for me.

Speaking of books, Stephen King has a new novel coming out in January. I may have been mistaken, but I was pretty sure he announced retirement. Well, I do know that he said he'd probably continue to write because he couldn't just give it up, but still. The story is called "Cell" and from what I gather, it is about people turning into zombie-like creatures because of a signal sent out on cellular phones. Those who were not on the phones at the time of the signal are trying to escape and solve the problem.

Oh, good God. iTunes has now found that the "Macarena" is hiding somewhere on my computer. The problem of loading an entire CD collection on the computer is finding "joys" like this. It reminds me of Spanish class, a roller rink in Wisconsin, working at Target, and high school dances. This song was number one the day I turned 18 and is supposedly my theme song for life. As far as I can figure, it indicates that my life has no meaning. Line dancing in high school is a story I should explain at some point and go into detail why all the DJs at our dances backed away from the crowd in fear. Fridley High had an odd culture. I should tell the story of going to Wisconsin on a road trip some time. I wonder if the "Macarena" was a factor in the fact I have ever used the word, "Aiii-ght."

"It takes a strong man baby, but I'm showing you the door!" - Cause I gotta have faith. How did no one notice that George Michael was gay? I'm not saying there is any problem with his sexuality, but have you watched those videos from the 80's? Different time, different viewpoints. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

iTunes is totally on a flashback kick. I think I might skip listening to "Funky Cold Medina." This may be the only Tone Loc (spelling?) song that I even know. It scares me that I know the song as well as I do.

Skipping the song brings on "Down Under" by Men at Work. By doing a Google search (by the way, how amazing is it, really, to be able to just hop online and get an answer to almost any question in a matter of seconds? Technology is absolutely stunning. If someone had told me 20 years ago that I'd be able to look up when "Down Under" was released by clicking a couple of buttons, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. It might have been for two reasons, the obvious one being that the Internet was just a figment of someone's imagination to me. The other reason it would have seemed crazy is because if someone told me that I'd care when that particular song was released I would think they were insane) I found that it came out in late 1982. I was four. My mom still had an 8-track in her Ford Pinto. It was orange and brown and I put Crayola crayons in the back window on a road trip once and they melted. I wasn't sure if I was more upset about the fact I wrecked part of her car or if I was bummed out because my crayons no longer were useful.

Could you even imagine that "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins is playing now? What is this? Maybe I'm supposed to be reminiscing tonight. Instead I'm just posting a stream of consciousness.

I think I'll leave you tonight with a beat I'm sure most of the world could recognize. Take yourself back to the 1980's, before all the Wacko Jacko stories, rumors, and facts were known. Remember when Michael was still black? Remember before his nose fell off? Remember him before he dangled his child out a window and before he was accused of molesting young boys? Do you remember when Billie Jean was not his lover? "People always told me, 'Be careful what you do, don't go around breaking young girl's hearts.'" "Hey! Whoo!"

{*Moonwalking away from the keyboard.*}