Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9-28-11 This is the part where I run screaming to the liquor cabinet

Rant ahead. Seriously. Get out now if you know what's good for you.

A few months back I signed up for a brand new warranty class for my car line (which shall remain anonymous since this rant could get very, very ugly) that was specifically designed for warranty administrators beyond the basic knowledge stuff they already had available.

I flew in to California, met other warranty admins, most of whom admitted to be envious of being able to work from home, and the training was actually really well done. Vinny, from Jersey, who audits this manufacturer's warranty claims, led the class and was an invaluable resource. I flew home feeling like it was time well spent.

Then I spent the rest of the weekend working my tail off to get caught up on all my dealers because I'd been out for the better part of three days and, even though I'd logged in
1. all morning before my flight (4 hours)
2. the next morning before training (2 hours)
3. the hour of lunch at training, working alone in the training room while everyone else went out to lunch
4. four hours in the hotel the night after training (which made for 7 hours of work plus 8 hours of training in one day)
5. four hours after I got home from the flight and before I needed to get to Samantha's singing of the National Anthem at homecoming on Friday

I still put in 6 hours on Saturday and almost 8 hours on Sunday.

Counting the 12 hour day I logged the Tuesday before training to make up for daring to enjoy Monday off with Courtney, that comes to a total of 41 hours Tuesday through Sunday, a full work week in addition to having one day off, one day of training, and two days of travel.

I went to bed Sunday night feeling accomplished.

I was going to wake up Monday morning and be on top of every dealer here for the end of the month rush.

Monday morning however I find myself working a 40 page schedule for a dealer who routinely needs tons of work on their claims and thus has money sitting all over the place that has to be controlled back to accounts. In other words, I spent the majority of the day doing tedious accounting work and this put all my other dealers behind. I worked 12 hours Monday and still couldn't get it all done. During this day, I also discover that training modules that were supposed to have been completed by someone else have not been completed and he's not going to have the time to do them after all . . .  but there's only a few left. The problem is, I couldn't do them in the first place because they are video modules and the sound will not work on my remote connection. I am told something will be worked out for me by Tuesday so I can hear and not attempt to lip-read information that is required to pass the tests at the end. These modules are required to be completed by Sept. 30 or the dealer loses out on bonus money for the entire year.  . . . which is why when I was alerted to this need over two weeks ago I thought I had arranged the completion of them far ahead of the deadline. I now will have the rest of this week, which is the end of the month and the busiest time for every dealer, to get through four tests on how to sell particularly expensive models of this car line.

Yes, sell.

In their infinite wisdom, this manufacturer has dictated that to be "certified" in my job as warranty administrator, things like the advanced warranty seminar I attended last week don't count, but being able to walk around a $150,000 automobile and sell features like option code 486 for a 10% stiffer spring rate (insert dirty joke here) is required. And yes, that was actually a test question.

Tuesday morning I wake up and tackle the stuff I simply could not get to the night before because my eyes felt like they were bleeding. From 7:30 to 6:00 I knock out everything on my docket . . .  except those stupid tests. Come 1:30 I am alerted a work-around has been arranged. Finishing out the dealer I was in, at 2:00 I attempt to launch the first module. And . . . I am lip reading again. Something is wrong with the sound. And the person who could fix it is on a flight and will get to it as soon as he can. While I don't hear back on this, I do manage to actually finish out every dealer by 6:00. After the 60 something hours of work in a week's span, I really needed to actually go have a life last night and do some shopping with Sammi.

So this morning, I get back at it and log in to the new work-around system to discover that, even though I hadn't heard back, magic has occurred and there is now sound. So about 8:30 after finishing out some other things I have to do first thing in the morning, I launched the first of those "just four tests" left, the sales module for the car line's most expensive offering. Hint: the carbon ceramic brake disk option will only run you an additional $12,000.  This module took . . .  wait for it . . .


And I had to take notes. Inane notes on the obscure history of the door style and the racing lineage, and other crap that has ABSOLUTELY FREAKING NOTHING TO DO WITH MY JOB.

Meanwhile, because I can't just listen and work on something else, all my others dealers' work piles up.

You have to sit through every portion of every module before they let you take the test. There's no skipping.

So by lunch, I had finished out ONE test.

Even better, the work-around computer does not appear to have very much RAM because the buffering and playback glitches went on and on and grew worse and worse.

By the second sales model module, I had to ask to have the computer restarted because the whole thing locked up.

And now, at 6:00 this evening, I have completed exactly three of the four tests. And I still have a good 6 hours of work I should have been doing piled up. Work that actually pays the bills instead of useless information I will never, ever need to do my job.

And . . . wait for it . . .

Checking the transcript for certification, it appears the list I was presented with at the outset was incomplete. There is ANOTHER test waiting to be completed in addition to the last sales module I could not finish because the video dropped out every five seconds, buffered for five seconds, dropped back in for five seconds, dropped back out. . . . for hours  . . . until the whole thing locked up yet again.

I found this out only after calling and conferring with my manager who got into the connection and looked at the transcript that would not load for me. For some reason, it loaded fine for her. Which leads us to believe, the video modules would have played much easier there, too.

The plan is to try running them from her computer tomorrow and actually getting all the way to the test, at which point we will google ourselves silly trying to pass the thing. But for now, we're calling it a night.

I should also mention I have been and continue to be sick, sneezing myself silly, unable to breath, and generally just not quite right with the world. It may be that after 41 years, I am actually allergic to something in the air. Add to this some personal questions about who my real friends are and whether I'm, at bottom, a good friend to others, in the fog of taking cold meds, trying to not take cold meds, and working non-stop and . . . . I.need.a.stiff.drink.

But I have work to do.

And more tests to take tomorrow.


  1. Here are wishes to get to feeling better soon. Know that you are a GREAT friend, even from far away and glad to see you are still enjoying the sunsets.


  2. Thank you my dear friend! I miss you madly :) One of these days, you and me and a sunset . . . and maybe a margarita or two!